15 April 2020 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Michael Fisher

As the Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, said, it was an Easter like no other because of the coronavirus restrictions. Public health guidelines meant that crowds could not gather for the annual republican commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Instead, individual Sinn Féin members laid wreaths at different monuments in Co. Monaghan.

Deputy Matt Carthy recorded a video message at the 1916 memorial in the Market Square, Carrickmacross. He said the movement towards a united Ireland must continue when we get through this difficult period.

Deputy Carthy stated: “Easter is usually a time for renewal; for a time with family; for Easter eggs for the children; and maybe a break away. But this year will be an Easter like no other because of the coronavirus restrictions.

I want to commend everyone for adhering to the public health advice and to salute those who are working through this crisis: our healthcare workers; our carers; those in retail and wholesale sales sectors; our family farmers and those involved in food production; our public servants of all hues. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

Easter is an important time of year for Irish republicans especially. It was on Easter Monday in 1916 that Pádraig Pearse stood outside the GPO in Dublin and read aloud the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, an act that set in train a series of events that led to the downfall of the British Empire and inspired millions of freedom loving people all over the world. The words of the Proclamation continue to guide Irish republicans to this day.

Every year since 1916, republicans have gathered at memorials and at graveyards to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of that seminal document. Unfortunately this year we cannot gather together, but we can still commemorate.

We remember proudly all those who have given their lives in the pursuit of Irish freedom. We dedicate ourselves to the objectives for which they fought and died. This generation are in a fortunate position compared to those who came before us. We do not have to lay our lives on the line in pursuit of Irish freedom and unity. We just have to work for it.
Ireland is a great country and the Irish people are a great people. But we have yet to realise our full potential. We cannot do so until we can house and shelter all of our people. Until we can provide healthcare to everyone regardless of how much money is in their bank account, or which part of the country they live in. We cannot do this until the burden of paying for public services is shared by the ultra wealthy as well as ordinary workers and families.

We cannot possibly reach our full potential until our country is re-united and we can build the Republic proclaimed in 1916. There is much work to do. We have yet to persuade everyone. But the arguments in favour of a better, a fairer and a united Ireland are strengthening by the day and this can be seen in the growing support for Sinn Féin.

We will get through this difficult period, just as the Irish people have persevered through even tougher times in the past. And when we do, the movement towards an Ireland that is united, free, and in which equality and prosperity for all becomes the catch cry of every political decision that is made must continue. We can build a Republic that cherishes all of our children, that puts the interests of workers and families ahead of the profits of the vultures, and bankers and speculators. Be part of that endeavour. Celebrate those who fought for our freedom yesterday by working for it today.
Happy Easter. Beirigí bua.”

The 1916 monument in the Market Square, Carrickmacross, has been the venue for an annual Easter Commemoration since it was unveiled in 2016. Each year, on Easter Monday, republicans from south Monaghan gathered to hear the Proclamation being read out, a wreath being laid on behalf of those who fought for Ireland’s freedom and the lowering, and raising, of the Irish flags. There would usually be musical renditions and a special guest speaker and the event is brought to close with a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann. 

This year, however, it was a quiet occasion with Sinn Féin Cllr Noel Keelan laying the wreath on Saturday evening on behalf of all those who couldn’t gather together owing to Covid-19 restrictions. Sinn Féin took the opportunity to thank all those who are working on the frontline especially those in the health service. 

Easter is usually a busy occasion where republicans honour and remember their fallen, those who gave their lives for Irish freedom. The men and women who fought against the might of an empire and created a movement throughout the world that saw that empire fall. 

As his colleague Cllr Colm Carthy took pictures from a suitable distance, Cllr Keelan stated: “there is still work to be done as Ireland remains divided, but we will continue to highlight the advantages of reuniting our people. A United Ireland has never been closer with Brexit and the coronavirus emergency highlighting the disadvantages of two jurisdictions on the one small island. Republicans in Co. Monaghan will be to the fore in that continued campaign,” he said.

The Sinn Féin Cathaoirleach of Carrickmacross Castleblayney Municipal District, Cllr Colm Carthy, said: “we’re asking republicans to fly their tricolours from home this year and we’ll be out in force in Easter 2021 to commemorate as normal.

Due to ongoing restrictions, commemorating those who have given their lives in the cause of Irish freedom is different this year. We think of those men and women with pride nevertheless as we remember them from the safety of our homes. The 1916 Proclamation states: ‘we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.’

At Carrickmacross Civic Offices, the caretaker and groundkeeper Jim Gartlan raised the tricolour on Easter Sunday on behalf of Councillors, the Executive and Monaghan County Council staff.

During these unprecedented times, the Megan Harvey Sinn Féin cumann, Inniskeen, remembered the patriot dead. On behalf of members of the cumann, Danny Quigley and Ann Murphy Finnegan laid a wreath on Easter Saturday at the 1916 momunent in the village.

“We also remember local comrades buried in the local cemetery.

Due to social distancing restrictions and the fight against the spread of Covid-19, republicans in Co. Monaghan are unable to gather to commemorate our Patriot dead like we usually do each Easter; but we remember them from home this year and individuals are commemorating our fallen comrades safely throughout Monaghan and the rest of the country,” Sinn Féin said.

Republicans in Lisdoonan and Corduff raised their tricolours on Easter Monday in memory of those who have gone before us.
Easter is an important time in the commemoration of our Patriot dead and those who wish to see the Proclamation of Easter 1916 come to fruition still strive for its realisation. We remember them with pride, a statement said.

Paul Connor from the John Francis Green Cumann in Castleblayney laid wreaths on Easter Monday morning on behalf of the republican movement in mid-Monaghan.

Republicans remember those who gave their lives for Ireland with pride each Easter and always. Wreaths were laid at the John Francis Green memorial at Keady Cross and at the grave of Patrick Joseph McKenna, a member of the Old IRA, killed in action on September 1st 1920, aged 20. At the memorial to IRA member John Francis Green, killed in 1975 in a shooting claimed by the UVF, Ethán Smyth replaced the old rope and flag with new rope and a tricolour. At St Michael’s old graveyard in Annyalla the McEneaney cousins were also remembered.

In Scotstown, Monaghan Sinn Féin Cllr Cathy Bennett
laid a wreath on Easter Sunday at the grave of IRA member Seamus McElwain in the cemetery at Urbleshanny. He was shot dead by the SAS as he and another gunman attempted to ambush a British Army patrol near Roslea in Co. Fermanagh in April 1986.

Pic. 1 Sinn Féin Deputy Matt Carthy delivering his Easter message at the 1916 memorial in Carrickmacross

Pic. 3 Caretaker Jim Gartland hoists the tricolour outside Carrickmacross Civic Offices on behalf of the Municipal District

Pic. 2 Sinn Féin Cllr Noel Keelan lays a wreath at the Carrickmacross 1916 memorial

Pic. 4 & 5 Danny Quigley and Ann Murphy Finnegan of the Megan Harvey Sinn Féin Cumann lay wreaths in Inniskeen

Pic.6 & 7 Republicans erected tricolours at Lisdoonan and Corduff on Easter Sunday with a message of support for frontline workers
Pic. 8 The tricolour and cord were renewed by Ethán Smyth at the John Francis Green memorial outside Castleblayney
Pic. 9 Paul Connor laid a wreath at the grave of the McEneaney cousins at Annyalla
Pic. 10 Sinn Féin Cllr Cathy Bennett from Scotstown laid a wreath at the grave of IRA member Seamus McElwain at Urbleshanny

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