President attends Cumann na mBan commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery

Thursday 03 April 2014 12.18
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There was an all-female honour guard at Glasnevin this morning (Pic: @defenceforces)
There was an all-female honour guard at Glasnevin this morning (Pic: @defenceforces)
Wreaths were laid at the grave of Cumann na mBan member Elizabeth O'Farrell
Wreaths were laid at the grave of Cumann na mBan member Elizabeth O'Farrell
Uniformed Cumann na mBan members stand guard over Cathal Brugha (Pic: RTÉ Stills Library)
Uniformed Cumann na mBan members stand guard over Cathal Brugha (Pic: RTÉ Stills Library)

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the central role Irish women have played in Irish history.

He was speaking at an event to commemorate the foundation of Cumann na mBan 100 years ago.

Cumann na mBan was set up in Wynn's Hotel in Dublin on 2 April 1914.

Mr Higgins said that there was still a long way to go to achieve full equality for men and women, particularly at levels of representation in public life.

Speaking at the State Ceremony to mark the centenary of the foundation of the organisation at Glasnevin cemetery, he said women had suffered more than most in Irish history, and yet he said their stories and their voices were often silenced.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan also took part in a commemoration ceremony to mark the day, along with members of the Defence Forces.

A wreath was laid at the grave of Elizabeth O'Farrell, as a symbol of the contribution made by the many thousands of other members of Cumann na mBan.

A guard of honour made up completely of female personnel of the Defence Forces also took part in the ceremony.

A series of events are being held over the next few days, including a conference about Cumann na mBan in Collin's Barracks and a special exhibition at Glasnevin cemetery, as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme.

Read Louise Byrne's special report on Cumann na mBan members Sighle Humphreys and Máire Comerford here.

Watch Helen Donohue's report on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Cumann na mBan here.