A LOCAL commemoration ceremony ended with a speech arguing that IRA volunteers who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago did not die for the kind of Ireland we have today.
At a march and wreath-laying ceremony in Castlecomer, Kathleen Funchion TD said John Hartley and Nicholas Mullins who were killed by Black and Tans in the Coolbawn Ambush did not give their lives for a country of long waiting lists to get into hospital and a system based on wealth rather than need.
“Neither did they foresee an Ireland of homeless people and an ever growing gap between those who have and those who want.”
Kathleen continued: “We all have a role to play in creating a fair and equal society. Political decisions affect almost all aspects of our lives so we have to make sure they serve the interests of the ordinary people and not only the elite.”
The ceremony was organized by the newly formed Sinn Féin Cumann for the Castlecomer and District of North Kilkenny, the Hartley-Mullins Cumann.
The well attended commemoration set off from the Square in Castlecomer and walked almost two miles to the historic monument in Coolbawn, a poignant journey as a bright sun blazed, in contrast to the dark old days of a century ago.
Kathleen thanked all involved in organizing the event which marked the supreme sacrifice of IRA Volunteers, John Hartley, Glenmore and Nicholas Mullins, Thomastown.
The volunteers were killed by the Black and Tans on June 18, 1921.
The group of volunteers was attempting to intercept a convoy of British Forces who were planning to escort explosives to a nearby mine.
However, as Kathleen pointed out, the British Forces had been tipped off by an informer, an all too regular feature in the struggle for Irish Freedom, and as a result the Tans were aware of what was taking place.
They attacked the volunteers and so Hartley and Mullins joined the long list of those who gave their lives for Ireland.
Kathleen thanked the Coolbawn Monument Committee who do such good work looking after the site on the outskirts of Castlecomer and also local Gardai who provided an escort for the marchers along the road.
Sinn Féin Councillors David Kennedy, Kilkenny and Andy Gladney, Carlow attended the commemoration.
Following the memorial, refreshments were served in the Vaults in ‘Comer.