Another first in cross-border relations

It was not the same attention-grabber as the July handshake between Martin McGuinness and the Queen, or Herself visiting the Republic in May 2011 and laying a wreath at Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance.

But Enda Kenny has become the Republic’s first taoiseach to attend Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Northern Ireland. As the Guardian reported, he did so at an event in Enniskillen, where 25 years ago 11 Protestant civilians where killed in an IRA bomb. Eamon Gilmore, Kenny’s deputy, attended an event in Belfast.

Gilmore said people of all traditions on the island of Ireland would be “remembering together” in a “decade of commemorations” that include the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, the end of the first world war in 1918 and the foundation of the two states in Ireland in 1921.

Their presence is seen as another gesture of reconciliation between the two political traditions on the island, as well as official recognition in Dublin of the thousands of Irish men who served in the British armed forces, particularly during the two world wars.