Friday, November 04, 2005


Well said, Bertie

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he wants to remember World War I and the 1916 Rising sensitively.

Speaking during a visit to the Somme Heritage Centre near Newtownards, he said there was a shared history on the island that he wanted to recognise.

Mr Ahern was welcomed to the Somme centre by Ulster Unionist councillor and chairman of the Somme Association Ian Adamson.

He was presented with a number of gifts and invited to become an honorary member of the association.

The Taoiseach said he was visiting in solidarity and friendship.

Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine welcomed Mr Ahern's visit to the centre.

"The Taoiseach's visit, I think, is just a follow-up to things he's been involved in, in relation to the First World War," he said.

"The First World War is very much a shared experience and I think the Taoiseach, for some time now, has been involved in programmes both in Belgium and in Ireland."

I would like to say how pleased I am that the Taoiseach is taking these steps to acknowledge the utterly despicable and shameful way that Irishmen who served in World War I were written out of history. It was not what these great men of courage merited after the heroism they displayed.

I posted a few months ago about plans to release an Irish poppy with a shamrock in the centre as a way to acknowledge the soldiers of World War I though I haven't come across them yet myself. Has anybody else? If I see them available I will certainly buy one.

All in all, I'm heartened at the fact that Fianna Fáil's recent comments regarding their Republicanism has not led to an ugly revival of old anti-British attitudes.

Good job, Taoiseach.


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