TAOISEACH MICHEÁL Martin made history after joining Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster at a socially-distanced Remembrance Day service in Fermanagh.
Martin laid a wreath at the war memorial and took part in a minute’s silence to remember those who fought and died in the line of duty.
In doing so, the Taoiseach made history as the first Fianna Fail leader to attend the Remembrance Sunday event in Enniskillen.
Martin is only the third Taoiseach to attend the commemorative event in a tradition first established by Enda Kenny and continued by Leo Varadkar.
He was joined by Foster as well as Northern Ireland Office minister Robin Walker and several other dignitaries for an event traditionally attended by hundreds of locals.
. @MichealMartinTD becomes first @fiannafailparty Taoiseach to attend Remembrance Sunday event in Enniskillen, where he laid wreath on behalf of Irish Government. Continues tradition started by @FineGael Taoiseach Enda Kenny 9 years ago @rtenews @RTENewsPaulC @MichealLehane pic.twitter.com/eN4g505zvY
— Vincent Kearney (@vincekearney) November 8, 2020
The event also took place on the 33-year anniversary of the IRA’s Poppy Day bombing of the Enniskillen war memorial, which killed 11 people and injured dozens.
A 12th victim died 13 years later after slipping into a coma they never woke from.
The victims had gathered that day to pay their own respects to the war dead but were killed in the no-warning blast on 1987.
“I was honoured to represent the Government and lay a wreath at the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Enniskillen earlier today,” Martin later tweeted.
“A deeply moving event. It is hard to believe that the atrocity at Enniskillen was 33 years ago.”
I was honoured to represent the Government and lay a wreath at the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Enniskillen earlier today. A deeply moving event. It is hard to believe that the atrocity at Enniskillen was 33 years ago. pic.twitter.com/ZaXUYZg4Xe
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) November 8, 2020
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis was unable to attend due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s current travel restrictions.
Lewis tweeted: “This morning a wreath will be laid in Belfast on my behalf as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, honouring our fallen and remembering the sacrifices they made for our freedom.”
This morning a wreath will be laid in Belfast on my behalf as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, honouring our fallen and remembering the sacrifices they made for our freedom #LestWeForget #WeWillRememberThem
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) November 8, 2020
Enda Kenny was the first Taoiseach to visit Enniskillen on Remembrance Day in 2012.
It was viewed as a symbolic step in strengthening ties between Northern Ireland and the Republic by having the latter recognise those Irishmen who fought and died in the British Army during the First World War.