With gray skies overhead and the Sean Treacy bagpipers leading the procession, the annual Thurles Easter parade marched from Parnell Street to St. Mary’s Garden of Remembrance last Easter Sunday.
Upon arrival, Thurles Town Cllr. David Doran (Sinn Fein) welcomed the crowd and promptly introduced guest speaker, former Tipperary County Board Chairman, Barry O’Brien.
Barry gave a rousing and heartfelt speech, in which he urged everyone to embrace their Republican values, rather than being ashamed of our heritage. He noted that it was more important than ever to remember the sacrifices made by Ireland’s founding fathers. “The bravery of the men and women of 1916 and onwards shaped an independent Ireland and to them must we turn for inspiration to regain what we are in danger of losing today.” Barry highlighted the following line from the Irish Proclamation: “ ‘We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible’. Nowhere in that sentence does it say EU, IMF or Troika. We must stand up and take Ireland back for Ireland and as we began by voting ‘NO’ to the household charge, so must we vote ‘NO’ to the Fiscal Treaty referendum.” Barry called on all Republicans to set 2016 as the goal for achieving an ‘Ireland for Ireland’ and pledged his assistance and solidarity.
Following Barry’s speech and a loud ovation, presentations of Tipperary Crystal were made to Barry O’Brien and John Wort (Durlas Eliogarty Committee) by Liz Flanagan, on behalf of the Thurles Easter Commemoration Committee.
Dan Harty called the Roll of Honour and Maurice Neligan read the Irish Proclamation in English and as Gaelige. Wreathes were laid at the Republican plot by Barry O’Brien on behalf of all Gaels, Emer O’Meara on behalf of Thurles Sinn Fein and Thurles Town Cllr. Jim Ryan, in memory of his grandfather, who fought in the War of Independence.
After the Last Post and Reveille, the Sean Treacy bagpipers played Amhrán na bhFiann. This concluded the Commemoration.