Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

Kevin Barry 90th anniversary marked in Rathvilly

Republican Sinn Féin marked the 90th anniversary with a very well attended commemoration in Rathvilly Co Carlow on Sunday November 21. Republican Sinn Féin and Na Fianna Eireann colour parties led the parade to the Kevin Barry monument. The ceremony was chaired by Laura Nolan, Runaí of the Myles Shevlin/Tony Ruane Cumann, Carlow. She began by calling on Jimmy Corcoran, Carlow to lay a wreath on behalf of the Republican Movement. Kitty Hawkins, Co Kildare recited a decade of the rosary. Laura Nolan then called for a minutes silence and the dipping of the flags in memory of Kevin Barry and all who died for Irish Freedom.

The oration was given by Geraldine McNamara, Co Tipperary, who recounted the life and sacrifice of Kevin Barry: “I am honoured to have been asked to speak here today to remember Kevin Barry who was executed on November 1st 1920 in Mountjoy jail Dublin by the English invaders of our country. Kevin Barry was the first Irish republican to be executed by the British since 1916. Kevin was captured while on active service outside the entrance of Monk’s bakery in Dublin.

“Though he was born in Dublin he spent much of his life at the family home in Tombeigh, Hackettstown here in Carlow. Both sides of his family, the Barry’s and the Dowling’s came from the area here, some of his ancestors had fought in 1798 and his was a strong republican family.

“At the time of his death his eldest brother Mick was OC of the volunteers in Tombeigh and his sister Sheila was in Cumann na mBan

“Kevin attended national school here in Rathvilly for a few years before going to Belvedere College in Dublin where he was a medical student.

“For a young man he had a remarkable insight into life in Ireland at that time. He fully understood the unjustness of the continuing occupation of Ireland by the British, More especially after the elections of 1918 when Sinn Fein won an overwhelming mandate from the Irish people. He also understood the need for an Ireland where the workers were not the slaves of the likes of William Martin Murphy one of the big industrialists of the time. He believed in the power of labour and admired James Connolly greatly.

“Kevin Barry’s body was not returned to his family for burial. He was interred within the prison confines of Mountjoy jail 90 years ago this month. He was the first of what was to become know as the forgotten ten. Because Munster and a small part of Leinster was under martial law those executed there were shot as soldiers. Dublin was under civilian law and that is why those executed in Mountjoy were hanged. As the song goes “why not shoot me like a soldier, do not hang me like a dog, for I fought to free old Ireland on that bright September morn”

“We will also remember here today those nine other soldiers of Ireland who were interred in Mountjoy with Kevin Barry They are Patrick Moran, Frank Flood, Thomas Whelan, Thomas Traynor, Patrick Doyle, Thomas Bryan, Bernard Ryan, Edward Foley, and Patrick Maher. On October 14th 2001 Kevin with eight of the others was reinterred in Glasnevin cemetery Dublin. Patrick Maher was reburied in Garry Spillane in County Limerick with his family.

“Canon Waters the prison chaplain wrote to Kevin Barry’s mother with a description of his final moments. He said and I quote

“His courage was superhuman and rested I am sure, on his simple goodness and innocence of conscience, You are the mother, my dear Mrs. Barry of one of the bravest and best boys I have ever known, he went to the scaffold with the most perfect bravery, without the slightest faltering, ‘til the very last moment of his life”

“Ireland today needs to urgently listen to what was being fought for then and join in the fight again now. Our sovereignty has been continually eroded here in the 26 counties by the Leinster house administration who has continually hoodwinked the people.

“We were told during the recent Lisbon referenda that a no vote would cost jobs. Look at us now the poor relations in economic circles. We were told that our sovereignty would not be eroded. Now the IMF and the ECB have taken up residence in Dublin and we are being ruled directly from Europe. Republican Sinn Fein have always actively campaigned against the further erosion of our country’s sovereignty but sadly people voted so often out of fear, now what have you to fear but fear itself. I shouldn’t say it but we told you so.

“Only by a complete change of the system where you have a thirty two county federal republic based on sound socialist principles will Ireland ever be able to rise up out of this situation and give protection to it’s citizens not the multi national companies and bankers.

“Kevin Barry fought and died for an Ireland free from British rule, that objective still has not been obtained. We have many obstacles still today to achieving this noble goal. In Barry’s childhood we saw John Redmond’s party telling young men to join the British Army and RIC and they would all live happily ever after in a free Ireland. Sadly many listened and became the cannon fodder of the First World War. Did it bring Ireland any closer to freedom? No it did not. What it did, was condemn men like Barry which were the next generation of the time to continue the fight against British rule in our land.

“Today we have Redmonite Sinn Fein led by Gerry Adams telling our people the very same story. The nice masters are back we are told. Provo Sinn Fein tell our young people Join the PSNI/RUC, oppress your native countrymen who continue to stand against British rule in Ireland. go and fight in Afghanistan for the British but whatever you do, Don’t fight for the freedom of Ireland, Patriotism is a crime in Ireland; it is the only country in the world where you are put in jail because you believe a foreign government should not be here administering their rule.

“We are told to accept a six/ twenty six county division of our country. We are told to accept the nice British masters and their lapdogs in Leinster house. Republican Sinn Fein will never accept this; we will continue to fight for a thirty two county federal republic which is our right as Irish people. We will not join the British police or army and help them subjugate those who want a united Ireland. We leave that to the Provos.

“What we will do is continue to keep the flame of freedom alive. We will support the right to political status for our heroic prisoners in Maghaberry. From here today we send them our greetings and also our prisoners in Portlaoise. All of these men are freedom fighters and as they song goes.

“Just like Barry they are no cowards, from the foe they will not fly.”

“It is the duty of every Irish republican not just to remember the sacrifice of Kevin Barry and all those who died in the long fight for freedom

“It is our duty to continue the struggle and make that freedom a reality. There has been continuity in the fight for freedom through 1798 to 1848 on to 1916, then the 1920’s the 40’s the 50’s campaigns and on to 1969 when this campaign started, and the continuity continues today and will continue until the British withdraw from our country.

“I ask you all here today to think about this and ask yourself what more can I do to support the cause of freedom. I leave you with the last message of Kevin Barry he said and I quote.” the only message I have for anybody is hold on and stick to the republic.” Geraldine McNamara said.

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