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President pays tribute to women in Irish history at Cumann na mBan commemoration

An exclusively all female Guard of Honour, drawn from women serving in the Army, Navy and Air Corps, gathered to commemorate the women of the Cumann na mBan today.

Centenary anniversary of Cumann na mBa Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D. Higgins attended the State ceremony marking the centenary of the foundation of Cumann na mBan in Glasnevin Cemetary in Dublin.

A wreath was laid at the grave of Elizabeth O’Farrell and a guard of honour made up exclusively of female personnel of the Defence Forces took part in the ceremony.

Speaking at the event, where members of the Defence Forces were gathered, Higgins said it was a time to reflect on the part played by women in the great collective struggle for national independence.

Centenary anniversary of Cumann na mBa Centenary anniversary of Cumann na mBan. President Michael D Higgins (centre) and Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Conor O'Boyle (left) inspect an all female Tri Service Guard of Honour Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

He said that despite these women being deeply committed to the cause, “their stories have often been silenced in our national narrative, relegated to the shadows by a version of history which attributed solely to men’s characteristics of heroism derived from military action”.

President Higgins added:

Often engaged in several organisations, committed to several causes at once, its members played a vital role in bringing together the various revolutionary strands of their time, in articulating various possible modes of relations between the nationalist, the feminist and the socialist endeavours…. the vision that animated the women of Cumann na mBan a century ago, at one of the most soul-stirring junctures in the history of Ireland, does not just evoke past struggles; it holds a promise which remains available to us as a tool for our present and for the future.

Centenary anniversary of Cumann na mBa Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

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