Speaker to represent Northern Ireland at Somme commemoration
The Republic of Ireland will hold a Somme Centenary Commemoration in the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin on Saturday.
The event will be held at Islandbridge at 12:00 noon.
The ceremony is being held in conjunction with the Royal British Legion.
Approximately 3,500 soldiers from the island of Ireland lost their lives in the battle.
The event will be attended by the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins and the Taoiseach (Irish prime-minister) Enda Kenny as well as representatives from Northern Ireland.
President Higgins is expected to lay a wreath at the ceremony as are the ambassadors of the eight countries that fought at the Somme, representatives from Northern Ireland and the Presidents of the Royal British Legion (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Robin Newton MLA, will represent Northern Ireland.
He said: "Given the huge loss of life and its impact on our history, it is only fitting that the Battle of the Somme has been marked by a range of events within our society, including at the Assembly two weeks ago.
"With my responsibilities for representing the entire Assembly, it is important that I should be involved in emphasising that the Somme did not just affect one part of our community. I am therefore pleased to be able to represent the Assembly at the commemoration in Dublin.
"The annual event at Islandbridge is traditionally organised by the Royal British Legion of Ireland, but by hosting it during this centenary year, the Taoiseach has demonstrated the importance of remembering the fallen of the Somme by coming together and putting politics aside.
"That is entirely appropriate to recognise that young men on opposing sides of the political divide here went out to fight and die side by side in common cause at the Somme," he added.