By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy
For the first time in three years the IUNVA (Irish United Nations Veterans Association) annual commemoration took place at the UN Peace Memorial in the Orchard Peace Park at Enniscorthy on Sunday. The first event was held in 2013 and Covid-19 intervened in past years.
Michael O’Neill of Post 31 (Enniscorthy) and chairman of Enniscorthy Memorial Committee welcomed everybody “to honour of our deceased comrades, young men who gave their lives for world peace. They are gone, but not forgotten and never will be forgotten by our organisation.”
Mr O’Neill welcomed Cllr Aidan Browne, Cathaoirleach Enniscorthy Municipal District Council, Cllrs Barbara-Anne Murphy, Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Jackser Owens and John O’Rourke. (Apologies were read on behalf of Cllrs Cathal Byrne and Donal Kenny). Canon Mark Hayden, who read a prayer, Supt. Denis Whelan representing An Garda Siochana, members of ONÉ (National Organisation of Ex-Service Personnel), the British Legion and our own members of IUNVA.
Cllr Aidan Browne said “it is an honour to be with you today together in Enniscorthy with people from County Wexford and those who have travelled from other parts of the country, who have come to pause, reflect and remember the service of our UN veterans.”
William Gilbert, Chairman of Post 3 (Gorey) delivered the keynote address. He said that we, Irish, do not serve our soldiers well and he called for more awareness in the schools and places where our history is told.
Wreaths were laid by Matt Kavanagh (Post 3) and Joe McGrath (Post 31) on behalf of IUNVA; Richard Wickham on behalf of “the families of the names on the memorial”; Cllr Aidan Browne, Cathaoirleach, on behalf of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council; Supt. Denis Whelan on behalf of An Garda Siochána.
Roll of honour (all names on the memorial) were called out by Frank Shelly and Jim Gilbert, who also acted as master of ceremonies.
The dignified ceremony lasted about 20 minutes and concluded when Anthony Nolan (trumpet) sounded the Last Post and played the National Anthem.