Kevin Myers unveils plaque to Laois World War I hero during Heritage Week

Controversial journalist Kevin Myers was in Co Laois during Heritage Week to unveil a plaque to a World War I here who was a native of Rathdowney.

Mr Myers was given the honour of unveiling a plaque to the memory of Jack Moyney at the Re-enactment of The Battle of Ypres, in Durrow. 

Mr Myers is a pioneer of the study of the Irish in the Great War. His first article on the subject appeared in 1979 was based on the only major interview with Jack Moyney. He also wrote the book 'Ireland's Great War'.

John (Jack) Moyney (sometimes spelled "Miney") was born in 1895. In Sptember 1917, when he was 22 years old, and a lance-sergeant in the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, British Army during the First World War, he participated in an action near Broenbeck in Belgium, part of the Battle of Ypres.

Lance-Sergeant Moyney was in command of 15 men forming two advanced posts. Surrounded by the enemy he held his post for 96 hours, having no water and very little food. He led his men to safety across a stream, and was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in the British Army.

Moyney survived the War, and went on to be a prominent member of the community in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, where he died on 10 November 1980. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Guards Regimental Headquarters (Irish Guards RHQ), Wellington Barracks, London.

Laois Heritage Office is working with the Royal British Legion in Ireland and the Irish Guards, on the preparation of a suitable commemoration to Sgt Moyney, which will be unveiled in his home town of Rathdowney, on Tuesday 12th September starting at 2pm. All are welcome to attend.

The event during Heritage Week also commemorated Sgt Moyney. It featured a reenactment of the action for which he won his Victoria Cross will take place at the River Erkina besind Bob's Bar in Durrow, on Sunday 20th August, from 5pm.

A snug in the famous Laois bar is named in his honour. Bob Campion the proprietor of the pub helped unveiled a plaque which he erected.

Kevin Myers recently lost his job after what was labelled an ‘anti-Semitic and sexist’ column in the Irish edition of the Sunday Times.

He later apologised and admitted it would end his journalistic career.

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