Proposed monument to remember WWI dead

Mullingar councillors are calling for a monument to be erected in the town in memory of the 300-plus soldiers from the locality who lost their lives during World War I.

There was cross-party support for the proposal, which the councillors are hoping will bear fruit as one of the last actions of the town council.

“There is a proud past in this town, and a proud present with people still serving in the Army, and this would be a nice gesture,” said Cllr Ken Glynn.

Cllr Peter Burke said that those who served in World War I had very little recognition.

“The programme with Gay Byrne recently [RTÉ’s My Father’s War] highlighted the hurt faced by people who returned. It’s like that book title ‘A Coward if I Return, a Hero if I Fall’.”

Cllr Ruth Illingworth said that the north Westmeath and Mullingar areas had had one of the hightest rates of soldiers serving in World War I.

“This year is the centenary of the beginning of World War I, in which tens of thousands of Irishmen served. Over 300 from the Mullingar area died, which would have been 10 per cent of the then male population of Mullingar. Each man volunteered. Some of them are ancestors of soldiers serving today, and the time has come to remember these local men who served for Ireland - they saw themselves as fighting for Ireland and many gave their lives in the cause of freedom.”

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