Ceremony in honour of Ireland’s dead soldiers

IRELAND’S war dead were honoured at a ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, yesterday.

Family and colleagues of those who died in past wars or during service with the United Nations attended the event marking the National Day of Commemoration. Among them were relatives of the 1916 leaders.

Representatives from Northern Ireland also travelled to Dublin for the occasion.

President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern led the State presence at the ceremony, which began with a multi-faith prayer service.

Inviting the religious leaders to begin the service, Mr Ahern said: “It is fitting that we remember here today all those Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations.”

The officiants were the chief rabbi of Ireland, Dr Yaakov Pearlman; the Catholic auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Dr Raymond Field; Rev Alan Boal of the Irish Presbyterian Church; the Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin, Dr John RW Neill; the dean of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ireland, Archpriest Michael Gogoleff; the Dublin district superintendent of the Methodist Church, Dr John Stephens; and Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa of the Islamic Cultural Centre.

Mrs McAleese laid a wreath in honour of the fallen servicemen and women on behalf of the people of Ireland.

A one-minute silence was observed, before an Army Cadet guard of honour rendered honours and the Last Post was sounded by trumpeters and drummers.

The band of the Defence Forces School of Music, with mezzo-soprano Dr Bernadette Greevy, led the musical element of the ceremony, which lasted little more than an hour.

Also in attendance were members of the Cabinet, including Defence Minister Willie O’Dea, and Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant-General Dermot Earley.

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