By Dan Walsh
Today (December 8th) marks the centenary of the execution of Liam Mellows in Mountjoy Jail and the annual Liam Mellows Commemoration takes place next Sunday at his grave in Castletown where the centenary oration will be delivered by former Taoiseach and key architect of the Good Friday Agreement, Bertie Ahern.
The current organising committee under the Chairmanship of former Fianna Fail TD Lorcan Allen have a poignant and dignified event planned to mark this important historical event and all are welcome to attend.
The commemoration will commence with Mass at 11 am in St. Patricks Church, Castletown, followed by the commemoration ceremony at the graveside where Mr. Ahern will present the keynote address.
On a weekend of commemorations, the local committee have also arranged a talk by Jim O’Callaghan TD on Saturday, December 10th at 7.30pm in the Ashdown Park Hotel. Gorey. An interesting talk is assured, and all are welcome to attend.
Jim O’Callaghan TD and Fianna Fail Justice spokesperson has made notable and thought-provoking contributions to the high profile and warmly received Irelands Future events and recently delivered a paper on Irish reunification at Cambridge University.
Liam Mellows was an important and hugely significant republican leader, being first involved in Na Fianna Eireann in 1911. He played a leading role in the fight for freedom across the 1916 to 1922 period.
Prior to his execution of which he only received a few hours’ notice, he wrote a series of letters, primary among them was his letter to his mother Sarah (nee Jordan). In this letter he asks to be laid to rest alongside his grandparents and among his people in Castletown.
After his execution he was buried in Mountjoy, however his final wish was honoured when he was reinterred in Castletown in 1924. However, this grave remained unmarked for several years until on the initiative of his former colleagues of Fianna Eireann, a memorial committee was formed to raise funds to place a fitting memorial for this brave and splendid Gael.
This committee under the Chairmanship of local Fianna Fáil TD, Dinny Allen included Tom Brennan TD, Bob Moran, Member County Council, TD Sinnott (long standing Wexford County Manager), Michael Kirwan and Pádraig Toibín, journalist with the Enniscorthy Echo newspaper and uncle to renowned award-winning author Colm Toibín, along with representatives of the National Association of Old Fianna.
The Headstone was officially unveiled by Eamon de Valera in 1945 and fittingly marks the final resting place of this important son of Wexford who has many close relatives in the North Wexford and South Wicklow area.
It is an honour to have such an important historical figure rest in our midst.