Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Terence MacSwiney & Joe Murphy Commemorated

A commemoration to mark the 90th anniversaries of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy took place on Sunday at Pouladuff Road and the republican plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery. Both men died on hunger strike on 25th October 1920. The event was organised by the Phoenix Historical Society.

The commemoration began outside the family home of Joe Murphy on Pouladuff Road. From there it proceeded to the republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, led by the newly-formed MacSwiney/MacCurtain Republican Flute Band.

Ceremonies at the plot were chaired by Cllr Henry Cremin. He noted that while today marked the 90th anniversary of the deaths of Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy, Volunteers Michael Fitzgerald, Andy O’Sullivan, and Donnacha de Barra, who likewise died on hunger strike during the years 1920-23, also deserved to be remembered. Cllr Cremin concluded by commending the band, which although formed less than six months before has grown swiftly and had a strong turnout on the day.

Wreathes were laid on the graves of Terence MacSwiney, Donnacha DeBarra, Joe Murphy, and at the monument to all republican hunger-strikers.

The main oration was given by Cllr Chris O’Leary, who spoke of the courage and self-sacrifice shown by men like Terence MacSwiney and Joe Murphy in the most difficult of times. “When Terence MacSwiney became Lord Mayor of Cork in March 1920 his predecessor and close friend Tomás MacCurtain had just been murdered. Cork was under nightly curfew, and looting and shootings by the British army and the Black and Tans were a daily occurrence. Terence MacSwiney gave the city leadership at a time when Britain was doing its utmost to break the Irish people’s resistance, and his death on hunger strike resonated around the world.”

“Patriots like those we are commemorating today would be spinning in their graves at the actions of the political and business elite running the country. Corruption and mismanagement have not merely pushed Ireland into the worst recession in its history, but imperilled the sovereignty for which men like Joe Murphy and Terence McSwiney died. The price for the government’s disastrous economic policies is being paid by ordinary citizens, while €50 billion has been spent bailing out bankers who brought the country to its knees.”

Cllr O’Leary concluded by calling for a new spirit of patriotism and a new generation of political leadership in the country which would draw inspiration from the lives of men like Terence McSwiney and Joe Murphy and finally bring their vision of a free and independent 32-county republic to fruition.

The commemoration concluded with the playing of Amhráin na bFhiann.

Biographical Note

Joe Murphy, from Pouladuff Road in Ballyphehane, joined the Irish Volunteers in 1917 and took place in numerous actions during the War of Independence. He was arrested in July 1920 and imprisoned in Cork Jail. He subsequently went on hunger strike with a large group of prisoners included Lord Mayor of Cork Terence McSwiney. Joe Murphy died after 76 days without food on 25th October 1920 – the same day as Terence McSwiney – aged 25 years. He is buried in the republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery.

For further information contact Cllr Thomas Gould @ 087/3021551

1 comment:

  1. I would think that Joe Murphy is actually from Togher. His house , built over half a century before the Ballyphehane housing schemes were built is in Kileenreendowney West which is a townland of Togher. He also attended Togher National School and played for a Togher team - Plunkett Rovers. All of his family subsequently attended Togher National School.