Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Irish Republicans Reclaim Fenian Monument at Calvary Cemetery

“Not Free merely, but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but Free as well” – this was how Pádraic Pearse summed up the simple patriotism of the Fenian, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, when he spoke at his graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin in 1915.  This is Ireland, as we would surely have her.

A number of Ireland’s exiled children in America gathered at the Fenian plot, marked by an imposing Celtic Cross, in New York’s Calvary Cemetery, on the chilly Saturday morning of 26th March 2011, the observance of Saint Sinell of Killeagh (Leinster) in Ireland.  As Pearse observed regarding the final resting place of O’Donovan Rossa: It is a place of peace, sacred to the dead, where men should speak with all charity and restraint. 

Yet those apostates who have abandoned the cause of the Irish nation, accepting titles and offices from the very German usurpers, or from their Parliamentary co-perpetrators, in London, under whose auspices the Irish people have suffered so grievously economic exploitation, political repression, and cultural, and sometimes physical, genocide over the centuries, would mendaciously, and shamelessly, using this hallowed ground, and this high cross, seek to cloak themselves in the mantle of Irish Revolutionary Republican symbolism, seeking, as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, to fool some of the people, all of the time…(or, at least at election, and at fund-raising, times).

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?  Mark 8:36 – but to be Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead!?

The purpose of the 26th March gathering of true believers in the Irish Republic, proclaimed in arms during Easter Week 1916, ratified by the Irish electorate in 1918, and promulgated to a candid world by the First Dáil Éireann in the Irish Declaration of Independence, 21st January 1919, was to renew their Fenian baptismal vows, and, in so doing, to re-consecrate those graves of men who never compromised their Fenian Faith, those Fenian graves. 

The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read.  The tragic lessons 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, for the purpose of thinning the population, and 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 cause the formation of the 69th Regiment of New York, and other American militia units, to prepare a cadre to assist in the future liberation of Ireland, and would cause the formation of the IRB, which ultimately would organize the Irish Volunteers of the 20th century and the 1916 Easter Rising, and Oglaigh na hÉireann, the IRA.

In a close spiritual communion with our Fenian dead, and with the still militant believers in the Fenian Faith, they pledged to Ireland their love, and further pledged to continue to work in the cause of Irish freedom.  In conclusion, citing Pearse, those present were reminded: “… 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.”   ###

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