Friday 9 December 2016

Recognition 'too late' for author of anthem

Martin Grant

Published 11/05/2016 | 02:30

Having dedicated his early life to the struggle for independence, Peadar Kearney, pictured, spent the years after independence in relative poverty and ill-health, said his grandson Professor Colbert Kearney
Having dedicated his early life to the struggle for independence, Peadar Kearney, pictured, spent the years after independence in relative poverty and ill-health, said his grandson Professor Colbert Kearney

The composer of the Irish national anthem received recognition too late, according to his grandson.

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Professor Colbert Kearney, whose grandfather Peadar Kearney wrote the lyrics to 'Amhrán na bhFiann', says that his relatives cannot help regretting that public acknowledgment came so late.

Although a ceremony has been held on Easter Sunday in recent years with government dignitaries, Prof Kearney believes his grandfather received little honour.

"Having dedicated his early life to the struggle for independence, Peadar Kearney spent the years after independence in relative poverty and ill-health," said Prof Kearney.

Paltry

"He received a paltry pension for his military contribution and had to campaign for almost 10 years to have the de facto national anthem given de jure status in 1934."

The University College Cork professor said that his grandfather was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and sought to leave no trace of his "subversive activities", and also suffered from depression.

"Despite this, there is sufficient evidence to show that he was close to Tom Clarke and Sean McDermott in the preparations for 1916, and to Michael Collins in the War of Independence," he said.

Prof Kearney will deliver a public lecture called 'Peadar Kearney - A Soldier's Song' in UCC tonight at 6pm.

The lecture is part of the university's Rising series.

Irish Independent

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