Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

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.

 The 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, Brooklyn.

 The well-attended event was MC’ed by Sandy Boyer, co-host of WBAI radio 99.5 FM’sRadio 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 past.

 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 chemist.

 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 against imperialism.

 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.

 

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National Irish Freedom Committee, P.O. Box 770549, Woodside, NY 11377

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