Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Annual Irish Republican Commemoration 2011

By:  Dominick Bruno

Queens, NY - Irish Republicans and supporters of the Fenian Graves Association met to celebrate the National Irish Freedom Committee's Annual Irish Republican Commemoration.  The event was held on November 20th, marking the second year at the historic Fenian Monument in Calvary Cemetery.  The crowd turnout was larger than anticipated, and as the speakers took turns under a beautiful sunny sky, a strong sense of kinship and purpose was highly evident.  Maggie Trainor chaired the event with Jane Enright.  Famed artist and senior Republican in America, Brian Mór O Baoighill  & Patrick Frawley were Honorary Co-Chairs.  Speakers included Liam Murphy, Seamus O'Dubhda, Bob Bateman, Vic Sackett, Joe Flaherty, Gary Delaney, and Tom Abernethy.  John McManus of the Tyrone Pipe Band was the piper for the event.

Maggie Trainor was Master of Ceremonies and read "The Fenian Faith" on behalf of Brian Mór O Baoighill who regrettably could not be present.   Brian Mór called on attendees to remember both the history and the principles of those commemorated by the Fenian Monument.

 Liam Murphy gave an interesting and informative message on the significance of the Fenian Monument and what it represents. Liam Murphy is historian of great renown who specializes in all things Irish American. Liam in now a regular on RFE every Saturday  keeping listeners world wide aware of events of historical significance  in the current time period

Seamus O'Dubhda recited Forogra na Caisde as Gaeilge.

 Bob Bateman gave an exciting and spell binding speech about what he said were amongst the two most important events that helped change important events in Irish History in the month of November. One in Manchester on November 24th, 1867 - the execution of the Manchester Martyrs: Allen, Larkin and O'Brien.  The other in Kilmichael in West Cork on a rainy and wet day on November 28th, 1920 when Commandant General Tom Barry laid the perfect ambush, wiping out an entire patrol of Auxiliaries – proving once again to the British that serious resistance still existed.

Vic Sackett, a lifelong supporter of the Republic of 1916, read from Ruairí Ó Brádaigh's essay, "What is Irish Republicanism?", reminding all present what the ideals were that these men and women strove for.

Vic was followed by Joe Flaherty (organizer of this year's Hunger Strike Commemoration in Hartford, CT and Éire Nua activist) reading excerpts from "40 Years Of Éire Nua" by Sean Ó Brádaigh, explaining Éire Nua's continued relevance in contemporary Irish politics.

Veteran Irish Republican and long-time supporter of the demands of Irish political prisoners, Gary Delaney, read a statement from the Irish Republican Prisoners of War in Maghaberry prison, who are currently on dirty protest due to sectarian harassment of their families and deteriorating conditions in the prison.

Tomas Abernethy, noted Gaeilge speaker and scholar gave a thorough, informative, and entertaining oration on the importance of Gaelic Irish culture; past, present, and future.  The roles of cultural organizations, such as the GAA & Conradh na Gaeilge; music and song; and especially the language Gaeilge were all discussed.

An unexpected and most welcome guest was Derek Warfield (of The Young Wolfe Tones); a man who has devoted much time to researching and publishing long lost music, songs, and  history highlighting the true role of the Irish & their full-hearted support for the American revolution and in each threat to the republic since. Derek has an excellent new CD out soon entitled "Washington's Irish", keep an eye on on www.theyoungwolfetones.com for availability.

 Derek continued  his informative discussion at the Kettle, a local Restaurant that served a terrific Irish breakfast.

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The Fenian Faith

By:  Brian Mór Ó Baoıghıll

In 1915 in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin at the funeral for the returned Fenian O'Donovan Rossa, Padraig Pearse commented that something should be said before they turned away from the grave of that gallant man. He went on to deliver his immortal tribute to the fallen Fenian, "The Fools"

Now almost a century later, some very short words must be uttered. This Fenian memorial was dedicated in 1907 by the IRB - Clan na Gael to the heroes who had died in the America Civil War and to those warriors who took part in the '67 Rising. As was done in their time with the Phoenix Park executions, the fall of Parnell, and the ultimate betrayal of the Fenian faith, I don't think they would be astounded today to realize that the cancer of Revisionism once again stalks the land, attempts to obliterate the memory, and rewrite the history.

Revisionism must be reviled and Revisionists must be exposed for the running pack of Seonín dogs they are. If we, the inheritors of the Fenian faith, have one thing to achieve it is to take back the dream, rekindle the flame, and revive the damaged cause of a United Ireland.

To paraphrase the words of a Fenian ancestor of mine, Séamus Bonner, on the passing in America of another Irish hero Bellew McManus, I cannot share this final phase of the journey with you, but you have never left my mind and my heart

Resurgam!           


HALLOWED GROUND -- THE FENIAN GRAVES AT NEW YORKS CALVARY CEMETERY

Liam Ó Murchadha, do, scrí

A magnificent Celtic High Cross towers over the Fenian plot in New York’s Calvary Cemetery.  It was erected by veterans of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood (IRB) to commemorate the Irish Risings of 1865 and 1867, and of the sacrifice of the Manchester Martyrs; in 1907 these Fenian / IRB veterans chose commemorate their generation’s fight by unmistakably marking the hallowed ground in a cemetery where sleep many of their comrades, and where some in attendance at that consecration might themselves later be laid to rest.  As Pádraic Pearse observed in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery on Lá Lughnasa 1915, regarding the final resting place of the Fenian, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa: “It is a place of peace, sacred to the dead, where men should speak with all charity and restraint.”  This Fenian high cross, like the high crosses of ancient and mediaeval Ireland, is not merely ornamental, it is also meant memorialize, to instruct and to inspire.

The tragic lesson of An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger of mid-19th century Ireland during which, as John Mitchel pointed out, the English government encouraged and aggravated the Famine in Ireland, for the purpose of thinning the population - An Gorta Mór and the painful lessons of the 1848 “Young Ireland” Rising, were as instructive to the Irish as the Nazi-period and the Holocaust would later be to the Jews.  The population of Ireland was reduced by a half, with half of those gone never living to see the bright sun of Freedom, which shines upon America.

Consequent to 1848, the locus of Irish Revolutionary / Republican activity shifted from Dublin to New York.  That conspiratorial élite of Irish exiles (including: John O’Mahony, Michael Doheny and Michael Corcoran) would initiate activities which would bring about the formation of the 69th Regiment of New York, and other American militia units, not only to be ready to defend the Liberty of the land which had given them refuge, but also to prepare a cadre to assist in the future liberation of Ireland.  These men, among Ireland’s exiled children in America, would cause the formation of the IRB / the Fenian Brotherhood, which ultimately would organize the Irish Volunteers of the 20th century, and summon the nation to rise up and strike for freedom in the 1916 Easter Rising, which, in turn, led to the formation of Oglaigh na hÉireann, the IRA.

In a close spiritual communion with our Fenian dead, and with the still militant believers in the Fenian Faith, we continue to pledge to Ireland our love.  We are mindful of the example and of the words of Theobald Wolfe Tone in 1798, of the necessity “to break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence” of All Ireland - Ireland, as Pearse taught, and as we would surely have her, Níl Saor amháin, acht Gaolach; Níl Gaolach amháin, acht Saor - “Not Free merely, but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but Free as well.”  Like those who erected this high cross we further pledge to continue to work in the cause of Irish Freedom

 Mindful of the Tradition entrusted to us, exemplified by this high cross guarding these Fenian Graves, we should again cite Pearse,  “… we know only one definition of freedom, it is Tone’s definition; it is Mitchel’s definition; it is Rossa’s definition.   

Let no man blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and their definition.” 

 On this Feast of Christ the King, we should remember that Christ is the only king before whom any Irish knee should bend.  [Fenian Memorial, Sunday, 20th November 2011] ###   

 


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