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O’Dea Unveils design of First Ever National Memorial to Defence Forces Members who died in Service

March 22nd 2007

The Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea TD has today unveiled the design, proposed site and artist of the first ever public National Memorial erected to members of the Defence Forces who died in Service.

Minister O’Dea is pleased to announce that the award for the commission has gone to artist Mr. Brian King following an open tender competition in which more than 30 artists applied. Artists from the UK, Italy and Germany as well as Ireland applied.

“Mr. King is an artist of international standing who has won many prestigious awards and commissions and I am delighted to be in a position to announce the award of this important commission to him. I am extremely impressed with his design and I look forward to it being in place. It is a fitting tribute,” stated Minister O’Dea. Further information on Mr. King and his work can be viewed on

Minister O’Dea announced the competition for the €175,000 commission for the design, construction and installation of The National Memorial in June 2006.

“The Memorial will be located in Merrion Square, Dublin. Dublin City Council and the Archbishop of Dublin have been very supportive of the project and have agreed to make the site available. The planning permission process has started and it is my intention to have the Memorial on site by the end of the year,” added Minister O’Dea.

“Many States have a National Memorial located in their capital city, such as the Cenotaph in London or Arlington National Cemetery in Washington. There is no public memorial in Dublin dedicated to members of the Defence Forces who have died in service and I wanted to rectify this. Memorials serve to bring to or keep in mind the sacrifice of those they commemorate. Throughout history sovereign States recognize the sacrifices made by members of their forces who have died in service. The National Memorial, which I commissioned, will publicly recognise the contribution made by members of the Defence Forces whether at home or on peace support operations overseas. It will also acknowledge the loss and bereavement of those left behind. I am delighted to be in a position to unveil the design and announce the winning artist of this commission today as it is long overdue,” stated Minister O’Dea.

“Members of the Defence Forces who have died in service are remembered annually in July on the National Day of Commemoration at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Ceremonies are also held annually in all military barracks throughout the country on November 2nd, which is the traditional day of commemoration for deceased members of the Defence Forces. The National Memorial will be an appropriate prominent public monument to reflect the sacrifice made by members of the Defence Forces and their families and it is my intention that the annual commemoration for deceased members of the Defence Forces would take place at The National Memorial in future,” concluded Minister O’Dea.


The funding available for the project is €175,000 and it is being funded by the Department of Defence through the Per Cent for Art Scheme.

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