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Minister Byrne to attend Ulster Tower Centenary Event

Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., will travel tomorrow to France to represent the Government at an event commemorating the centenary of the construction of the Ulster Memorial Tower. The Tower, which is located at Thiepval in northern France, commemorates those Irishmen, from the province of Ulster, who lost their lives in the First World War. It was first official memorial to be erected on the Western Front and was dedicated on the 19th November 1921.

Speaking ahead of the event Minister Byrne said:

“I feel privileged to represent the Government of Ireland at this event. Just as when we stood together here in 2016 to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, this event is about a shared commemoration of all those from the island of Ireland who lost their lives in the First World War.  It is about remembering the enormous and destructive impact of the war on that generation, and how it has shaped our history.

We have come a long way indeed in ensuring that this chapter of our history is fully recognised and better understood as part of our shared heritage.”

At the ceremony, Minister Byrne, will lay a wreath to remember those from Ireland who lost their lives during the First World War. He will be joined by other political representatives from Ireland and Britain. Members of the Defence Forces Band of the 2 Brigade will also perform at the ceremony. Following the event, Minister Byrne will travel to the nearby town of Guillemont where he will lay a wreath at the Celtic Cross First World War monument. The Celtic Cross stands in remembrance of the 16th Irish Division, which entered the Battle of the Somme in September 1916.

ENDS

Press Office

18 November 2021

Notes for Editors

  • The Ulster Memorial Tower stands on what was the German front line during the Battle of the Somme, July to November 1916. It was erected on the site of the Schwaben Redoubt, a strongly fortified position, which the Ulster Division eventually captured. It is opposite Thiepval Wood from where the 36th (Ulster) Division made charged at the German frontline on first day of the Battle of the Somme.
  • The 36th Ulster Division was made up of volunteers drawn from across all nine counties of Ulster.
  • The 36th Ulster Division was joined on the Western Front in September 2016 by the 16th Irish Division, which was formed by men from across the island of Ireland. The two divisions fought side by side at the Battle of Messines in 1917.
  • The event has been organised by the Somme Association, who manage the Ulster Memorial Tower site in Thiepval.
  • As part of the Government’s participation in events in 2016 to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, Minister Heather Humphreys represented the Government at the ceremony at the Ulster Tower on 1st July marking the role played by the 36th Ulster Division and again participated in the ceremony in September in Guillemont remembering the contribution of the 16th Irish Division.

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