“What kind of Ireland do we want for future generations, and how do we ensure that the legacy of Caherguillamore is properly lived out” asked County Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan during the course of his oration at the annual Caherguillamore Commemoration in Grange last Sunday.

Despite adverse weather conditions, a large crowd turned out for the annual Mass in Grange Church which was followed by a wreath laying ceremony and oration delivered by Deputy O’Donovan in the nearby cemetery. A decade of the rosary was recited by Fr. Joe Foley, C.C. while the Last Post was sounded, the National Anthem sung and the National Flag raised.

The ceremony, organised by the Seán Wall Memorial Committee, commemorates five volunteers Captain Martin Conway, Holycross, Lt. John Quinlan, Lower Grange, and volunteers, Harry Wade, Ballyneety, Dan Sheehan, Caherguillamore, and Ned Moloney, Grange, who lost their lives in the raid on a function at Caherguillamore on Sunday 27th December 1920. The men are interred in the Republican plot in Grange.

In the course of his oration Deputy O’Donovan said “we are gathered today to commemorate the memory of those whose names will forever be associated with Caherguillamore and the events that unfolded here 91 years ago, when a local voluntary group organised a dance to raise funds for the struggle of Irish freedom. The name of this place together with countless others is stitched like a thread into the conversations and discussions that surround the infant days of the birth of our nation.

In ways this generation is fortunate, because we have a chance to celebrate and commemorate the centenary of the events that lead to the fight for Irish freedom, but as we know in Ireland, commemoration is one part of looking backwards, the other being reconciliation and healing. To win the struggle is one thing, but to win the peace takes true patriotism, grit and determination, and it behoves us all on this island, to ensure that we win for ever, the peace, and that we do so as equals.”

He pointed out that we are approaching a time of many significant centenary celebrations in this country including  the birth of the Irish Labour movement in Clonmel , the outbreak of the First World War, the 1916 Rising, the end of the Great War in 1918, the War of Independence 1920.

“Just like Robert Frost in the poem, ‘The road not taken’, Ireland is now at a junction. We have been presented with a choice, to take a road of looking backwards, of seeking recriminations, of apportioning blame or we can take a road of looking forward, of building hope, of confronting problems, of working together. The second road while it sounds the most positive, is the most difficult, especially for political leaders, and is, like Robert Frost said, the road less travelled. Now more than ever, Ireland’s political leaders need to be brave, and to show the same courage as those at Caherguillamore,” the County Limerick Deputy stated.

“As we approach Easter 2016, what kind of Ireland do we want for future generations, and how do we ensure that the legacy of Caherguillamore is properly lived out. I firmly believe that an essential part of that legacy building must be the pursuit by political leaders, of common goals on behalf of Irish people. Now as in then our communities need to pool their resources, to help each other out in the spirit of Meitheal, to ensure that we can come out of our current problems, stronger and more united than ever,” he advocated.

Concluding Deputy O’Donovan said, “for those that we remember here today, and for all that gave their lives for Ireland, may the Lord have mercy on their souls, and may they rest in peace in the knowledge that their contribution is always remembered and that their legacy lives on.”