Mayor defends ’emotional’ trip to inspect war graves

Seamus Duke  The mayor of Roscommon County Council Cllr. John Kelly has hit out at criticism of a trip that he and seven other councillors and members of the council executive made to Belgium recently to inspect the graves of over 300 Roscommon men who died in World War 1.   Cllr. Kelly, who returned from the trip on Wednesday, told The Roscommon People ‘it was a marvellous trip and very emotional too. It was very worthwhile. We travelled to where these poor people lost their lives and we travelled to the battlefields like Ypres where so many people lost their lives.    ‘In fact we were in one village where one million men died in a single battle in a radius of about six miles. It was very moving to see it all and the Roscommon people who died there need to be recognised’ he said.    ‘I heard that there was criticism when we were away on this trip but I would count it as one of the highlights of my year as mayor. We had relatives of some of the deceased soldiers with us and it was emotional for them too. We stayed in the Irish College in Louvaine which is run by an Elphin man and we flew Ryanair so I don’t think that we wasted any money on this  trip. It was very worthwhile’ he concluded.