Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Michelle O’Neill lays wreath for Battle of the Somme anniversary

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill i(PA)
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill i(PA)

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill has laid a wreath in Belfast in memory of those who died at the Battle of the Somme.

While Sinn Fein lord mayors in the capital have laid a laurel wreath on the anniversary of the First World War battle in previous years, this is the first time a member of the party’s leadership has taken part.

Ms O’Neill joined the current Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black to lay wreaths in a low-key ceremony on Friday morning, ahead of the official commemorative event marking the first day of the battle.

The Sinn Fein Stormont leader, who will be entitled to be nominated as First Minister when the Assembly is revived as leader of the largest party in the Assembly, said she is demonstrating her commitment to work for everyone.

Last July, the then deputy First Minister joined then first minister Paul Givan of the DUP at the Irish National War Memorial at Islandbridge in Dublin to remember those who fell at the Somme.

That was then the first time the Sinn Fein politician had attended a Royal British Legion wreath-laying ceremony.

A poppy field (Danny Lawson/PA)
A poppy field (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ahead of the wreath-laying, Ms O’Neill told the PA news agency she was taking part “to pay respects to all those, Irish and British, from our island who were killed at the Battle of the Somme 106 years ago”.

She added: “I believe it’s important that as first minister designate, that I demonstrate my commitment to work for everyone and work to strengthen cooperation and friendship between those of us in political and public life and the people we represent, from all traditions.

“If we are to heal all the wounds of the past and build a better future, we must acknowledge the loss of those killed in war and conflict as experienced, honoured and commemorated by those they left behind.”

Ms O’Neill added: “We must also seek to identify with the grief, the hurt and the suffering as something we all share; an approach based on common humanity.

“This is part of our shared history.

“I believe however that all political leaders must stretch themselves to seek common ground and that’s what I am committed to doing every single day.”

The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the First World War.

It saw the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division, representing the two main traditions from Northern Ireland, distinguish themselves, but at a great cost.