Irish leader Varadkar to attend Armistice Day commemorations in Paris

Irish leader Leo Varadkar is to attend the centenary Armistice Day commemoration in Paris on Sunday.

Mr Varadkar will attend the service at the Arc de Triomphe with more than 70 heads of state and government, which will commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, the Taoiseach said it was an important reminder about international cooperation.

“I am honoured to represent Ireland at this commemorative event which marks the end of hostilities in what was one of the greatest tragedies in world history,” he said.

“I will stand in memory of the more than 200,000 Irishmen who fought in the conflict and the many Irishwomen who witnessed the horrors of war and worked courageously to save lives.

“Tens of thousands of Irishmen, many of them only in their teens, were killed. Those who did survive returned to a changed Ireland, unable to share their horrific experiences. Through the Decade of Centenaries, their stories have been shared and we have rightly honoured the enormous sacrifice made by those who went to the front.

“In the words of Thomas Kettle, we honour those who: ‘Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor, — But for a dream, born in a herdsman’s shed, And for the secret Scripture of the poor.’

“As we face new challenges in the 21st century, we need to work together to achieve peace, stability and prosperity across the world. Through our committed and active membership of the EU and the UN, Ireland will continue to play a leading role in these efforts.”

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