Peace Gardens in Banada the venue for moving memorial
The newly elected Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Michael Clarke’s first official engagement was in Banada on Sunday, where he attended the unveiling of a War of Independence Memorial.
The Cathaoirleach also delivered a tribute on Linda Kearns, who served in the conflict.
In his welcome address the Cathaoirleach thanked Sean Owens and his team “for their outstanding work in bringing this major project to fruition.”
“Sean set out the reason for this Memorial in very simple terms…it is something we had to do to remind people of the sacrifices of those who went before.”
He also commended Sligo County Librarian Donal Tinney for his exemplary work on this and other major community projects over the years.
“The monument will be a place where people can inform themselves on the men and women who fought in the War of Independence and reflect on the special contribution they made.
“There is a wide catchment to the memorial, with volunteers from Sligo, Charlestown and East Mayo.
“Among them are three notable heroines, Countess Markievicz, Mary Ellen Durcan, and Linda Kearns.
“Sligo County Council is honoured to be associated with this project, it adds greatly to our font of local knowledge on the war of Independence.
“It will enlighten current and future generations about this fractured era in our history, and the personal accounts of their lives still resonate a centuryCathaoirleach Clarke.
In his tribute to Linda Kearns, the Cathaoirleach spoke of her ‘courage, spirit and resilience.
She treated the injured from both sides of the conflict during the Easter Rising in 1916.
Over the course of her life, she took part in military action, was arrested many times and even escaped from Mountjoy Jail.
But for the nursing and medical profession she will be forever recalled as a champion for better working conditions for nurses and was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal for services to nursing.
The event on Sunday saw a parade at 3pm followed by the raising of the tricolour by an Irish Army officer, a reading of the 1916 proclamation, and the singing of Amhrán na bhFiann.
A Mass was celebrated in Curry at 11.30am, celebrated by Fr Leo Henry, to pray for the souls of all the people who fought in the War of Independence between 1919 and 1921.
Sean Owens, of Banada Development Agency, whose fifteen members organised the event, said:
“It’s something that had to be done to remind us of the sacrifices of those who went before us, from 100 years ago during the War of Independence.
“There are 75 names on one memorial and there are 45 people listed on a Sligo one, and then there are three distinguished women who fought for freedom, Countess Markievicz, Linda Kearns, and Mary Ellen Durcan on another separate plaque.”
Mr Owens added: “They were all young men and women, born in the 1890s, and some of them were involved in the 1916 Rising alongside the likes of Michael Collins.
“Linda Kearns was tending the wounded in Dublin in 1916 and they all had associations with the movement at the time.
“There was Frank Carty, a commanding officer for the Tubbercurry Battalion in Co Sligo, Dr Martin Brennan, and Charlie Gildea.
“They were all people who were on the run, not sleeping in their own homes, they wouldn’t be in a house more than one night on account of raids in the middle of the night.”