State Marks Centenary of Death of Thomas Kettle MP09 September 2016
State Marks Centenary of Death of Thomas Kettle MP
- Minister Flanagan honours Thomas Kettle, “a true European”
- Minister also launches World War I photography exhibition
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, represented the Government today at a State Ceremonial event marking the centenary of the death of Thomas Kettle MP.
Lieutenant Tom Kettle was a renowned Irish poet, statesman and soldier who died during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Today’s ceremony was attended by many members of the extended Kettle family, a number of whom took part in the ceremony.
The event was organised by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with input from and participation by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Defence Forces.
In paying tribute to Lieutenant Kettle, Minister Flanagan said:
"A politician, poet, parliamentarian and a true European, Tom Kettle was a hugely important figure and the death of this proud nationalist was not only a loss for his family and friends but a huge loss to Ireland.
“Ireland in the early years of statehood could only have been enriched by someone of his intellect and talents and his loss is a reminder of the tragedy of a generation from across Europe who were caught up in the slaughter of World War I.”
The Minister added:
“I can think of no more fitting tribute to their memory than to cherish the peace and stability we have in Europe today and to seek ways of extending this beyond our borders to parts of the world experiencing the horrors of war today."
The ceremony, which included a wreath laying by the Minister and members of the Kettle Family, took place in St. Stephen’s Green, where a memorial bust to Kettle is situated.
As part of the day’s commemorative events, Minister Flanagan also launched an exhibition, "Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace", a series of photographs by photographer Mike Sheils which focus on the battlefields of the World War I and which will be on display at the Lime Walk on the northern end of in St. Stephen’s Green until mid-October.
Launching the photographic exhibition, the Minister said:
"These stunning landscape photographs, which will be on display in St Stephens Green until mid-October, show the battlefields of the World War I as they are today and highlight the contrast with the terrible events of a century ago.
“I am pleased that it was possible to bring this exhibition to Dublin as part of the Government's Somme Centenary Programme and our commitment to commemorating all of the key events during this Decade of Centenaries."
9 September 2016
Notes for Editors:
• Today’s State Ceremonial event marking the centenary of the death of Thomas Kettle took place in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. It was organised by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with input from and participation by the Defence Forces. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., represented the Government. Members of the Kettle family and other invited guests from all parts of the island were in attendance.
• Thomas Kettle was born in Artane in 1880, into a prominent family imbued with a strong Home Rule philosophy. He studied at UCD, was called to the bar in 1905 and in 1906 was elected as MP for Tyrone. He married in 1909 to Mary Sheehy and they had one child, Elizabeth, to whom the poem, “To My Daughter Betty, the Gift of God” written shortly before his death, was dedicated.
• In 1914, while purchasing weapons in Belgium for the Irish Volunteers, he witnessed the impact of World War One first hand, and took the view that the struggle against Germany transcended Anglo-Irish politics. Supporting John Redmond’s stance on the war, he eventually obtained a commission with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was sent to the Western Front. Despite a growing disillusionment with the War, compounded by the aftermath of the Easter Rising, he chose to remain at the front and was killed at Ginchy on 9th September 1916.
• The ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace’ photographic exhibition is on display in St. Stephen’s Green until mid-October 2016. The photographs, taken by renowned photographer, Mike Sheils, are landscape photographs of World War I battlefields today and aim to show how the passage of time has changed the nature of these sites of past conflict. The exhibition includes information on and images from the World War I, including the Battle of the Somme and the experience of those from the island of Ireland
• Grants from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund and from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht were allocated to bring the exhibition to Dublin as part of the State’s Somme Centenary Programme.
• The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund has been in existence since 1982 and was increased significantly following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. All parties to that Agreement undertook to “positively examine the case for enhanced financial assistance for the work of reconciliation.” As a result, the Irish Government has provided increased support through the Reconciliation Fund since 1998.
• In the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, the Government committed to “support measures to promote reconciliation, including through continued annual provision of €2.7m in the Reconciliation Fund”.
• Applications for the next round of funding must be received by Friday 16th September 2016; information and application forms can be found at www.dfa.ie/reconciliation