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Clonmult Ambush Commemoration

Clonmult Ambush Commemoration 2023 and Wreath Laying for Oglach Vincent Ryan.

Oration by John Murphy, 32 County Sovereignty Movement Cork.

"The battle of Clonmult was fought between the Irish Republican Army and British forces from Victoria Barracks, now Collins Barracks, in Cork city. Also present at the ambush site were members of the RIC and Auxiliaries.

The volunteers involved were members of the flying column of the Fourth Battalion, First Cork Brigade. This flying column was based in east Cork and was led by Commandant Diarmuid O’Hurley.

The events of that fateful day represented the biggest single loss the IRA suffered in any engagement with British Crown Forces during the War of Independence.

Twelve members of the column were killed, seven by the Auxiliaries Police after they had surrendered. Two of the eight captured were later executed.

They were:

1. Michael Desmond, aged 22

2. John Joyce, aged 22

3. Michael Hallahan, aged 22

4. James Ahern, aged 24

5. Richard Hegarty, aged 22

6. Christopher O’Sullivan, aged 27

7. David Desmond, aged 24

8. Jeremiah Ahern, aged 24

9. William Ahern, aged 26

10. Donal Dennehy, aged 22

11. James Glavin, aged 19

12. Joseph Morrisey, aged 21


Two Volunteers were later executed; Patrick O’Sullivan, aged 24 and Maurice Moore, aged 26.

Eight of the volunteers were killed after their surrender demonstrating the continued abuse of that process by the Auxiliaries set in train at Kilmichael.

Like the Clonmult Martyrs, whom we honour here today, every generation of Irish republicans have strategic autonomy in how they pursue the restoration of Ireland’s national sovereignty. We take note of history but must confront the political environment of the here and now.

In a recently published article, the first in a series entitled ‘Where Now for Irish Republicanism, the national chairperson of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement Francie Mackey said the following:

“It is twenty-five years since the Good Friday Agreement. A new generation of republicans, in their chronological prime, must now address how that struggle can progress, devoid of any experience or empathy with the twenty-five years of struggle which preceded that pact.

This crucial distinction must be at the heart of all efforts to propagate the core republican message to this new generation. A central component of this process will be a thorough understanding of our target audience and their preferences and expectations for receiving news and information.”

The post Good Friday Agreement generation will have different expectations from Irish republicans. Repeating old mantras and slogans will not capture their attention.

Our ideas must be translated into a modern format that they are now familiar with. Making republicanism relevant is now the main challenge we face.

Beir Bua!

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