LAID TO REST AFTER 80 SUMMERS
30 Thousand pay final tribute to 10 volunteers executed during the War of Independence.
Ten Irish patriots who died on the gallows were honoured by 30,000 mourners yesterday.
Politicians and church leaders led the tributes to the IRA volunteers who were executed 80 years ago during the War of Independance. They defiend a day long downpour to see the tricolour-draped coffins leave Mountjoy Prison where they died. for an honourable resting place. Silence fell over O'Connell Street as the cortege drove past in a procession headed by a full military escort with motorcycle outriders. Soldiers saluted the the funeral procession and the crowds queitly applauded the men.
Sam Doyle, 67, and his friend Phil Fenlon, 73, travelled from Wexford for the short ceremony at the GPO in Dublin. Sam said: "It's too easy to just forget what these martyrs have done for this country. We take our independence for granted now, but today gives us a chance to reflect and honour their bravery."
Christine Gallagher, from Balbriggan, Co Dublin, was at the O'Connell Street ceremeny with her family. She said:"I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I travelled by bus but I would have travelled by plane if I had to. It took a long time for today to be made a reality and I hope it is of great comfort to the families of these heroes."
Patrick Healy, from Co Cork, said the massive turnout was a great tribute to the Irish people. He said:"It's a credit to the country. This funeral is 80 years overdue but it's a beautiful sight to see so many here today."
The funeral procession paused briefly outside the GPO - one of the most potent symbols of Ireland's struggle for freedom - where a lonely piper played a haunting lament. The cortege of 10 coffins and 10 mourning cars then passed through the streets to the nearby Pro-Cathedral.
Speaking at the Requiem Mass, chief celebrant Cardinal Cahal Daly told the mourners the 10 heores were famed in ballad, song and story. He said:"Kevin Barry, Thomas Wehelan, Patrick Moran, Patrick Doyle, Bernard Ryan, Frank Flood, Thomas Bryan, Thomas Traynor, Edmond Foley and Patrick Maher are recieving the dignity of a Christian burial. We think of their families , their relatives, neighbours and neighhbourhoods. These men died in the belief that their deaths would bring an independent Ireland, an Ireland of freedom and justice. An Ireland in which people would never again resort to violent means in order to secure human rights and equal opportunities for all its citizens." He added:"We do not forget that young men died also died on the British side and we commend their souls to God also."
President Mary McAleese, Taioseach Bertie Ahern, opposition leaders and members of the Oireachtas were in attendance for the biggest ever state funeral. Cardinal Daly added that a united Ireland "was a legitimate and noble ideal." But he told the congregation:"The people of this island have repudiated physical force or coercion as a means to attain it. It can be attained only by consent, not by constraint, only by creating conditions and building relationships. The true inheritors of the men and women of 1916 are those who struggle for justice and human rights and equality for all in society."
As light began to fade after the Requiem Mass, the remains of the men were taken to the the Garden of Rememberance, Parnell Square, where a minutes silence was observed. Crowds clapped as the cortege, accompanied by pallberers in full military dress, moved through North Fredrick Street to Finglas Road before arriving in Glasnevin Cemetery. Troops from the Sixth Infantry Battalion carried the coffins to a new plot beside the famous monument of Daniel O'Oconell. Tricolors were folded and presented to the family members. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern paid a moving graveside tribute to the freedom fighters and their families. He said:"We are gathered here today to honour the 10 volunteers who died on a scaffold in Mountjoy Prison in the cause of freedom and the cause of Ireland. We are here to lay there remains to rest in this soil at last with dignity and honour." The firing party from McKey Barracks, Phoenix Park, fired a volley of gunshots over the graves of the IRA volunteers. The remains of the tenth man, Patrick Haher, were brought to Ballylanders, Co Limerick, for the reburial on October 20, in accordance with this family's wishes. The families last night joined the Taoiseach and President McAleese for a reception in Dublin Castle.