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Commemoration for 1917 Mountjoy hunger strikers


THE descendants of two Clare men who took part in a hunger strike in Mountjoy prison in September 1917 will lay a wreath at a unique commemoration in Ennis this weekend.

Officers from the Irish Prison Service will take part in the ceremony marking one of the most significant events in the revolutionary period. In September 1917, 38 men including 16 from Clare, took part in the hunger strike in Mountjoy prison, changing the course of Irish history.

This Sunday’s ceremony will commence at 12 noon at the monument to the Clare Mountjoy Hunger Strikers at the Monastery Park, Cappahard, Ennis.

Mary Crawford chairperson of the Mid Clare Commemoration Committee described this weekend’s commemoration as “very significant” given the involvement of the Irish Prison Service. Governor James Kelly, Mountjoy Prison will give an address as part of the ceremony.

Ms Crawford explains that the local group were contacted by the Irish Prison Service to support the holding of the event as Mountjoy wished to commemorate the hunger strikers. “As far as I’m aware they haven’t been engaged in this type of commemoration until now so this is a very unique event,” she said.

Clare’s Republican hunger strikers were: Joseph Breen, Tiernaglohane, Cooraclare; Austin Brennan, Meelick; Michael Brennan, Meelick; Patrick Brennan, Meelick; Thomas Browne, Bank Place, Ennis; Frank Gallagher, Knockalisheen; James Griffey, Cabey’s Lane, Ennis; Hubert J. Hunt, Corofin; John Liddy, Danganelly, Cooraclare.; James Madigan, Arthur’s Row, Ennis; Thomas Marrinan, Ballyduffbeg, Inagh; William McNamara, Cathedral Place Ennis; John Minihan, Corofin; Seán (John) Murnane, Newmarket on Fergus; Michael Murray, Newmarket on Fergus; Michael O’Brien, Kilkee, Ruan; Arthur O’Donnell, Tullycrine, Labasheeda; Peter O’Loughlin, Glebe Lodge, Loughaloon, Liscannor and Francis Shinnors, Market Place, Ennis.

Among those laying wreaths at the commemoration will be Deirdre Quinn, daughter of William McNamara, and Paul Minihan son of John Minihan.

Ms Crawford added that events such as this are “hugely important” particularly for the families of those being remembered. “This recognises that their parents, grandparents or other relatives played a really pivotal role in the Irish independence struggle.

That particular group were able to establish political prisoner status while they were in prison, arising out of the hunger strike. One of that group was Thomas Ashe from Kerry who died. We can see that people suffered and this is a great tribute to those involved, and to their families.”

The 1917 Mountjoy Hunger Strike Commemoration will feature an Irish Prison Service Guard of Honour. There will be a welcome address by the Mid Clare Brigade Commemoration Committee chairperson.

As well as wreath laying on behalf of the families of the Clare hunger strikers, wreaths will also be laid by Governor James Kelly, Mountjoy Prison on behalf of The Irish Prison Service and Charles Reynolds, Chairperson Clare 22nd Battalion Association.

There will be an address by Governor James Kelly, Irish Prison Service, followed by the lowering and raising of the national flag. The Last Post and Reveille and Amhrán na bhFiann will be played before closing address by Ms Crawford. All are welcome to attend.

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