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Villiers attends Irish Government's Somme Commemoration in Dublin

The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, will today represent the UK Government at the Irish Government’s Battle of the Somme Commemoration, which will take place at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin.

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Ms Villiers will join the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, and senior Irish government representatives at this special ceremony to commemorate all those British and Irish soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields of the Somme in 1916.

The British Ambassador, Dominick Chilcott and the UK Defence Attaché, Colonel Max Walker will also be present.

Speaking in advance of the Islandbridge commemoration, Ms Villiers said:

I am honored to represent the UK Government at this very special ceremony this morning. During my tenure as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I have had the privilege of attending a number of Somme commemorations in France, most recently last Friday when we marked the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Tens of thousands of men from Ireland volunteered to fight in the Great War and gave their lives serving in the uniform of the British Army. So it is fitting that the Irish Government have ensured that those brave men are now being remembered for the part they played. In particular we commemorate today all those from the 16th Irish Division who sustained an agonising 4,300 casualties in successfully capturing Guillemont and Ginchy in September 1916.

Just as in Great Britain, so across the island of Ireland there was virtually no corner left unaffected by the Battle of the Somme. The contribution and sacrifice of the men who fought in the battle was immense, and we should never forget it.

Published 9 July 2016