Éamon Ó Cuiv to deliver annual Liam Lynch oration
'The sacrifice Liam Lynch made is as relevant today as it was almost a century ago'
The memory of one of Ireland's most respected and revered patriots will be recalled at the annual national Liam Lynch commemoration ceremony in Fermoy's Kilcrumper Cemetery, Fermoy this coming Sunday.
This year's oration will be delivered by Fianna Fáil politician Éamon Ó Cuív, grandson of the party's founder and former Uachtarán na hÉireann Éamonn De Valera.
Deputy Ó Cuív has enjoyed a long and successful career in Irish politics, serving on the 19th Seanad from 1989 to 1992 when he was elected TD for Galway West.
He served as Minister for State on two occasions before being appointed to the cabinet as the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs following the 2002 general election.
He remained in that position until 2010 when he was appointed Minister for Social Protection, subsequently serving two brief terms as Minister for Defence and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
In August 2011 he succeeded, the late Brian Linehan Jnr as the Deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, resigning from the position the following February. From July 2012 to May 2016 he was the opposition spokesperson for Agriculture, Marine and Food and since then has served as the spokesperson for Rural and Community Development.
He will join a long list of high-profile figures to have addressed the event over the years including former Taosigh Jack lynch, Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowan, civil rights campaigner Fr Joe McVeigh, Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin, former senator Eoghan Harris and Senator Mark Daly.
Cllr Frank O'Flynn of the Liam Lynch National Commemoration Committee said he was delighted that Deputy Ó Cuív had accepted the invitation to deliver this year's graveside oration.
"He is a noted authority on Irish history, a respected politician and a man who has served at the highest level of government" said Cllr O'Flynn.
"He is an accomplished public speaker with an ability to draw from the lessons of the past giving them a new relevance to contemporary Irish society," he added.
Proceedings will get underway at 10.30am with mass at St Patrick's Church in Fermoy after which a parade, led by the Thomas Kent pipe Band and Liam Lynch Anglesboro Pipe Band will assemble at the close to the entrance of the cemetery.
Wreaths will then be laid at the Republican plot, the final resting place of Liam Lynch and other Republican figures including Comt Mick Fitzgerald, prior to Deputy Ó Cuív delivering his oration at 12.30pm.
Cllr O'Flynn said the passing years had not diminished the memory of General Lynch and the sacrifices he and others made for Ireland.
"While it may be more than 90 years since his death, the legacy of Liam Lynch and the sacrifice he and other patriots made for their country is as relevant today as it was almost a century ago," he said.
General Liam Lynch - a true Irish Hero
This year will mark the 94th anniversary of the death of General Liam Lynch, one of the key figures in the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Born at Barnagurraha near Mitchelstown, he is credited with playing a pivotal role in helping to organise the Irish Volunteers in Cork, serving as Commandant of the Cork No2 Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence.
Lynch was vehemently opposed to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, famously saying "we have declared for an Irish Republic, and will not live under any other law."
After initially opposing the seizure of the Four Courts in 1922, Lynch joined the garrison and was arrested by Free State forces and later released on the understanding that he would try to halt the fighting.
Instead he set about reorganising resistance, even planning the establishment of a 'Munster Republic', which he believed would hamper the development of the Free State.
Lynch was fatally wounded during a skirmish with Free State forces in the Knockmealdown Mountains on April 10, 1923 and laid to rest in Kilcrumper two days later.
His death shocked the nation and was widely regarded as one of the key motivations behind the decision by army Chief of Staff, Fran Aiken to declare a ceasefire on April 30, 1923.