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Presbyterian leader to attend Republic of Ireland remembrance event

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Privilege: Rev David Bruce

Privilege: Rev David Bruce

Privilege: Rev David Bruce

Rev David Bruce will attend the National Day of Commemoration in Dublin on Saturday, the first official state ceremonial he will attend as Moderator.

Dr Bruce (62) will participate in the National Day of Commemoration, which remembers Irishmen and Irishwomen who lost their lives in past wars or on service with the Irish Defence Forces with the United Nations.

The event takes place on the Sunday nearest to July 11, which is the anniversary of the signing of the 1921 truce that ended the Irish War of Independence.

Dr Bruce was installed as the 175th Presbyterian Moderator last month.

It will not be the first time that Dr Bruce will have participated in the national act of remembrance. He previously attended as Minister of the Dublin congregations of Clontarf, Ormond Quay and Scots Presbyterian Churches in 1990, reading the Lord's Prayer in Irish.

Dr Bruce said: "While leaders have changed in those 30 years, and Ireland has also changed in many respects since then, the purpose of the National Day of Commemoration remains unchanged.

"It is a privilege to represent the Presbyterian Church in Ireland at this significant act of remembrance once again."

Dr Bruce will join the new Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, and Irish President Michael D Higgins, who will lead a scaled back commemoration due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the laying of a wreath by Mr Higgins, a minute's silence will be observed.

Remembering the Irishmen and Irishwomen who lost their lives in past wars, including both World Wars and on service with the United Nations, Dr Bruce said that this year is especially poignant. It marks not only the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, but the 60th anniversary of the first peacekeeping mission in which an armed Irish contingent took part.

"Ireland has played a key peacekeeping role with the United Nations since 1958," he added.

"The deployment of Irish Defence Forces personnel to the UN's mission, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo two years later, was not without cost.

"As we remember lives lost in the service of peace, it is also important to note that for the fourth time Ireland has secured a non-permanent seat on the UN's Security Council for the forthcoming year.

"This will enable Ireland to continue to play a key role, albeit a different role, in peace-building and peacekeeping."

Belfast Telegraph