Irish founder of Argentine navy remembered

Irish and Argentinian naval personnel today joined forces to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the Mayo-born founder of the Argentine navy.

Irish and Argentinian naval personnel today joined forces to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the Mayo-born founder of the Argentine navy.

Admiral William Brown emigrated from Ireland more than 200 years ago and in adult life played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Argentinian Republic.

His contribution was marked today in a special joint remembrance ceremony with junior defence Minister Tom Kitt, diplomatic personnel and senior naval commanders from both countries.

A wreath was laid at a statue to the Foxford-born Admiral at Sir John Rogerson Quay in central Dublin, against the backdrop of the Argentine sailing ship, the ARA Libertad.

“As you are maybe aware, on St Patrick’s Day 2006, it was my great pleasure to lay a wreath at the Admiral William Brown monument in Buenos Aires,” Mr Kitt said.

“I brought away with me from that trip a clear sense of what a significant figure William Brown is in Argentinean history, as well as a real idea of just how strong the links are, past and present, between our two countries.

“As a component of the Irish Diaspora, the Argentine Irish are to be congratulated for maintaining their identity, their sense of community and their culture for more than 150 years.

“We in Ireland are very proud of their achievements, where as individuals and as a community they have made a large contribution to the development of Argentina,” he said.

Also in attendance was Commander in Chief of the Argentine Navy, Admiral Jorge Oma Godoy, together with Lt General Jim Sreenan, the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, and Commodore Frank Lynch, Flag Officer of the Naval Service.

“In Foxford his birth place, he left the memories of his childhood that set the basis of his personality,” Argentinian Admiral Jorge Omar Godoy said, via a translation read by an Irish naval officer.

“Then in our land, which was also the land of his off-spring, he wrote a lesson of life devoted to freedom.

“Admiral Brown, to whom we pay our homage today, will serve as an incentive for efforts to build a better world.

“Now I want to thank Irish authorities and the Irish people for having allowed us to share this ceremony with them, and for the warm welcome given to our frigate Libertad, which joined us in the celebration of this anniversary.

“To conclude, I want to express my best wishes for the future and the well-being of the Republic of Ireland and my hopes that our nations will continue to be strengthened in the bonds of friendship,” he added.

Dozens of Irish and Argentinian naval personnel performed a guard of honour at the ceremony, as both national anthems were played.

The ARA Libertad arrived in Dublin yesterday after sailing from Galway.

It will be open to the public for limited periods over the weekend.

Admiral Brown, who emigrated from Ireland in the late 18th century, is acknowledged as the father of the Argentinian navy.

In Argentina, where his name is revered and honoured, he swept the invading Spanish fleet from the River Plate in 1814, striking a resounding blow at the domination and prestige of Spain in South America.

More in this section