Lá gréine cuid mhaith den ama ach sách fuar. Sunny most of the day but cold enough.
We had Orla, Bróna, Diarmuid and Sean on the foireann (team) today with some Socialist Republican lads, on their way to another event, giving us a hand distributing leaflets for a while.
It was a day for meeting a number of people related or otherwise connected to 1916 Rising fighters. Among those was a young man, whose name we neglected to get (though he signed the petition) – his girlfriend, he told us, is related to Séumas Robinson, a famous guerrilla fighter. Séamus joined the Fianna in Ireland and after relocating to Glasgow, joined the Irish Volunteers and the IRB there in 1913 he fought in the Rising, being part of the GPO garrison but stationed in an outpost building on the other side of the street.
On Thursday of Easter Week as both sides of O’Connell (then Sackville) Street from Nelson’s Pillar all the way down to the Liffey were either on fire or in ruins from British Artillery, Robinson led his squad across to the GPO and was therefore in the evacuation the following day into Moore Street. After the surrender there Séumas was sentenced to death but as with most such sentences was commuted to life in jail but was released in the Christmas Amnesty of 1916.
Robinson was a member of the IRA during the War of Independence (1919-1921) in Tipperary and took part in some famous engagements, being also elected to Leinster House in 1921 on a Sinn Féin ticket and took the Anti-Treaty side in the Civil War (or Counterrevolution as it is becoming increasingly known).
Another person with a 1916 fighter connection – but in her case TWO – we met today was Gillian Debey. Her relations were in the Dublin Fire Brigade, Pearse (then Great Brunswick) Street and took time off work to fight in the Rising. Gillian posed for a solidarity portrait with Mark Yates, who was very interested in the history and with Adam Murtagh.
We directed a number of people to the O’Rahilly Monument again this week as we have long been doing.
At a request from the USA, we also shot a short video describing the history of the market, the 1916 battleground, the conservation campaign, to round it off with the singing of Sergeant William Bailey, an anti-recruitment song by Peadar Kearney (with two new verses added). Kearney is also the composer of The Soldiers’ Song, Down by the Glenside and a number of other songs.
Peadar Kearney fought in the Rising in the Jacob’s Factory Garrison and avoided capture, fought again in the War of Independence and took the Treaty side at the end, apparently out of personal loyalty to Michael Collins (who, while a minor officer, had been in the GPO Garrison in 1916). Kearney lost faith in the Free State after Collin’s death. We will post the video at some point in the future.
The verdict of An Bord Pleanála on the appeals against two Hammerson planning applications approved by DCC’s Planning Department is still awaited and not expected until probably June; the third Hammerson application still awaits DCC’s decision.
The official signpost to the O’Rahilly Monument is still missing – it was only in place for a few weeks after four years of promises. Why not contact the Council and ask them when they are going to replace it?
As usual, the main way to support us and the campaign is to publicise it, in particular through your social media.