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Lorrha War Veteran Martin O’Meara Honoured In Glasnevin Cemetery.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Lorrha War Veteran Martin O’Meara Honoured In Glasnevin Cemetery. thumbnailThe Australian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency, Richard Andrews met with Noreen O’Meara and her sister Bridget during Armistice Day Commemorations in Glasnevin Cemetery last Friday

MINISTER for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohue TD, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr and Glasnevin Trust Chairman, John Green led proceedings at this year's Armistice Day Commemorations which were held on Friday last in Glasnevin cemetery, at which Lorrha native Martin O'Meara was among those honoured.
The event commenced with an Ecumenical service by Rev David Oxley and Fr Bernard McGuickian SJ who also performed a blessing of the stones and cross. Then followed the laying of wreaths at the Cross of Sacrifice to remember the thousands of Irish men and women who died fighting in World War One.
This was followed by the unveiling of commemorative stones in honour of four Irish men who received the Victoria Cross for their efforts in WW1. One of the four to be honoured was Lorrha native Martin O'Meara VC (Australian Imperial Forces), while the other three were Frederick Edwards VC (Middlesex Regiment), John Vincent Holland VC (Leinster Regiment) and Thomas Hughes VC (Connaught Rangers). Martin's grand nieces Noreen O'Meara and her sister Bridget Adams travelled over from England to attend the event.
Speaking after the ceremony, Noreen reflected on Martin's life and mentioned that when Martin was sent back to Australia towards the end of the war, 'he didn't want to go as he felt there was nothing in Australia for him'. She believes that was one of a number of factors that led to his mental break down. 'He probably had very few friends as they were all possibly in the army and most likely all dead and he also had no home' she said.
Noreen said the family were delighted that Martin had received 'public recognition at last' and added that he was in good company in Glasnevin cemetery. She also mentioned the plaque which was officially unveiled in Martin's home parish of Lorrha in 2013 and praised Lorrha Development Association for their initiative in doing so describing the memorial as 'a very impressive limestone memorial'.
Speaking at the event Minister Donohoe said he was honoured to have the opportunity to partake in the Armistice Day Commemorations. 'The sacrifices made, and the bravery shown, by them is remembered with pride and admiration. Hearing the stories of those whose plaques we unveil here to-day, also brings real life to proceedings and gives us a sense and an understanding, of the courageousness and selflessness of those we commemorate' he said.
Glasnevin Trust Chairman, John Green said 'The Cross of Sacrifice in which we lay these wreaths this morning is a lasting tribute to the Irish Men and Women who fought in WW1 and the enormous sacrifices they made, in the case of tens of thousands it was the ultimate sacrifice' he said.
Minister Donohue was first to lay a Commerative wreath followed by John Greene, Glasnevin Trust, Brendan Carr, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast and several Ambassadors to Ireland including the Australian Ambassador Richard Andrews. The event was closed by the sounding of the last post.
Martin O'Meara was born in Lorrha on November 6th 1885 and died in Australia on December 20th 1935. He arrived in South Australia in 1912 where he worked as a labourer before travelling to Port Augusta where he worked on the building of a railway. In June 1916 he joined the 16th Battalion's newly formed Scouting Section in Northern France and served as a scout, observer and sniper during his time on the Western front in Belgium and France. Between the 9th and the 12th August 1916 at Mouquet Farm, Pozieres, during four days of very heavy fighting. Private O'Meara repeatedly went out and brought in wounded officers and men from 'no man's land' under intense artillery and machine gun fire. He also volunteered and carried up ammunition and bombs through a heavy barrage to a portion of the trenches which was being heavily shelled at the time. He was wounded three times during the war and received his Victoria Cross for his bravery, from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21st of July 1917. In 1918, Martin was selected along with other VC recipients to return to Australia to assist with recruiting. He was promoted to Sergeant in August of that year. He spent several years in a mental institution. He died in 1935 prematurely at the age of 50 and is buried in Perth.

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