2009 Republican Commemorations
On Sunday, October 18, 2009 Cumann
Na Saoırse Náιsιúnta (CnSN), the Friends of Irish Freedom and
the Ó Donovan Rossa Society co-sponsored a commemoration
honoring several deceased Irish Republicans who remained true to
the Irish Republic as proclaimed on Easter 1916.
commemoration, which honored life-long republicans Michael and
Pearl Flannery, George Harrison and Patrick Mullin (see bios at
end of this article), was held at Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook,
well-attended event was MC’ed by Sandy Boyer, co-host of WBAI
radio 99.5 FM’s “Radio Free Éıreann” program.
Testimonials were read for the four deceased Irish patriots. The
program included a tribute to George Harrison written by Ruaırí
Ó Brádáιgh, President of Republican Sınn Féın, and presented by
George’s grandniece, Alana Harrison.
A poignant reading of Pádhraıg
Pearse‘s Oration at the Grave of Ó Donovan Rossa was
given by Michael Costelloe, father of the late John Costelloe, a
longtime Irish activist and member of Cumann Na Saoırse, who had
read Pearse’s Oration at many Republican commemorations in years
Musical entertainment was presented by Chris
Byrne, Rachel FitzGerald and Andrew Harkin of Seanchaí and
the Unity Squad and by Belfast native Ray Collins and
was enjoyed by all.
Michael, a Co. Tippera2009
Republican Commemorations.htmry native, was born
into a staunchly Republican family with a long history of
opposition to the British occupation of Ireland. At the age of
14, he joined the North Tipperary Brigade of the Irish
Republican Army and fought in the Irish War of Independence.
After the Treaty of 1922, which partitioned Ireland, Mike again
took up arms, this time against the Free State army. He was
captured and imprisoned for two years in Mountjoy Jail by Free
State forces. After his release, Mike immigrated to America
where he remained active in Irish cultural and political
organizations including the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA),
Clann na nGael, and the Tipperary Men’s Association. He was a
co-founder of Irish Northern Aid (INA). In 1982, and, as one of
the Brooklyn Five – together with George Harrison, Patrick
Mullin, Daniel Gormley and Thomas Falvey -- was acquitted of
sending arms to the IRA.
After (Provisional) Sınn Féın agreed to
support the British initiated Good Friday Agreement (GFA), which
acknowledged and accepted the British occupation of six Irish
counties, Flannery, along with George Harrison and Joe Stynes,
founded Cumann Na Saoırse Náιsιúnta (National Irish Freedom
Committee) in 1987. In founding CnSN/NIFC, the intent of the
founding members was to build an organization that would
safeguard and ensure that the traditional Republican principles
and values, as defined by Wolfe Tone, would continue to be
represented in the United States.
Margaret “Pearl” Flannery, also a Co.
Tipperary native, was raised in a strongly Republican family.
During the Civil War, Pearl’s father was the leader of the First
Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Republican Army and both of her
brothers were brigade officers who were later interned in the
Curragh prison camp along with Pearl’s future husband, Michael.
Pearl was a graduate of University College Dublin (UCD) and
Heidelberg University in Germany, was fluent in four languages
and was accomplished in the fields of literature, classical and
traditional music, in addition to her profession as a research
George Harrison, a Co. Mayo native, was a
lifelong unrepentant Fenian and a genuine human rights activist.
George never passed up a chance to stand up for the oppressed.
He and was a legend in his time. At the age of 15, he enlisted
in the East Mayo Battalion of the IRA. After emigrating to New
York, George served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He
worked for 30 years as a security guard and became active in the
labor movement as a shop steward and union organizer. One of the
acquitted “Brooklyn Five,” he proudly admitted being an IRA arms
supplier beginning in the 1950’s. George supported freedom
movements worldwide and dedicated his life to the world struggle
Patrick Mullin, a native of Co. Galway, was
a dedicated Irish Republican and a loyal friend of the Flannerys.
He emigrated to the US in his early 20’s and served in the U.S.
Army for 3 years in the 1960’s. Pat was a founding member of the
United Brooklyn Irish, a group which later became the Brooklyn
chapter of Irish Northern Aid. After the Provos and Irish
Northern Aid’s support for the Good Friday Agreement, he left
INA and helped reactivate the Friends of Irish Freedom of which
he remained an executive officer until his death.