by ehistoryadmin on November 30, 2021

Leinster Leader 24 August 1940



At Suncroft on Sunday, a handsome memorial plaque, erected by the National Graves Association (Co. Kildare Section) to the memory of Volunteer Leo Dowling, I.R.A., a Suncroft man who, at the age of 18, was executed at Kilmainham on January 8th, 1923, was unveiled before a very large gathering.

The proceedings opened with a decade of the Rosary, recited in Irish by Padraig Cosgrove, who subsequently introduced Sean Fitzpatrick, Dublin (General Secretary, National Graves Association) who delivered the oration.

Sean Fitzpatrick said they were gathered to do honour to the memory of Vol. Leo Dowling, and to pay tribute to the steadfast character of that illustrious soldier of the Republic. Leo Dowling’s short life had been devoted to the cause of Ireland. He had joined the Fianna in the first flush of his youth. When the unfortunate spilt in Republican ranks occurred, he served for a brief period with the Army of the Free State, but he soon found where his true allegiance lay and rejoined the ranks of the Irish Republican Army. Leo Dowling did not take that step without much serious thought and deep consideration. He was a splendid soldier and a crack shot and known as one who would never ask a man to do that which he himself was not prepared to do. He was in the forefront of the struggle ever eager for the post of danger and fought bravely until his capture and execution on January 8th, 1923, at the age of 18. In his last letter to his parents, written on the eve of his execution, he begged them not to fret, as he was content to die for the Republic and all he asked was their prayers.

The speaker said that the Executive of the National Graves Association were anxious that further branches of the Association should be formed in the countries. Much work had been done, but there remained a great deal more to do. In that connection, he wished on behalf of the Executive, to heartily thank County Kildare for the work done by the branches in that county. In addition to the memorial unveiled that day, the following memorials had already been erected in Co. Kildare – to Vol. Bergin, at Milltown; to Vol. Sheppard, at Monasterevin; to Comdt. T. Behan, at Rathangan; to Vol. Reilly, at Celbridge; to Vol. Brady, at Droichead Nua and at the Republican Plots at Naas and Kildare.

The speaker added that he wished it to be known that permission for the erection of this Suncroft memorial to Volunteer Dowling had been obtained from the Co. Kildare Board of Health and from the Parish Priest, Suncroft.

In conclusion, he regretted that Mr. Dom Collins, Chairman of the Co Kildare branch of the National Graves Association, was not able to be present that day. Mr. Collins, he said, was absent through no fault of his own.

Mr. Fitzpatrick then unveiled the Memorial by removing the tri-colour by which it had hitherto been draped.

At the request of Padraig Cosgrove, a minute’s silence was then observed by all present.

Those on the platform included Eamonn O’Madhrain (Chairman, Suncroft branch, Old I.R.A.), Michael Sheehan (Secretary, Droichead Nua branch, National Graves Association), and John and Michael Dowling, uncles of the late Volunteer Leo Dowling.

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