Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta / National Irish Freedom Committee held the combined Flannery Awards and annual Easter Commemoration on April 23rd.
The day began at the graveside of Joe Stynes in Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx, NY. In his youth, Joe Stynes, an IRA Volunteer, and after emigrating to New York in 1926 became a leader in Clan na Gael. In 1986, after the republican/reformist split within the Republican Movement in Ireland, Joe fully stood by the All Ireland Republic. He immediately sent words of support to Republican Sinn Fein. In 1987, Joe along with his close comrades Mike Flannery and George Harrison founded Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta/National Irish Freedom Committee.
The stirring sounds of John McManus of the Tyrone Pipe band welcomed attendees. Jane Enright laid a wreath graveside. Mairead Ni Dhubhda and Tomas Abernathy jointly read the Easter Proclamation as Gaeilge. Mary Ward of Republican Sinn Fein read the Easter Statement from the leadership of the Republican Movement in Ireland. Joseph Flaherty read the NIFC 2017 Easter message. Suzanne Heller then recited Pearse’s “Oration at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa.” Dan Sullivan read a biographical background of Col. Tomas Kelly. Sue Miskill Kramer then finished by reading the Fenian Faith by Brian Mor. Those assembled made their way a short distance to the grave of Thomas J. Kelly. Here, Liam Murphy gave brief but highly informative background to Kelly and Kelly’s link to the Manchester Martyrs, whose 150th anniversary occurs this year.
The second portion of the day’s commemoration took place at nearby restaurant, Rory Dolan’s. Maggie Trainor served as emcee and welcomed the crowd. Maggie then introduced Mary Courtney who read the 1916 Easter Proclamation. Mary Tohill Costello followed speaking on the 1916 Rising banner project. Mary Ward of Cumann na mBan and Republican Sınn Féın, Ireland, spoke of the role of women in the cause of Irish Freedom and the current issues. Mary later expertly held question and answers from those present, regarding Eire Nua, Brexit, and many other pertinent issues. Chris Fogarty’s book was given its NY launch at the event. Chris gave the background of the work and research that he and his wife Mary, put into Ireland 1845- 1850: The Perfect Holocaust. Chris autographed and talked with the many who purchased the book. The NIFC highly recommends this important book in order the help understand that pivotal period in history. To the huge delight of the attendees, young musician, Tomas Og Costello was then performed a song celebrating Easter Week 1916.
After the meal, presentations were made to the well deserving honorees. Receiving the Patrick Pearse centenary award was Tomas Abernathy. Mike Costello received the Thomas Clarke Centenary Award. Jane Enright was presented with the Michael & Pearl Flannery Spirit of Freedom Award.
The theme of the event was the role of Irish Women in the Easter Rising. Highlighting the women of 1916, NIFC produced a video displaying the names of these brave women and as it was shown those in attendance respectfully read each of the names of every woman who is known to have taken part in 1916. The video was created by Tom Costello. Peadar Mac Maghnuis then gave an update on the NIFC’s Eire Nua Committee’s work in the states. Maggie Trainor announced Radio Free Eireann host John McDonagh as the well deserving 2017 U.S. Honoree for the annual CABHAIR awards dinner to be held in Dublin this coming May.
Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta/National Irish Freedom Committee would like to thank our special guest speakers Mary Ward (Ireland) and Chris and Mary Fogarty (Chicago). A beautiful commemorative Journal was given to all who attended and to all who placed commemorative ads in the journal. The NIFC would also like to applaud all who attended, for their remembrance of 1916 and participation in the commemoration. Gratitude to the members of the NY Chapter of the 1916 Societies who attended. A very special thank you goes out to the management and staff at Rory Dolan’s, Yonkers, NY.