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Banna Strand ceremony marks arrest of Roger Casement 100 years ago

Roger Casement
Image caption Roger Casement was executed for treason

An official ceremony has been held in County Kerry to mark the role of Roger Casement and his colleagues in the Easter Rising.

They arrived arrived at Banna Strand on 21 April 1916 in a German U-boat as part of a plan to land guns and ammunition for the rising.

Casement was later tried, found guilty of treason and executed.

President Michael D Higgins delivered the keynote address at the strand and lay a wreath.

He said that Casement always thought of himself as an Ulsterman and that "none of the leaders of 1916 has excited as much controversy just before their death and ever since.

"Casement was undoubtedly a complex personality, and he was centrally involved in one of the most contentious episodes of the Irish revolutionary period".

Roger Casement, who spent his youth in County Antrim, was a human rights activist and former senior British diplomat, turned Irish nationalist.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption President Michael D Higgins arrives at Banna Strand

His reports on the exploitation of rubbery slavery in the Congo and Brazil resulted in his being awarded a knighthood.

During World War 1 he travelled to Germany and attempted to recruit an Irish Brigade from Irish prisoners of war and arranged a shipment of weapons.

Image copyright PRONI
Image caption Casement on U-boat prior to his arrest in County Kerry

Twenty thousand guns were lost when the German cargo ship, Aud, was intercepted by the Royal Navy and scuttled in Cork Harbour.

The ceremony also marked the role of Robert Monteith and Daniel Bailey, who accompanied Casement on his mission.

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