03 May 2006

1916 commemoration at Arbour Hill


03 May 2006 16:06

The President and the Taoiseach have attended the annual 1916 commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin.

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The Bishop of Meath, Dr Michael Smith, described those who died in the Rising 90 years ago as people of immense passion and selflessness.

The executed leaders of the 1916 Rising are buried at Arbour Hill and every year the State has held special ceremonies there to honour those who died.

Today is the 90th anniversary of the start of the execution of the leaders.

The ceremony was attended by President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and former Taoisigh Liam Cosgrave and Garret FitzGerald. Opposition politicians, judges and relatives of those who died. Among those present was the 92-year-old son of Michael Mallin, Father Joseph Mallin, now the only surviving child of an executed 1916 leader.

Bishop Smith said that even though some people continue to disagree with the Rising, it led to the foundation of the State. In conscience, he said, those who fought firmly believed that their actions were right.

Bishop Smith continued: 'Those who gave their lives in 1916 believed they acted in accordance with the demands their informed conscience placed upon them. They did not see the First World War as their battle or indeed as a war in which Ireland should become involved.

'One respects the conscience of the many Irish people who fought and died in that war. It is harder to respect the conscience of those who encouraged them to become involved in this appalling adventure, or that of those who sent millions to pointless deaths.'

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