Brian Cowen has announced his support for the Irish Shot at Dawn Campaign, which is seeking to clear the names of Irish soldiers in the British Army who were executed by the authorities during the First World War.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has instructed his officials to begin discussions with their British counterparts to re-establish the good names of the people involved.

Mr Cowen said that the offences for which they were convicted were repealed in 1930 following lobbying by ex-servicemen, indicating serious public concern about the credibility of the British military system of justice in battlefield conditions.

The Minister said that the sacrifice made by Irishmen in the British Army prior to independence had been embraced as part of the momentum toward reconciliation.

He said it was intrinsic to that process that concern should be shown at their treatment, which resulted unfairly in their disgrace and execution.