Tribute planned for Irish veterans who fought abroad

A museum is to be built in Cork to recognise the achievements of Irish people who fought with foreign armies.

Tribute planned for Irish veterans who fought abroad

The project envisages exhibits of full-size helicopters, including the iconic Hueys which were used in Vietnam.

The fledgling organisation Irish Veterans (IV), has acquired hundreds of members from the US and is also signing up Irish people who fought with the French Foreign Legion, and Canadian, British, Australian, and New Zealand militaries.

The group is planning to build the museum in Kinsale, Co Cork.

IV joint executive director James Sikora, 43, who lives in Rosscarbery, Co Cork, served in the US army for eight years and fought in the first Gulf War. He said it was primarily an organisation for Irish people who served in other armed forces.

But the organisation said it will not exclude ex-Defence Forces members from joining even though they have their own veterans’ association, the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen.

“Irish people and those of Irish descent have served in every significant conflict for at least the last 1,000 years and many continue to serve in overseas armies today. Sadly, their stories and contributions have largely gone unrecognised or ignored, and nowhere on the island of Ireland is their input collectively acknowledged,” Mr Sikora said.

He believes that is about to change and IV is raising funds to build a permanent memorial and research exhibition centre in Kinsale, to commemorate those who served and tell their stories.

“We have engaged an architect and have identified a couple of suitable sites so far. We intend to house military exhibits there and already been promised a Chinook helicopter by US contacts,” he said.

IV is also trying to source a Huey helicopter gunship which was extensively used by the Americans in the Vietnam war.

“We want to have one of them as they were flown by John I O’Sullivan, who was born in Tralee, Co Kerry, and was one of the most decorated US aviators during that war,” Mr Sikora said.

O’Sullivan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross ‘for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty’.

“It is incredible that the service and sacrifice of so many thousands of Irish people has gone unrecognised for so long. We need to ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten.”

Mr Sikora said his organisation is appealing to people across the world with Irish connections to be part of this unique project as a way to connect with their peers and to honour those who have gone before them.

More in this section

Price info
IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.