Easter Commemoration Report
Sunday March 23, 2008, Cumann Na Saoirse Náısıúnta held their annual 1916 Easter Commemoration at the graveside of Irish republican and patriot, Joe Stynes. Those in attendance braved the early morning chill at Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx, NY to pay tribute to the brave men and woman who served the Republic and to mark the 92nd Anniversary of the Easter Sunday Uprising. Brıan Mór Ó Baoıghıll was M.C. for the event. He began by welcoming all those in attendance and called upon Breandán O Broın who opened the ceremony with some patriotic tunes on the bagpipes.
Brian spoke of Joe Stynes as a veteran of the Tan War in Ireland and described how he fought on the side of Pearse’s Republic in the counter-revolution that followed. In 1923 the hostilities ceased with the order to dump arms. At this time in Ireland, the deliberate policy of the Free State made it extremely difficult for Republicans to gain meaningful employment. Like many other republicans, Mike Quill, Mike Flannery and others from that era Joe was forced to immigrate to America. Despite the many demands of raising and providing for a large family here in New York, Joe never shirked his oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic. Brian pointed out how Joe devoted so much time and effort to this end resulting in him becoming prominent leader within Clan Na Gael.
After this moving tribute, Brian Mór introduced the participants in the Clár for the remainder of the commemoration. Séamus Ó Dubhda and Maıréad Ní Thréınfhır read Forógra Na Cáisce in Gaeilge and English respectively. Seamus, a veteran Irish republican activist is a native of Co Chıarraí and is remembered for having traveled to Ireland to attend the famous 1986 Árd Fheis only to walk out with
Ó Brádaıgh and Ó Conaıll. Pádraic Mac Lıam read the Easter Statement from the Republican Movement in Ireland followed by Brıan De Bhardló who read the Cumann Na Saoirse Easter Message. In a seamless transition, Sean
Ó Coısdealbha delivered Pearse’s Oration at the Grave of Ó Donavon Rossa. Seán a well-known, talented and skilled actor gave a passionate and moving interpretation of the oration, a very special treat to all present.
Subsequently, Lıam Ó Murchú traced the significance of the unbroken links and the connection that has been made in America between the men and women of 1798,1848, the Fenian movement of the 1860’s, Clan Na Gael, of 1916 and eventually to the late Michael Flannery and Joe Stynes. He impressed upon those assembled that the succession continues to the present. Cathal MEaster
Report.htmc Eıdhır recited the poem Easter 1916 by W.B. Yeats and was followed by Maıréad Ní Dhubhda reading Fr. Pádhraıc de Brún’s famous poem, Easter 1916.
John McDonagh, host of Radıo Free Éıreann, concluded the ceremony by highlighting that the statements at this commemoration were written and read by Irish and Irish Americans. He contrasted them with those statements issued by Provisional Sinn Féin and the PIRA. It is no surprise, it has come to light their statements were crafted and edited by Tony Blair and the British Government.
Following the Commemoration, the Friends of Irish Freedom held an Easter Communion Breakfast at Kelly Ryan’s Restaurant. Mass was celebrated by former political prisoner Fr. Pat Moloney followed by a full Irish Breakfast. Ken Tierney introduced the Dais and the featured speaker, journalist and author Ed Moloney. Mr. Moloney spoke of the current issues facing the six North
East occupied counties of Ireland and the Republican movement. He gave a thought provoking talk before taking questions. Look for Ed Maloney’s new book, entitled Ian Paisley, Demagogue or Democrat? it promises to be a good read.
Easter Message 2008
We gather here today to mark the 92nd Anniversary of Easter Week, 1916. Ninety two years ago Padraig Pearse read the Proclamation from the steps of the General post office in Dublin. Those words spoken by Pearse were noted with mild interest by the few assembled on that Easter Monday, ninety two years ago. It was not until the Rising was crushed and the leaders executed, did those prophetic words touch the hearts and minds of the Irish people. When the country awoke to the meaning of Pearse’s words, it ushered in the revolutionary period of 1920/22. Since then countless thousands of people have heard the words of the Proclamation read, but how many have really taken their meaning to heart?
Irish Republicans pledge their loyalty to the All Ireland Republic proclaimed in arms Easter Week, and established two years later by the democratic majority vote of the people of Ireland in the General Election of 1918. We see today as in the past, people who pay lip service to the Republic but whose actions tell a different story. Fortunately, we have shining examples to follow the true Republican ideal. Today, we stand at the grave Joe Stynes, a truly faithful Irish Republican. Joe is a representation of many that have chosen ideal over personal advancement. Mike Flannery, George Harrison, Tom Maguire and Dan Keating all gave a life of boundless service to the cause of Irish freedom. The list of those faithful republicans is long and distinguished, from Thomas Ashe the hunger striker of 1917, to Mickey Devine in 1981, Sean Sabhat, Máire Drumm, Billy Reid, Maıréad Farrell and Dáıthí Ó Conaıll all of whom performed their patriotic duty to the last. All had the same goal: To break the connection with England.
Unfortunately, today in Ireland there will be Easter commemorations organized by those whose only interest is self-serving. They will invoke the names of Pearse, Connolly and McDonagh. They will praise the service of Lynch, Mac Curtain and O’Hanlon. Yet, their words ring hollow. They have no intention of upsetting the status quo. They have no intention of ending partition. They have no intention of smashing British rule in Ireland. Their intention is to serve themselves and their British masters. They walk the same path of Cosgrove and DeValera. They echo the sentiments of Goulding and Johnston. All are hypocritical who do a disservice to the republic that Pearse and his comrades set out to establish 92 years ago.
Padraig Pearse did not stand on the steps of the GPO and invite the monarch of England for a visit nor did he encourage Irish men and woman to join a British police force to continue the occupation of his country. No, he invoked the God given right of the Irish people to the unfettered control of their nation’s destiny.
This year also marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The ideals and life’s work of men such of
John O’ Mahony, James Fintan Lalor and James Stephens inspired the men and women of Easter Week and it continues to inspire us today. They saw the marked difference between being a citizen or a slave. As this year progresses we will continue to mark this important historic anniversary through our Fenian Graves Project. We invite all those who wish to honor these men and women and their work to join with us and assist in this endeavor.
We will also continue to advocate and promote the Éire Nua program. Contained within that program is the idealism of Fenianism, self-reliance and an active participatory citizenry. A political commentator recently said of ÉIRE NUA that: “It linked back to Pearse’s Sovereign People and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.” This visionary Irish authored program is nothing short of Irish Republicanism distilled into political formula for a peaceful New Ireland.
Ninety-two years ago the All Ireland republic was proclaimed. In closing, let us not only give our fealty to the Republic of Pearse and Connolly, but also our service.
"Our patriotism is measured not by the formula in which we declare it, but in the service which we render"-Pearse