Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Easter Rising anniversary marked

President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath at a memorial to commemorate those who died in the 1916 Easter Rising

The great-grandson of one of the men at the forefront of the Easter Rising has led tributes to the revolutionaries who fought for Ireland's independence.

Gearoid O Briain is the descendant of Cathal Brugha, who fought in the 1916 rebellion and went on to be one of the founders of Dail Eireann.

He was among family members invited to a state ceremony marking the anniversary of the 1916 Rising, led by President Michael D Higgins.

"It's a very proud day for my family," said Mr O Briain, a lieutenant at the Air Corps flight training school.

"We're here as relatives and it is a great honour."

The 25-year-old has attended the ceremony every year with his father and uncle since he joined the Defence Forces seven years ago. He said he was looking forward to the 100th anniversary in three years time.

A special Mass was held at the Church of the Most Sacred Heart at Arbour Hill to commemorate those who fought in the Easter Rising 97 years ago.

President Higgins was joined by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Defence Minister Alan Shatter and a string of senior Government ministers at the ceremony, which also included an armed guard procession, a Last Post played by Army Number One Band, a minute of silence and a raising of the Irish flag to full mast.

The President, who was accompanied by his wife Sabina, laid a wreath at a special memorial at the Arbour Hill military cemetery, where revolutionaries Patrick Pearse and James Connolly are buried.

The Taoiseach gave a reading during the special church service, before Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson preached a sermon.

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