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Government accepts Britain's invitation to Remembrance Sunday wreath-laying

Ireland has attended the ceremony before — but this is the first time we’ve been asked to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.

Queen Elizabeth ll attends the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph in London on November 13, 2011.
Queen Elizabeth ll attends the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph in London on November 13, 2011.
Image: Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Charlie Flanagan has welcomed the invitation from the British Government for Ireland to lay a wreath at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London in November.

The UK Government said it was making the invitation to recognise “the immense contribution and shared sacrifice” of the tens of thousands of Irish people who had served in its armed forces.

“One hundred years on from the start of the First World War, a war that claimed more Irish lives than any other war, I welcome the invitation for Ireland to take part in this annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph to commemorate all those who died,” Flanagan said, after speaking with British officials.

Our participation in this solemn occasion will be an opportunity to reflect on and remember the thousands of men from the island of Ireland who, for many different reasons, left their homes and families to fight in the First World War and never returned.

“I am very conscious of the significance of this invitation to Ireland for the families of those who lost Irish relatives in the horrific violence of the War.”

While Ireland has previously attended the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph, this will be the first year of participation in the wreath-laying ceremony.

The invitation builds on the successful State Visits of recent years — firsts of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland in 2011, and, this summer, Michael D Higgins’ return trip.

Flanagan said it also reflects the importance “of this Decade of Commemorations, which marks the many significant centenary events which shaped and influenced our history between 1912 and 1922.”

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