Seven decades later, Ireland lays its wreath

Ireland laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in London to mark Remembrance Sunday for the first time in seven decades.

The ceremony in Whitehall, led by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, was held behind the tightest security in many years.

Ireland was represented by its Ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall,who joined Commonwealth ambassadors at the ceremony, who laid their wreaths in small groups.

Mr Mulhall was left by himself to lay Ireland’s wreath which made of leaves, not poppies.

Ireland’s participation in this Centenary year followed the invitation earlier this year to lay a wreath “at this and future” Remembrance Sunday ceremonies “in recognition of the immense contribution and shared sacrifice made by many thousands of Irish men and women who have served in the British armed forces.”

In July President Michael D Higgins joined with Queen Elizabeth’s representative and the head of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Prince Edward to unveil a Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin in honour of Irish recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Just under a year ago Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Prime Minister David Cameron paid their respects at the graves of war dead in Flanders.

MrMulhall was invited by Tory MP Dr. Andrew Murrison who is Mr. Cameron’s special representative responsible for marking thefirst World War commemorations and by Culture Secretary SajidJavid.

In a statement Mr. Javid said: “Throughout the first World War, Irish servicemen stood side by side with men and women from across Great Britain and the Commonwealth. As we commemorate the centenary of the start of the war it is right we remember our nations’ shared sacrifice.”

An estimated 200,000 Irishmen served the Crown forces in World War One of 35,000 died in action with the final toll, from wounds received, estimated at 50,000.

Ireland’s Minister for Culture Heather Humphreys represented Ireland at a centenary commemoration ceremony in Glasgow Cathedral in August to mark the start of WW1 a hundred years ago at which the part played by Irish people.

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