03/11/2008

Soldiers Remembered In Cross Border Commemoration

Former soldiers from both sides of the Irish border stood shoulder to shoulder in Co Louth on Saturday to honour servicemen from the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Around 150 people gathered at the Cenotaph in Drogheda for the all-Ireland remembrance event to pay tribute to the hundreds of men from the town killed fighting with the British Forces.

"We came to Drogheda for a beautiful service with Catholics and Protestants next to each other," said the 88-year-old D-Day veteran John Jenkin.

Jim Bowman, a 62-year-old from Bangor, Co Down, who served with the Royal Ulster Rifles from 1965 to 1975, said: "British soldiers are from the north and south, all over the country."

The Irish ex-service men's association, the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen (ONE) and representatives from across Northern Ireland, headed by Whiteabbey Royal British Legion, laid wreaths bearing the Royal Crest and Tricolour during the ecumenical service.

The mayors of Newtownabbey and Drogheda - Victor Robinson and Frank Maher - represented their communities at the inter-denominational religious ceremony, which has been held in the town for the past nine years.

Drogheda man Joe Lynch, a member of the Irish Defence Forces for 23 years and Chairman of the Slane ONE Branch said it paid tribute to the Irish men who died: "We don't have any problem with any of our Nato comrades," he said.

"I believe they should all be remembered."

(BMcC)

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