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War memorial showed unity to brave souls

I had the honour to travel to Deansgrange Cemetery last Sunday to participate in the rededication and blessings of the graves of veterans who fought in the First World War and were cared in Leopardstown Park Hospital.

For too long, it was seen as too politically difficult to remember the brave Irish men, North and South, who died or were traumatised or injured in the First World War.

An Cathaoirleach of Dun-Laaoghaire-Rathdown County Council led the event but was joined by the unionist mayors of Antrim and Ballymena, SDLP representatives from Belfast, members of South Belfast Friends of the Somme and members of the Orange Order, to recognise the courage of 63 veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lie in three plots in Deansgrange.

One of those was Patrick Joseph O'Rourke from Monaghan who fought in the Anglo-Boer War and the First World War and was awarded a Meritorious Service Award.

He returned to live at Unity Street in Belfast and died in Dublin in December 1970.

The rededication was a wonderful display of political unity and recognition of the debt that we owe to those who bravely fought for democracy in all those past wars.

CLLR TIM ATTWOOD (SDLP)

Belfast

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