By Major-General Sir William Bernard Hickie KCB, 1929
GOC, 16th (Irish) Division; Irish Free State Senator
“I am most grateful for the high honour which has been done me to-day by the representatives of my comrades, the ex-Servicemen of Limerick, in asking me to come here to-day and to unveil your beautiful memorial. It is most fitting that this ancient city should have within its boundaries a monument which will not only stand to the glorious memory of those of her gallant sons who gave their lives in the cause of freedom and justice in the Great War, but will also serve to remind everyone, both citizen and visitor alike, of the great number of men from the county of Limerick, and from this its great capital city, who took a distinguished part in the campaign of the Great War, and of the exemplary and gallant manner in which they carried out their self imposed duties. I congratulate you on the choice of this simple and dignified design. I congratulate everyone who has been connected with this undertaking – the sculptor and his assistants, the committee, and all those whose sympathy and support have enabled this work to be carried to a successful conclusion: and on my own behalf, and in the name of the ex-Servicemen, whom I represent, especially do I thank the City Fathers for their choice and donation of this site.
What we want most in Ireland to-day is that brotherly spirit which will recognise that we are all Irishmen of one great family, who are striving according to our lights, to do the best for the country which we love. Opinions and methods may differ, but nothing is to be gained by unkind criticism, by harsh words, or by willful misunderstanding. Limerick has always set an example of that broadmindedness and of that kindly spirit which are also, so noticeably absent at times from our public life. This monument has been erected to 3000 Limerick men who fell in the Great War, as I have said, in the cause of right and justice. I know it is frequently said that it was not for these causes that the Allies entered the war. Personally, I believe that it was, and that if the Central powers had respected the neutrality of Belgium that France and Russia would have stood alone. But even if I were prepared to concede that there were other causes which induced some of the other Allies to take to the field, I emphatically assert that the men of Ireland, who fought with them, did so solely for the cause of right and justice, and for the integrity of Belgium. The cross now takes its place with the three crosses of Irish granite which stand respectively at Wytschaete in Flanders, at Guillemont and on the Somme in France and on the Serbian Heights above Lake Dioran, as lasting memorials to those 50,000 of our comrades who went out and did not come back. To the Glory of God, to the honour of Ireland, in all reverence, I have unveiled this memorial to those gallant soldiers and to their supreme sacrifice.”