A commemoration was held in Roscrea on Sunday to honour the memory of Patrick McNamara, Patrick Russell, Fredrick Burke and Martin O’Shea who were executed by firing squad in the yard of Roscrea castle in 1923 by Free State Forces.
A large crowd turned out to march from the town car park to the gates of Roscrea Castle where a ceremony was held honouring not only the Roscrea four executed 101 years ago but also all of the volunteers who lost their lives in the early 20th century in the pursuit of Irish freedom from the Roscrea area. The roll of honour read out included over 40 women that made the ultimate sacrifice for the belief in the freedom of the Irish people. The event was hosted and organised by The Séan Tracey Roscrea SF Cumann led by their Chairman Michael Donovan.
The Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band led the march through the town with precision and perfection. MC was Cllr David Doran who introduced many independent speakers who read the names of those honoured, as well as a poem from the 1798 Irish Rebellion and a heart-warming rendition of the national anthem. One of the guest speakers on the day, Cllr Carol Nolan, read out the 1916 proclamation, a document which forms the core philosophy of the Sinn Féin movement. The main speaker on the day was Martin Ferris, Sinn Féin TD. Deputy Ferris spoke passionately about the “war crimes” committed in the Roscrea Castle yard in 1923. He also spoke about events in his own county during the same period “where 17 prisoners were put to death in three days, tied to mines and blown to pieces, by Free State forces”. He summed up his speech by stressing the vital importance of the upcoming elections and the hard work that lies ahead for Sinn Féin. Deputy Ferris said: “We would not compromise their beliefs, core philosophies or policies in order to enter government, unlike the complete abandonment of pre-election policies witnessed since the formation of the current government.”