12 November 2018
To mark the 100-year anniversary of Armistice Day, The Bar of Ireland joined with The Bar of Northern Ireland to commemorate their fallen colleagues at a remembrance ceremony on Friday the 9th November 2018.
World War One had a very profound and far-reaching impact on the Irish Bar. The Irish Law Times War Supplement of 1916 numbered 126 barristers as enlisted which amounted to 42% of the total Irish Bar membership of 300. In addition, 160 sons of barristers enlisted in the War.
“Given their history in politics and rebellion, it is not surprising that many Irish barristers volunteered for service during World War 1” said Micheál P O’Higgins SC, Chairman, Council of The Bar of Ireland, “Like other professions, there were those amongst the members of the Bar who sought to play their part in what they saw as a fight for freedom and the protection of small nations. The loss to the Bar arising from the Great War was devastating: of the 126 serving barristers, 25 lost their lives”.
“The barristers commemorated here are men, simply because at this time women were not permitted to enter the Bar or to join combat units. However, of note is that the first practising female barrister, admitted to the Irish Bar in 1921, Averil Deverell, drove with the ambulance corps in France for the duration of the War” he continued.
Chief Justice of Ireland, Frank Clarke who was also in attendance at the ceremony along with the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Sir Declan Morgan said that ‘We are honoured to commemorate those brave and heroic members of the Irish Bar that fought in World War 1. It is only proper to acknowledge their selfless service in the pursuit of peace’.
A number of other commemorative initiatives including an exhibition in memory of the 25 barristers who died in World War 1 was also launched and will be on view to the public in the Four Courts beside the memorial sculpture.