Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee


Annual Awards Testimonial Dinner

Cumann na Saoirse Naisiunta  (The National Irish Freedom Committee)  will  hold Annual Testimonials to recognize and honor Irish-Americans and others for their contributions to the promotion of Irish history / literature, human rights and Irish freedom.
Annual testimonials are an inherent and enduring part of the Fenian tradition here in the U.S. since 1972. As the inheritor of that tradition the NIFC will honor worthy individuals for their lifelong contributions to Irish history / literature, human rights, and Irish freedom. Each year three individuals will be selected to receive the following awards.

The Sr. Sarah Clarke Human Rights Award

 Sr. Sarah Clarke was born in Shannonbridge, Co. Galway. Sr. Sarah was a member of the La Salle Order. She taught at the Bower College in Athlone and elsewhere in Ireland before moving to England in the early sixties.

Not long after arriving in England she became aware of the discrimination directed at the Irish and other less fortunate groups in British society. She worked hard and fearlessly to counter the British backlash against Irish agitation arising from the 1972 Derry massacre. She later joined the Relatives for Justice Committee who aim it was to seek justice for all Irish people in British prisons, especially where political motives came in to play. In the mid-seventies her superiors allowed her to give up teaching to devout all of her time to the prisoners and their families who came to England to visit with them.

Sr. Sarah at one level was a typical Irish nun who gives unselfishly to the service of others. In Sr. Sarah case it meant service to Irish prisoners and their families in England for nearly a quarter of a century. Throughout her life Sr. Sarah was indeed a true angel of mercy.

The Michael & Margaret Flannery Spirit of Freedom Award

Michael Flannery was born in Co. Tipperary in 1902. His family was staunchly Republican with a long history of opposition to the British occupation of Ireland. Mike’s life was marked by acts of bravery, patriotism and compassion. He believed deeply in a united Ireland and had a great love for the country of his birth.

At the age of fourteen Mike joined the North Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Republican Army. Before his fifteenth birthday he took an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic and fought in the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War. Mike was captured by Free State forces and spent two years in Mountjoy Jail. He was subsequently freed in 1924.

In 1927, Mike immigrated to America. Down through the decades, Mike assisted Republican activists who sought refuge in America including Ernie O’Malley in the late twenties, Andy Cooney in the early fifties and others in the seventies and eighties.

Mike was a member of several organizations including the Tipperary Men’s Association, the Gaelic Athletic Association and Clann na Gael. In 1970, after the present phase of the struggle started, he founded the Irish Northern Aid Committee to raise money to support the dependents of Irish Political Prisoners. After returning from a visit to Ireland in 1987, Mike along with George Harrison and Joe Stynes founded Cumann na Saoirse Naisiunta  (The National Irish Freedom Committee) to carry the torch of Irish Republicanism in America.

Margaret (Pearl) Egan was born in, Co Tipperary. She was educated at the local National school and Loreto Convent, Balbriggan. She was awarded a Co. Tipperary scholarship to University College Dublin (UCD). She graduated from UCD with a degree in chemistry. After UCD she attended the University of Geneva on a traveling scholarship.

Her student years in Dublin coincided with the great revival of national feeling resulting from the Easter Rising of 1916. As a member of Cumann na mBan, Pearl was actively involved in the national movement for Irish freedom. Two of her brothers were interned in the Curragh prison camp during the Civil War, as was her husband-to-be Michael Flannery.

Later, on her departure to the U.S., Pearl was paid tribute to by ‘C’ Company of the IRA for her ’support in the most dangerous times when all were solely tested’. Pearl worked for many years as a research chemist for major chemical companies in the U.S. Pearl’s interests included literature, classical, and traditional music.

Commemorative Events

The National Irish Freedom Committee (NIFC) will plan and implement commemorations to pay tribute to courageous Americans who worked for Irish freedom and independence as well as commemorate events in Irish history and the contributions of Irish immigrants to America's independence, culture and prosperity.

Some commemorative events such as the 1916 Easter Sunday Commemoration and the Pete and Ellie Farley Commemoration will be held annually.

 Other commemorative events will be held on an ad-hoc basis. Such events may include commemorating significant event in Irish history or in American history involving Irish immigrants.

The Easter Sunday Commemoration will be held on Easter Sunday in New York. The location and program will be posted on the NIFC website and mailed to members. The program will commence with an Irish breakfast. After breakfast the Master of Ceremonies will introduce the speakers who will read the 1916 Proclamation, the Easter Statement from Ireland, and Cumann na Saoirse Easter Sunday Address. The program will conclude with a talk by Brian Mor O' Baoighill. The Pete And Ellie Farley Commemoration -

Ad-Hoc Commemorations will be held as circumstances warrant to commemorate special events in Irish history or in American history involving Irish immigrants. The location and program for these events will be posted on the NIFC website and mailed to members. These events will generally be held on a centennial, bicentennial or other significant anniversary. The program will vary depending on the type of event and the number of people participating. Breakfast or luncheons with guest speakers may be appropriate in some cases. Visits to battlefield or gravesites would be appropriate in other cases.

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