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Tom Kettle: Commemoration for Tyrone MP killed at the Somme

Charlie Flanagan TD and photographer Mike Sheils at a commemoration for East Tyrone MP Tom Kettle, killed in the First World War. Picture by Maxwell Photography

An MP for Co Tyrone killed at Somme 100 years ago has been remembered at ceremonies in Dublin and London.

Tom Kettle, a writer and barrister from Dublin, was an Irish Parliamentary Party MP for East Tyrone from 1906 to 1910.

A strong supporter of Irish independence, he witnessed the German invasion of Belgium in 1914 when he travelled to the country to buy weapons for the Irish Volunteers.

When he returned home, he joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was killed aged of 36 at Ginchy in northern France on September 9 1916.

Several members of his extended family attended yesterday's wreath-laying ceremony in St Stephen's Green in Dublin, where a memorial to Kettle stands.

Foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said Kettle was a "proud nationalist" and a "huge loss to Ireland".

"Ireland in the early years of statehood could only have been enriched by someone of his intellect and talents and his loss is a reminder of the tragedy of a generation from across Europe who were caught up in the slaughter of World War I," he said.

A separate ceremony was held at Westminster, attended by MPs and representatives from the Irish government including Irish Ambassador to the UK Dan Mulhall.

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson laid a wreath at the ceremony, which was also attended by the SDLP's Mark Durkan,

Mr Donaldson said Mr Kettle was "deserving of full recognition".

"Tom joined in common cause with the Ulster Volunteers at the Somme and his death symbolises the heavy loses suffered by the 16th Irish Division," he said.

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