It was good to see the Irish tricolour flying proudly at Perth’s Kings Park the other day, when Irish Minister of State in the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD, visited the park.
Minister Stanton was in Perth for a short visit that included laying wreaths at Western Australia’s State War Memorial. He laid two wreaths: one at the Flame of Remembrance and another at a nearby memorial plaque for Martin O’Meara VC, Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War. It was also good to have the Commanding Officer and the Regimental Sergeant Major of the 16th Battalion, the Royal Western Australian Regiment (16RWAR), attend the wreath laying. That battalion is the direct descendent of the 16th Infantry Battalion with which O’Meara served between 1915-1918.
Martin O’Meara, a Tipperaryman, was one of an estimated 6,000 Irish-born enlistees in the Australian forces during that war. A useful database of Irish-born Australian serviceman is hosted by the University of Sydney.
I was also privileged to meet Minister Stanton whilst he was here in Perth, and to present him with a copy of my biography of Martin O’Meara VC.