Archbishop Martin urges Catholics to remember WWI

A short memorial ceremony was held in the village of Guillemont, France, at a stone Celtic cross commemorating the 16th Irish Division which fought a century ago in the battle of the Somme

A short memorial ceremony was held in the village of Guillemont, France, at a stone Celtic cross commemorating the 16th Irish Division which fought a century ago in the battle of the Somme

Ireland’s Archbishop Eamon Martin has said prayers on the spot where Irish troops died at the Somme as he urged Catholics to remember the First World War.

The Irish primate commemorated the shared sacrifice with Protestants during a short memorial ceremony in the village of Guillemont at a stone Celtic cross commemorating the 16th Irish Division which fought a century ago.

Thousands of soldiers from across Ireland died or were wounded at the Somme as part of the British Army.

Archbishop Martin said: “In remembering the horrors of the war a century ago it helps us to redouble our efforts towards building peace, healing and reconciliation.

“I know that we have gone our separate ways in many ways over the last decades in Ireland and the more recent conflicts have tended to divide us and we don’t realise the shared narrative that there is in the sacrifice of those men in the First World War.”

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and council delegations from Lisburn and Portadown were also at the service.