It took months to plan but in the end a unique aspect of Liverpool Irish history was successfully re-enacted in Liverpool yesterday when hundreds marched behind a replica funeral casket that held the coffin of Irish patriot Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, on the centenary year of the original landing of his body in Liverpool.
Organised by Irish community campaigning group, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool (Liverpool Friends of Ireland), yesterdays event retraced the exact steps taken by the men of A and B Company’s of the Irish Volunteers in Liverpool in 1915, when they carried on their shoulders the funeral casket of O’Donovan Rossa from Princes Landing Stage to Nelson Dock nearly 2 miles away. The coffin escort was led at the time by Captain Frank Thornton, who along with many of the men of that day, was to later take part in the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland.
The day was made more special by the participation of members of the Irish community who dressed in period costume and replica Irish Volunteer uniforms. The participants led the parade from Holy Cross in Liverpool, an area with strong Irish connections, through Liverpool city centre to meet the replica funeral casket at Pier Head, close to the original Princes Landing Stage. In line with the statement made by Captain Frank Thornton following the landing of the funeral casket in 1915, O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral casket was then carried on the shoulders of the re-enactors on the 2 mile journey to Nelson Dock supported by the 4 flute marching bands. At Nelson’s Dock the re-enactment was ended by the playing of Amran Na bFhiann (Irish national anthem).
A function held later at St Michaels Irish Centre heard speeches from Seanna Walsh, Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor who outlined the crucial role that O’Donovan Rossa played in the fight for Irish freedom at the time and how his death and burial inspired a generation of Irish women and men to re-double their efforts to achieve Irish self-government and Irish sovereignty. Also heard was a reading delivered by local music artist Ian Prowse of the graveside oration given by the executed Easter Rising leader, Patrick Pearse during O’Donovan Rossa’s burial.
Yesterday’s successful re-enactment shows the important role that the Irish in Liverpool played in Irish political history. It also shows the entitlement of todays Irish community in Liverpool to play its part in remembrance of its history and its heroes. As the Decade of Centenaries proceeds it is important that the rights of the Irish in Liverpool and the Irish across England, Scotland and Wales to commemorate its history is respected. In the coming years, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool plans further innovative projects with community participation to commemorate and remember key Irish historical events that involved members of the Liverpool Irish community.
Press Release – JAMES LARKIN SOCIETY MARCH & RALLY 2015
The James Larkin Society will hold its Annual March through Liverpool city centre on Saturday 18th July.
James Larkin (1876-1947) was the Liverpool-born Irish Trade Union Leader, who led workers’ struggles throughout Ireland, and most famously during the Dublin 1913 Lock Out dispute. Larkin founded both the ITGWU (Irish Transport & General Workers Union) and the ICA (Irish Citizen Army). The James Larkin Society works to keep his memory and ideals alive in Liverpool, the city of his birth. 2015 marks 100 years since Larkin arrived in New York and became central to every radical event that happened in the USA.
The march on 18th July starts at 1pm from Larkin’s birthplace, Combermere Street, off Park Road, Liverpool 8. The march will be led by the Liverpool Irish Flute Band and the Liverpool Socialist Singers. lt will follow a city centre route, finishing with a Rally at the Pier Head. The Rally will be addressed by a number of Trade Union and Campaign group Speakers.
The main theme for this year’s event is ”Liverpool, The City That Dared To Fight – Remembering The Liverpool Socialist Council 1983-1987”. In the current climate of vicious austerity cuts to public services, being imposed by a Tory government, not voted for by the people of Liverpool, the message of the Liverpool Socialist Council that stood up to a similar Tory government in the 1980’s, is more relevant than ever.
The James Larkin Society believes that ‘austerity’ is a lie – designed to make the rich even richer, while public services are decimated, the NHS is privatised, and working-class people pay the price. We call on today’s Liverpool City Council, local Trade Unions, and all sections of society to follow the great recent example of the people of Greece, and Say NO to Austerity, NO to Tory cuts, and join the Fight Back.
This Thursday 22nd May 2014 see’s voting in Local Authority and European Parliament elections across the Merseyside boroughs of Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and Knowsley. Irish people across Merseyside will have a chance to vote for local candidates from a broad range of political parties.
Cairde na Eireann Liverpool has a simple message for the Irish Community: Dont vote for racists and fascist political parties or their candidates. Political parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), British National Party (BNP), National Front (NF) and the English Democrats , have in recent years on Merseyside fermented anti-Irish sentiment through their active support for street based fascist politics and at times supported direct attacks against Irish community parades in Liverpool.
Cairde na hEireann Liverpool urges a strong message be sent to these parties on election day that their message of hate and division is not something the Irish community supports and will be rejected. The Irish on Merseyside have a strong history of confronting and fighting fascism and racism. Please use your vote to send the racists and bigots packing, reject sectarianism and racism; promote diversity and tolerance.
On Saturday 7th September 2013, Liverpool’s Irish community remembered the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA). Led by 7 Republican flute marching bands from Liverpool, Scotland and Ireland, the march followed a city centre route through Liverpool with an outdoor rally in the Holy Cross area.
In this Decade of Centenaries, the formation of the ICA of trained trade unionist volunteers by Liverpool-born Irish Trade Unionist James Larkin and Jack White was established in response to attacks by Police and gangs in pay of the employers during the Dublin Lockout of 1913. Other prominent members included James Connolly, Seán O’Casey, Constance Markievicz, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. In 1916, it took part in the Easter Rising – an armed insurrection aimed at ending British rule in Ireland.
The rally was addressed by both Steve Higginson, Secretary of the Liverpool-based James Larkin Society and Sinn Fein Councillor Micheal Mac Donncha of Dublin City Council. Clr Mac Donncha is author/editor of the recently published book ‘Lockout 1913 – Austerity 2013’. In his speech to the rally Clr MacDonncha made linked the current economic climate to the conditions faced by the Dublin working class of the early 20th century and the need for the formation of the ICA as a way of defending striking workers from both Police and Scab labour. Clr Mac Donncha also highlighted the fact that the irish in Liverpool are the first community/city to recognise the ICA and the positive role in Irish community life Cairde na hEierann Liverpool plays as it remembers the decade of centenaries.
Cairde na hEireann Liverpool are proud to announce details of our next event commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA). In this Decade of Centenaries, the formation of the ICA of trained trade unionist volunteers by Liverpool-born Irish Trade Unionist James Larkin and Jack White was established in response to attacks by Police and gangs in pay of the employers during the Dublin Lockout of 1913. Other prominent members included James Connolly, Seán O’Casey, Constance Markievicz, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. In 1916, it took part in the Easter Rising – an armed insurrection aimed at ending British rule in Ireland.
The sacrifice of the women and men volunteers of the ICA will be remembered with pride and dignity, as will their struggle for workers rights and the women and men of no property. It is right that we remember them and that they inspire us all to this day.
On the 10th Anniversary of his death, please take time this week to remember 15 year old Johnny Delaney,an Irish Traveller murdered in a racist attack 28th May 2003. A beautiful short film of Johnny’s life was made afterwards and shows how loved he was. Please remember Johnny and remember all of the victims of hate crime during these times….
15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement – Personal Reflections, Legacy & Reconciliation.
Tuesday 18th June 2013 St Michaels Irish Centre Liverpool 7.15pm.
2013 marks the 15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. To mark this important occasion in Irish and British history, to celebrate its achievements and to address the issues of legacy and reconciliation, we invite you to join with us and hear from a panel of speakers representing political, Irish community and academic viewpoints.
Delighted to confirm our speakers so far for our event marking the 15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, with more speakers to still confirm:
- Francie Molloy, Member of Parliament Mid-Ulster
- Nick Taylor, Chief Executive The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace
- Dr Kevin Bean, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool
- Martin Collins, Parliamentary Officer, Federation of Irish Societies
It promises to be an informative and reflective evening of discussion and debate, hopefully we will see you there……
17TH MAY 2013
Irish community group meets with Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy
In a very positive and open discussion with the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Jane Kennedy, a delegation from Irish community group, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool (pronounced Car-ja na air-ran) raised again our serious concerns regarding attacks on Irish community parades in Liverpool. Using this year’s published report into attacks by the far-Right and Loyalists on Irish community parades/marches during 2012 (Under Pressure) and its recommendations as the basis for discussion, Cairde delegates discussed the negative impact that these attacks have upon Irish community confidence, the need for a more robust response from Merseyside Police when dealing with loyalist and fascist demonstrators using racist and sectarian language and threatening behaviour aimed towards members so the Irish community, and recent figures released to Cairde under the Freedom of Information Act detailing anti-Irish hate crimes over a four year period for Merseyside.
Cairde were pleased with the Commissioners genuine and sympathetic response to our concerns and she reaffirmed our shared view that no community on Merseyside should be subject to racist and sectarian abuse or intimidation on the scale experienced by members of the Irish community in recent times. The Commissioner also gave an undertaking that the Irish community would be involved in community consultative forums which are currently being reviewed. The Commissioner affirmed that Merseyside Police operational tactics for Irish parades/marches this year have been reviewed in light of the events of 2012 and should restore Irish community confidence.
The Cairde delegation specifically raised concerns about recent applications made under the Freedom of Information Act asking Merseyside Police to provide numbers of victims and incidents of hate crimes targeting Irish people across the Merseyside area, to include those specifically targeted as a result of either their Irish nationality or ethnicity for each year between 2009-2012. The Cairde delegation highlighted that over 20 individual reports of anti-Irish hate crime where reported to Merseyside Police from members of the Irish Community involved in parades/marches during 2012, yet figures from Merseyside Police suggest there was only 1 incident reported and contradict a previous FOI request for figures between 2011-2012 which found over 11?? Full details of these requests are available via https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/cairde_na_heireann_liverpool. The Commissioner agreed to look into this and clarify how Merseyside Police are recording anti-Irish hate crime.