The Irish government is holding an event which will commemorate British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising – and the British Army could attend the ceremony.
The event is one of several attempts by Dublin to ensure that all those who died during the Rising – even those who were fighting against what the Irish state now regards as some of its founding fathers – are remembered during the centenary commemorations.
Around 500 people are believed to have been killed in the Rising, more than half of whom were civilians, along with 126 soldiers, 82 rebels and 17 police officers.
On May 26, a remembrance ceremony will take place at Grangegorman Military Cemetery beside Phoenix Park in Dublin.
The relatively small military cemetery – where the bodies of many soldiers killed during the Rising were buried – can only accommodate around 100 people for the event, so entry is by invitation only.
It is understood that representatives or relatives of soldiers killed in Dublin in 1916, including the Sherwood Foresters, whose largely inexperienced soldiers took heavy losses in the streets of Dublin, may be present. Through a series of amalgamations since 1970, the Sherwood Foresters are now represented by the Mercian Regiment.
Several other events officially endorsed by the Republic’s government as part of its Easter Rising commemorative programme will focus on soldiers and police who lost their lives in their attempts to put down the insurrection.
On April 10, an exhibition about the Dublin City Metropolitan Police will be opened at the Garda Museum. The exhibition will examine the role – and the losses – of the then Dublin police force during the rising.
And on Sunday, an obituary wall will be unveiled in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, the final resting place of some of the most significant figures in the history of both Irish nationalism and republicanism.
But although the wall will be unveiled adjacent to the graves of Ireland’s leaders, it will not just commemorate republican icons of the Rising such as Patrick Pearse; rather it will be inscribed with the names of every individual known to have died during the days of conflict in Dublin, including members of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, the British Army, the Dublin Metropolitan Police, the Royal Irish Constabulary, as well as civilians — including children — who lost their lives either during the fighting or by execution after the rebellion had been quashed.
The unveiling of the symbolic wall of remembrance will involve an inter-faith service. The Irish government said that it would include all the main faith organisations to which those who died in the Rising were adherents.
Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny will lay a wreath and local school children will unveil the Necrology (obituary) Wall, which has been created by the Glasnevin Trust.