Unveiling of a Victoria Cross Stone Dedicated to Major Edward “Mick” Mannock V.C.
Speech by Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D
Minister with Responsibility for Defence
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
His Excellency, the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett; Air Chief Marshal and Chief of the Air Staff in the UK, Sir Stephen Hillier; Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defence, Ciarán Murphy; Deputy Chief of Staff Operations of the Defence Forces, Major General Kieran Brennan; General Officer Commanding the Air Corp, Brigadier General Sean Clancy; Chairman of Glasnevin Trust, John Green, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Firstly, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our veterans associations whose members are present with us today.
I am delighted to be here in the presence of all of our guests to pay tribute to Major Edward “Mick” Mannock V.C. and to unveil the Victoria Cross Stone in his honour.
Much has been spoken in the context of the generations of people lost in the Great War including many Irish people who fought alongside their comrades of many nations. At this remove, we rely on the archival documents that testify to the horrors that these young people lived through. Behind all of these documents we find the very real story of their lives.
Many of you are aware that here in Ireland we are remembering and reflecting on the story of our own nation through the “Decade of Centenaries” which encompasses major historical happenings from 1912 to 1922.
It is incumbent on us all to ensure that our commemorations are inclusive and respectful of all traditions. We have a responsibility to remember the events in the full context of our history and to honour the people whose courage and idealism inspired a nation.
As a member of Government, it is my great privilege to lead and partake in these events that provide us with an opportunity to look back on the journey we have taken with a strong focus on our joint history and shared experiences.
Events such as today prompt us to recall shared loss of loved ones, while bringing to mind the sacrifice, courage and idealism of our forebears who laid the foundation for the freedoms we enjoy in our time.
We can be justifiably proud of the progress that has been achieved by our communities and societies who share a common heritage of humanity and democracy.
As we enter the second half of the Decade of Centenaries our focus will now switch to how we achieved our independence and how we fared in the post-independence era.
We as a Government will ensure that all narratives will be heard, and we can reflect appropriately on all of the major historical events as they unfolded.
So, it gives me great pleasure to be unveiling the Victoria Cross stone here today which will act as a lasting testament to the bravery and heroism of Major Edward “Mick” Mannock V.C.
It is well known that he was proud of his Irish roots, especially of his mother Julia who was from Ballincollig in County Cork.
He was also a supporter of Irish Home Rule.
He did not survive World War I so we will never know how he would have dealt with all the momentous events that were to take place in Ireland in those coming years.
Many Irishmen like him also lost their lives in France and we honour them all equally.
Today’s event gives us pause for thought to reflect on the shared history of our peoples and the responsibility that we share to maintain peace and stability which will honour the courage, dignity and ideals that characterised the events of a centenary ago.
Finally, I would like to thank all of our Veterans here today and remind them that we are committed to remembering the contribution that they have made to stability and peace. We extend the heart felt appreciation of our generation to you all for your loyalty and courage.
Enjoy the rest of your day and thank you for your attention.