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Clonmult Martyrs Commemoration
history and heritage |
Friday February 28, 2014 20:34 by Seán Ó Murchú - Clonmult Martyrs Commemoration Committee
The Annual Clonmult Martyrs Commemoration took place in Midleton on Sunday 23rd February.
As 2014 is the hundred anniversary of the foundational of Cumann na mBan, they were given the honour of carrying the Tri-Colour, with another proudly flying the Cumann na mBan flag in the Colour party.
The Commemoration assembled at 2:30pm outside the Courthouse where a member of Cumann na mBan in full uniform carrying the tri-colour lead the commemoration which proceeded to St. John the Baptist Churchyard where the proceedings were chaired by Donal Varian. After welcoming everyone Donal asked Tony Horgan to lay a wreath on behalf of the Republican Movement on the grave of Volunteer Deasy, a decade of the rosary was then given.
The Commemoration then continued to the Republican Plot, Holy Rosary Churchyard. Where Donal said a few brief words before asking the following to lay wreaths. Clare Cullinane laid a wreath on behalf of the families of the Clonmult Martyrs on the Republican Plot. Mary Ward on behalf of Cumann na mBan laid a wreath on the grave of Commandant Diarmuid Hurley O.C. who was killed by Crown Forces three months after his comrades. Another wreath was laid on behalf the Republican Movement.
Donal then spoke about the sacrifice the Clonmult Boys, the men and women of 1916 and the generations since have made.
He then introduced Alfie McAvoy, Belfast who gave the Oration.
Speaking at the anniversary of the Clonmult ambush on February 23rd 2014 Alfie McAvoy paid tribute to the courage of the volunteers at Clonmult and referred to the cruelty and ruthlessness of the British forces, and their lack of mercy.
He said, “British occupation forces should expect no mercy. Clonmult was the greatest loss of lives suffered by the IRA during the 1920 - 1922 period of the War of Independence. The War of Independence has yet to be finished, and we have seen a number of resurgences of it in the almost 100 years since the Clonmult massacre.”
“Significantly, when these phases ended with dump arms orders there was no complaint or split. Also significant is the fact that changes to the principle of republicanism always did and always will cause splits.”
He said, “With each new cessation, the task falls to a new generation of Irish men and women to take the lead, and this time is no different. A new generation will eventually lead the way to freedom. When that will be we can't tell, but we can be confident that it will happen.”
“Those who compromised their Republican principles whether it be in 1922, 1927, 1932, 1969, or 1986 will be consigned to history as having failed to learn from the mistakes of the past. Last week provisional SF statements were concerned and worried about "Our Gardai" and "Our Democracy". How things have changed in such a relatively short time.”
“There is no democracy in a divided country, and the Gardai who have killed and tortured our friends and comrades are not and never will be ours.”
“An IRA volunteer is prepared to die for Ireland. The Gardai die for a 26 county Free State.”
“Future generations will achieve a 32 county free Ireland in spite of the set-backs caused by the peel-off politicians who are so arrogant to believe that they won't fall fowl to the same temptations, corruption, and dilution that their forerunners succumbed to.”
“It is for republicans to counter the revisionism which is rife in this country by giving the true accounts of actions such as Clonmult, and the real reasons for them. We need to be political without becoming politicians - to convince the people that republicanism is the best option, not by changing what we think will give us an extra percentage point in the polls.”
Alfie concluded by saying, “We need to be patient because the way chosen will take a long time. I could quote Martin Luther King, but I won't. Just know that once we don't make that mistake again of believing we can't be corrupted by Leinster House or Stormont a future generation will succeed.”
“Tiocfaidh ar la.”
Donal Varian brought the commemoration to a conclusion and thanked Alfie McAvoy and all those in attendance. He concluded by congratulating the British Post Office for their delivery of packages in recent weeks.