Tributes to ‘shared sacrifice’ of war dead

Taoiseach Enda Kenny led tributes to Irish and British war dead as fallen soldiers were remembered.

For the first time since the 1940s, the Irish ambassador to Britain took part in the focal-point wreath- laying ceremony in London as Dublin upgraded its participation in the centenary year of the beginning of the First World War.

Downing Street invited ambassador Dan Mulhall to lay a wreath to mark the “shared sacrifice” of Irish and British soldiers in world conflicts.

It was the first such participation in the centrepiece British commemoration, in which Queen Elizabeth also laid a wreath, since 1946, before Ireland withdrew from the Commonwealth.

Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan, who attended a service in Belfast, welcomed the move as a chance to remember “the thousands of men from the island of Ireland who, for many different reasons, left their homes and families to fight in the First World War and never returned”.

Mr Kenny again attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen, which was the scene of a major IRA attack in 1987.

He said the Enniskillen ceremony had added poignancy due to the 11 lives lost in the bombing.

He said his attendance signified the changing nature of the relationship between the two countries in recent years.

Tánaiste Joan Burton attended a service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin to remember Irish soldiers killed in the First World War.

The cathedral has held such an event every year since 1919, with Remembrance Sunday marking the end of hostilities on November 11, 1918.

In London, security at the Cenotaph event was high after claims that it had been targeted by an extremist bomb plot.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accused the Government of lacking vision in its plans to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016 that led to independence.

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