Belfast Telegraph

Remembrance Sunday: Queen is joined by Ireland's ambassador at Cenotaph

Historic day as Republic official lays wreath after UK invitation

By John Porter

There were historic scenes as the Irish Government stood alongside Her Majesty The Queen at the remembrance service event in London.

Across the UK and in parts of Ireland thousands came to a standstill to mark Remembrance Sunday.

The Queen led the commemorations alongside Prime Minister David Cameron at the London Cenotaph.

Under the watchful gaze of some 10,000 people, the Irish ambassador to Britain, Dan Mulhall, laid a laurel wreath.

It was the first time an Irish diplomat has participated in the memorial event for almost 70 years.

The invitation was made by the British government in recognition of the thousands of Irish men who died in the First World War.

The UK government, in issuing the invitation, said it recognised "the immense contribution and shared sacrifice" of those who served in the British forces.

Following the ceremony, Mr Mulhall said he was "honoured to be the first Irish ambassador since 1946 to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in remembrance of 50,000 Irish who died in World War One". Taoiseach Enda Kenny also hailed the event as "significant" in British-Irish relations.

He added: "This is all part of the process of uniting the people both east and west and north and south."

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds laid a poppy wreath at the event.

He said it was a great honour and a privilege to represent the people of Northern Ireland at what was a "very humbling" occasion.

He added: "This year held added poignancy given it was 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War and 70 years since the D-Day landings.

"The crowd was enormous and it is just marvellous to see the various service men and woman from Northern Ireland represented and honoured, especially given our illustrious history in the army, navy and air force."

The North Belfast MP said the Irish ambassador's attendance was "positive" and a "real step forward".

He added: "There were many tens of thousands of people from right across Ireland who took part in both the Great War and later in the Second World War.

"Men and women from all sides fought and died beside each other and it's important that's recognised and honoured."

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