President Mary McAleese lays wreath

Up to 1,000 people attended a ceremony in Dublin today to remember all the Irish men and women killed in past wars and on UN peacekeeping duties.

President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and around 400 members of the Defence Forces took part in the outdoor service at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin.

The National Day of Commemoration honours Irish people of all traditions who died in war or on service with the United Nations.

The Tánaiste Mary Coughlan was one of the many cabinet members present including Mary Harney, Batt O'Keeffe, Noel Dempsey, Dermot Ahern, Mary Hanafin, Brendan Smith, Pat Carey and Tony Killeen.

Several Ministers of State were also present.

Members of the Council of State, which advises the President, were given prominent positions at the ceremony with former taoisigh Garret Fitzgerald and Albert Reynolds were among them.

Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Forde was also present.

Prayers during the 40-minute ceremony were led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (Roman Catholic), the Venerable David Pierpoint (Church of Ireland), the Rev Alan Mitchell (Presbyterian), the Rev Paul Kingston (Methodist), Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa (Islamic Centre), Cantor Alwyn Shulman (Jewish Community) and Rev Fr Godfrey O'Donnell (Romanian Orthodox).

The Defence Forces representation was led by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Sean McCann and his deputy, Major General Dave Ashe.

The retired commander of the European force in Chad, Lt Gen Pat Nash and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy also attended.

Many veterans from the Defence Forces as well as former soldiers with British, European and US forces wore emblems and medals marking their military service.

President McAleese laid a wreath at a plaque in the courtyard of the Royal Hospital. Following a minute's silence, the Last Post and Reveille were sounded.

The ceremony ended with a flypast by the Air Corps.