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Remarks by the Minister for Defence Mr Willie O'Dea, T.D., at the unveiling of a Granite Stone honouring the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation  after whom the seven Barracks of the Defence Forces Training Centre in the Curragh Camp, Co Kildare are named

6th April 2006


Secretary General, Chief of Staff, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am proud and honoured to unveil this commemorative granite stone, part of the 90th anniversary commemoration of 1916 and the signatories of the Proclamation: Clarke, MacDiarmada, MacDonagh, Pearse, Ceannt, Connolly and Plunkett, in whose honour the seven barracks in the Curragh are named.

The men and women of 1916 fought against overwhelming military odds in their struggle to establish our right to self-determination.  Their leaders, particularly the seven we honour today, gave their lives in pursuit of the ideals enshrined in the Proclamation.

How proud they would be to see their successor generations in the Defence Forces - Óglaigh na hÉireann serving across the globe, protecting the peoples of other small nations and helping them to achieve the peace and freedom which we ourselves long sought.

This is the spirit behind the April 16th march past the G.P.O. The parade will reflect how the Defence Forces’ role has evolved, particularly their contribution to United Nations peace-building.  Their courage, dedication and unselfish humanity is what the Leaders of 1916 would have envisaged for their successor generations.

I want to thank and congratulate all those associated with this project particular the skilled craftsmen whose beautiful work is on display here. I want to pay special thanks to the G.O.C. of the Defence Force Training Centre: Brig Gen Pat O’Sullivan for his huge input into this and so many other projects here. The past few years have seen tremendous improvements at the Curragh.

And so, it is with a deep sense of pride that I unveil this granite stone today.

ENDS


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