Kearney reflects on visits to WW1 battlefields

Declan Kearney (left) pictured with Conor Heaney, Special Advisor to Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness.
They are pictured at the graveside of Conor's great grandfather Patrick Heaney, Royal Irish Fusiliers. INNT 23-805CON

Declan Kearney (left) pictured with Conor Heaney, Special Advisor to Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness. They are pictured at the graveside of Conor's great grandfather Patrick Heaney, Royal Irish Fusiliers. INNT 23-805CON

Declan Kearney has spoken of the “huge importance” of what happened at Flanders and the Somme following his recent visit to the battlefields.

The South Antrim MLA said: “I took part in a Sinn Fein delegation to the First World War battlefields at Flanders and the Somme alongside Martin McGuinness and Mary Lou McDonald. 

“I did so at the invitation of the Flemish government to remember the thousands of Irishmen from right across the island who died in what was a horrific, imperialist war. 

“What happened in Flanders and at the Somme is part of our shared history and is of huge importance to many in the community, particularly unionists.” 

The Sinn Fein National Chairperson added: “In this year of centenaries when we mark the 100th anniversaries of both the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, it is important that we do so in an inclusive, dignified and respectful manner and I believe that it is an indication of political maturity that we have been able to do so. 

“Reconciliation must become the next phase of the peace process and hopefully this visit is a further step towards that. By acknowledging and remembering our shared past in an inclusive way we can help create a better future.”