It's my privilege to lay wreath in Belfast and pay tribute to war dead of

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said it will be his “privilege” to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Belfast tomorrow to commemorate the centenary of the First World War Armistice.

Mr Coveney will attend the Remembrance Day service in the grounds of the City Hall alongside the Secretary of State Karen Bradley, who will represent the UK Government.

Tomorrow marks 100 years since November 11, 1918, the day the guns fell silent.

The Queen and senior royals will be at London’s Cenotaph for the national remembrance service at 11am. Services will also take place in Glasgow and Cardiff.

Writing in today’s Belfast Telegraph, Mr Coveney, who will lay a wreath of green laurels on behalf of the Republic’s Government, said he was honouring all those from this island who died in battle 100 years ago.

He said: “We take this moment, a century on from the Armistice, to remember them, to pay tribute to their sacrifice and to mourn their loss.

“In doing so, we join with people across these islands and across the continent of Europe, and worldwide.

“An event of impossible human destruction is now commemorated collectively in a powerful symbol of our shared commitment to peace.”

There are no definitive figures for Irish casualties in the Great War.

Although a figure of 49,000 is referred to in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, most historians now estimate the final death toll to have been around 35,000.

Mr Coveney added: “For the island of Ireland, the decade of centenaries of events that shaped our modern history continues. We will again have to rise to the challenge of remembering those events in our shared history in a way that is authentic and honest and rigorous and respectful of others.”

Mrs Bradley said tomorrow would be a time to remember all those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.

She said the centenary was deeply poignant.

“Foremost it is of enormous significance that we remember all those from across the island of Ireland who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” she added.

“As we reflect on the centenary, we continue to learn so much about our shared history, in a spirit of mutual respect and hope for the future.”

Tomorrow afternoon the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland will speak at a commemorative service marking the Armistice centenary at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

Archbishop Eamon Martin will be joined by Church of Ireland Primate Dr Richard Clarke, Presbyterian Moderator Dr Charles McMullen and Methodist President Rev Bill Davison.

This interdenominational service will be led by Dean of Belfast Stephen Forde and include specially commissioned musical items, alongside poignant poetry readings.

It will be broadcast live on BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Radio Ulster.

Earlier a wreath will be laid by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds at London’s Cenotaph, where the Prince of Wales will once again lead the nation in honouring the country’s war dead during the national service of remembrance.

Prince Charles will lay a wreath at Whitehall on behalf of the Queen, the second successive year the heir to the throne has performed the duty.

Meanwhile, a Taoiseach will miss the Remembrance Sunday wreath-laying ceremony in Co Fermanagh for the first time in six years.

Leo Varadkar attended the event for the first time last year, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Enda Kenny, who took part in every ceremony since 2012.

This year Mr Varadkar will represent the Republic at the Armistice centenary commemoration at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

His place in Enniskillen will be taken by Irish Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys, who will lay a wreath alongside DUP leader Arlene Foster.

The day’s commemorations in the town start at 6am at Enniskillen Castle, where there will be a ceremony to mark 100 years since the day that the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War.

Yesterday one of the Royal Navy’s most advanced warships arrived in Belfast to mark Armistice Day in the city.

HMS Duncan arrived for its third visit to Belfast, one of its affiliated cities.

The ship will host its own remembrance service on board before many on board will attend the Cenotaph at Belfast City Hall and service at St Anne’s Cathedral.

Belfast Telegraph