Minister Madigan to represent Government at official State Armistice Day Centenary Commemoration, Glasnevin Cemetery, Sunday 11 November 2018
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD will today (Sunday 11 November 2018) represent the Government at the Armistice Day Centenary Commemoration in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
Michael D Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann tofa, will at the request of the Government attend and will lead the formal State Commemoration on behalf of the people of Ireland.
The event is taking place in partnership with Glasnevin Trust. The programme will open with the unveiling of five commemorative plaques in honour of Irish men who received the Victoria Cross for their acts of bravery in World War One, including the last Irish person to be awarded a VC before the Armistice.
The event then culminates in the formal State ceremonial event, which includes the National flag, military honours, a reflection by Uachtarán na hÉireann tofa, and wreath laying ceremonies – to take place between the France-Ireland memorial and Cross of Sacrifice to remember all those who lost their lives during the Great War.
Reflecting on the terrible toll of suffering that the First World War brought, Minister Madigan said: “Today, we reflect upon the unprecedented scale of death and suffering that was endured during the world’s first industrial war. We remember the millions of men and women, soldiers and civilians, from many nations who paid the ultimate price in that terrible conflict. We remember those who survived the conflict but returned home to new political realities right across Europe, including here in Ireland, often times carrying a burden of physical injury and private grief.”
Speaking of the wider Commemorations Programme, Minister Madigan added: “Over the past four years, we have explored, with respect and compassion, the differing motivations of those from this island, of all traditions, who lost their lives – we will never know how they would have contributed to this land, had they not died before their time. The Decade of Centenaries has shone a light on their stories, many of which were never previously heard.
“By promoting commemorations that are inclusive and seek to strengthen peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland, we have promoted also a deeper exploration of differing perspectives on our shared history. We have shown maturity and understanding in reflecting upon our shared history and in giving those who fought in the cause of Irish freedom and in World War I their rightful place in history.”
John Green, Chairman of Glasnevin Trust, in welcoming guests to the ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery said: “Today, as we mark the centenary of the end of World War 1, Armistice Day, we remember all those who served and all who died in that conflict. Here in Glasnevin we especially remember all the men and women from this island who unselfishly offered their service, perhaps as many as one in four giving the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. Over the last four years there have been a myriad of commemorations on this island remembering events that used to define and divide the different traditions on this island. This period of reflection has enabled the vast majority of us to learn about and understand our shared history. The old “Forgive and Forget” attitude is not enough, to forget is simply to bury the problem, true reconciliation is based on understanding; reconciliation is a journey where both the head and the heart must travel in the same direction and ultimately end up in the same place.”
The Commemoration will also be attended by representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, who will join an tUachtarán na hÉireann tofa in laying wreaths, and will include readings by His Excellency Mr Stéphane Crouzat, French Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Mr Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, US Chargé d’Affaires to Ireland, and Her Excellency Mrs Deike Potzel, German Ambassador to Ireland.