Belfast Telegraph

Kenny and Robinson lay wreaths

The Irish Taoiseach and Stormont's First Minister have laid wreaths at solemn Remembrance Sunday events in Northern Ireland.

For the third year in succession Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended the always poignant service in Enniskillen - the scene of the IRA's notorious poppy day bomb in 1987.

He laid a laurel wreath at the foot of the Co Fermanagh town's war memorial.

First Minister Peter Robinson and a host of other dignitaries, including Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon, paid their tributes at the commemorations at the Cenotaph in Belfast.

Mr Kenny has become a regular presence in Enniskillen since 2012 when he became the first Irish premier to attend a Remembrance Sunday service in Northern Ireland.

The commemorations in the town have assumed added significance since the IRA's no warning attack 27 years ago that killed 11 people. A 12th victim died 13 years later having never regained consciousness.

Ms Villiers said she was honoured to attend the Belfast Cenotaph, where hundreds stood in the shadow of the landmark Belfast City Hall to pay silent tribute.

"This is a particularly poignant service today as we commemorate the anniversary of the commencement of the First World War," she said.

"It is important that we remember all of those brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice in two world wars to defend our freedoms and also soldiers from Northern Ireland who have been killed or injured in more recent conflicts.

"We must never forget all those who paid such a high price for our liberty and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Without their courage and sacrifice the world would be a much darker place. I am honoured to stand alongside the Lord Mayor, representatives of the Northern Ireland Executive, Irish Government and civil society in remembering them."

Mr Flanagan echoed her remarks.

"Today's ceremony is a chance to reflect on the sad events of a hundred years ago when men and women from all parts of this island and from all traditions, left their homes to fight in the First World War," he said.

"I was pleased to accept the invitation to participate in today's ceremony at the Belfast Cenotaph and to lay a wreath, on behalf of the Irish Government, to remember all those who died. I believe attendance at such commemorations shows respect for all traditions and helps further reconciliation on the island of Ireland and across these islands."

In Dublin, Irish soldiers who died will be remembered later at a service at St Patrick's Cathedral. Tanaiste Joan Burton is expected to attend the event.

While in London, Irish Ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall laid a laurel wreath at the Cenotaph - the first time an Irish diplomat has participated in the commemorations for almost 70 years.

Mr Kenny said Enniskillen held a particular "poignancy" for him because of the IRA bomb

He said he had always been extended a warm welcome when he visited the town.

"I think it is the mark of a more united people that you have the laurel wreath in the middle of all poppy wreaths here," he said.

Mr Kenny said he would like to make the trip to Co Fermanagh for the fourth year in succession next year.

"If I have the privilege and opportunity of so doing," he added.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph