Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Easter Commemoration Ring 2008
The day was chaired by Noiclás Ó Griofáín, the Youghal Cork Hill Pipe Band led the crowd. The Sinn Féin Colour Party was led by Martin O’Donnell of Old Parish. The Cross of Old Piltown was sung by Máíréad Ní Chathbhuadhaigh and she also sang Amhrán na bhFiann, Wreaths were laid on behalf on West Waterford Old IRA by Frances Slattery Old Parish Chairman of the West Waterford Old IRA, a wreath was laid on behalf of the local committee, by Martin Curran Old Parish, grandson of Johnny Graves, from Ring who fought in the GPO during the 1916 Rising along with Willie Regan of Ring. The wreath on behalf of Sinn Féin was laid by Sinead Crotty Dungarvan and on behalf of Óglaigh na hÉireann by Cllr Brendan Mansfield, grandson of Mick Mansfield of Old Parish, leader of the IRA in West Waterford in the 1920’s.
The Tricolour of the West Waterford Old IRA was carried by Cristoir Kenneally of Ring and the Brigade Flag was carried by Pat Morrissey.
The last post was played by Pat Ormond of Dungarvan
The main speaker today was Martin Ferris, TD for Sinn Fein, who's no stranger to Co. Waterford. He served ten years (1984 - 1994) in prison for his involvement in the attempted importation of arms from the United States. In September 1984, the fishing vessel Valhalla, sailed from Boston, while the trawler Marita Ann, sailed from Fenit, County Kerry. Mid Atlantic, seven tons of explosives, arms and ammunition were transferred from the Valhalla to the Marita Ann. Sometime afterwards, the Irish Navy vessels LE Emer and LE Aisling along with members of the Garda Síochána detained the Marita Ann and arrested its crew. Ferris was convicted for the possession of explosive substances for unlawful purpose and for possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
In 1999 Ferris first became an elected politician when he was elected to Kerry County Council and a local town authority in Tralee. On the same day he failed to be elected to the European Parliament, however, he did receive almost 30,000 votes. Ferris was first elected to Dáil Éireann in the 2002 general election for the Kerry North constituency, In the Dáil he is currently the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture & Rural Development, as well as the Marine & Natural Resources.
Martin is a member of the Sinn Féin's Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) and part of the Sinn Féin negotiating team and participates in party delegations which meet with the Irish and British governments. He has travelled extensively in support of the peace process.
Also historian JJ Hassett from Cashel spoke.