Leinster Leader 21 October 1967
KILL CEREMONY A TRIBUTE TO FENIAN DEAD
“Today we have with us Dan Breen in whose person the Fenian traditions and loyalties are carried on. I can think of no more fitting person to place the wreath in memory of the Fenian dead,” stated Mr. Frank Robbins, Chairman of the Devoy Memorial Committee, at a commemoration ceremony at the John Devoy Memorial, Greenhills, Kill, on Sunday.
The occasion was to commemorate the Centenary of the Fenian Rising, 1867. Men and women of Kildare gathered to honour one of Kildare’s greatest sons, Devoy, whose birthplace is by the site of the memorial.
Mr. Robbins, a veteran of the 1916 Rising and one of Devoy’s greatest friends, said that while the Fenian Rising was an apparent failure as were so many other attempts by previous generations, each in turn gave inspiration to those who followed on. The presence of Mr. Breen was a clear indication of the continuance of the flow for national independence through the many centuries of struggle, an independence which was linked with Allen, Larkin, O’Brien, Stephens, Kickham, Luby, O’Leary, Rossa, Duffy, Devoy and the many thousands of unnamed men and women who worked loyally for the achievement of the Fenian principles.
Captain Tadhg Mac Loinsigh, secretary of the Devoy Memorial Fund Committee, who introduced the speakers, said that he took the opportunity of making an appeal to the people of Kildare for funds to complete the second part of their programme, which takes the form of a University scholarship open to any Irish citizen. He particularly mentioned the wonderful response they received from America, where most of the money so far had been collected, while the response in Kildare had been disappointing.
Sean O’Luing, author of a biography of Devoy, who delivered an oration in Irish, said that what they owed to John Devoy and his Fenians could not be measured in ordinary terms. Great poetry and prose it would take to do the Fenians justice.
“If today we possess the dignity and honour of free men it is due in no small way to the stark protest against foreign rule made in their generation by John Devoy and his colleagues, O’Donovan Rossa, Thomas Clarke, Luby, Charles Kickham, John O’Leary and James Stephens, the leading men of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Let us not forget the rank and file of that movement for out of their numbers came the Manchester Martyrs, Allan, Larkin and O’Brien, who showed in that final crisis of their lives, the idealism and profound devotion what was part of the character of the Fenian Brotherhood.
“Let us not forget either William Roantree, who has special association with this part of Ireland, for he was native of Leixlip. Well he deserves to be remembered for he was a soldier, republican, honest and straight as steel. He was happy to live and see the 1916 Rising led by his successors. Let us make up in the future for our neglect of the Fenian movement”.
After Mr. Breen had laid the wreath at the memorial, Mrs. D. McFeely laid a wreath on behalf of Kill Guild I.C.A., and Mr. Kevin Downey on behalf of Kill G.F.C.
A Guard of Honour was provided by students of the Army Apprentice School, Devoy Barracks, Naas, under Lieut. Michael Kavanagh. Members of the Old I.R.A. also provided a Guard of Honour.
Among the attendance were Mr. Liam Cosgrave, T.D., Leader of the Opposition; Mr. T. Boylan, T.D., Senator P. Malone, Col. Broy and Mr. T.J. Power, Skerries, a grand-nephew of the patriot.
Re-typed by Jennifer O’Connell