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Taoiseach pays emotional visit to Singapore prison camp that held his uncle

Micheal Martin’s uncle Philip Martin spent three years interned in the camp during the Second World War.
Jul 22nd 2022, 7:14 PM 31,879 35

THE TAOISEACH HAS described visiting a Singapore site where his uncle was held as a prisoner of war during the Second World War as an “emotional experience”.

Micheál Martin toured Changi Chapel and Museum today on the final day of his four-day official visit to Singapore and Japan.

The museum tells the story of the prisoners of war and civilians interned in Changi prison camp during the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945.

Martin’s uncle, Philip Martin, served in the British Military. He was captured by the Japanese army 1942 and imprisoned for three years until the camp was liberated in 1945.

His name is listed in the museum.

Speaking during his visit, Martin said: “I was very pleased to get the opportunity to come to Changi to the site of the prison where my uncle Philip spent a number of years here after the fall of Singapore. He was a prisoner of war.

“We were told a number of stories about how cruel and traumatic it was and how much weight they lost and so on, and all of that. But to actually be here and see his name on the screen is quite an emotional experience.”

embedded7196740 Taoiseach Micheal Martin’s uncle Philip Martin was held captive for three years at a prison in Singapore Source: Government of Ireland

More than 83,000 people, including soldiers and civilian men, women and children, were held captive in the prison.

The building has since been recreated as a visitor centre.

Later, the Taoiseach met Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the city-state.

Martin said he received a “warm welcome” from the Prime Minister and described the meeting as “positive”.

The two leaders discussed economic, cultural and political relations, and opportunities, between Singapore and Ireland.

They also had an exchange on Singapore’s death penalty and LGBT rights.

In a post on social media, Martin said: “We discussed the great potential in the relationship between our two nations, and also Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, regional issues in Asia, EU-UK relations and climate change.”

The Taoiseach also attended a business lunch hosted by State agencies including Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Bord Bia.

It was the first visit by a Taoiseach to Singapore since 2014.

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