Members of a Massachusetts military company took part in a ceremony today to mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of US President John F Kennedy.

At a special wreath laying ceremony at the John F Kennedy Memorial Statue in New Ross today, 96 members of the Ancient and honourable Artillery Company were accompanied by members of the Irish naval Service who provided an Honour Guard.

President Kennedy was elected an honorary member of the company in 1961 and 75 officers and members took part in his inaugural parade in Washington on 20 January 1961.

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company is the oldest chartered military organisation in north America and the third oldest chartered military organisation in the world.

It was originally constituted as a citizen militia serving on active duty in defence of the northern British colonies and today serves as honour guard to the Governor of Massachusetts, who is also its commander-in-chief.

Four of its members have been serving US Presidents – James Monroe, Chester A Arthur, Calvin Coolidge and John F Kennedy, who was enrolled as a member on 16 April 1956.