John Devoy Memorial
Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
27 September 2014
Martin: I just want to begin by congratulating the John Devoy Committee. I was at an event last week – I heard The Druids play. They played that song that we just opened with - God Save Ireland - and that event was put on by the John Devoy Committee. Now John Devoy, if you haven't heard of him, what he meant historically - it's going to prove the point of the John Devoy Committee: that he's a forgotten hero.
When you talk about the Easter Rising – as we move towards the one hundredth anniversary of that event - that most important event in Irish history - John Devoy played a central role. He's somebody who was born in Kildare, was a former political prisoner, the British sent him to New York in the United States feeling they had gotten rid of him, that he was beyond doing anything about Ireland. And for the next fifty years he became a key figure. He played a leading role in the Easter Rising helping Pearse and Casement and others.
When the British had prisoners locked away in Australia they felt nobody could get them. But John Devoy commissioned a ship, The Catalpa - went there - rescued those prisoners in the famous Freemantle Mission. He was part of the Land Commission, part of the efforts to help Charles Stewart Parnell and again, a guiding force in American support for the Easter Rising. And when they wrote down in the Easter Proclamation of 1916, supported by our exiled children in America, John Devoy was one of the names that they must have had in mind. There was a commemoration for him last week. There is a new committee – it's headed by Mike Flood of The Kildare Society.
I would recommend – I was really pleased to attend that event. They have a lot of events going on in the next couple of years. They're trying to put a statue up to him, that'll be paid for by people in New York, the place where John Devoy spent most of his life working for Irish freedom. If you go onto John Devoy Memorial Fund – look that up on the website on the internet - you'll find a number of events - you'll see a number of phone numbers. I'd recommend and urge you to support that – I did that last week. I'm very pleased. I'm going to support their events in future. I'd urge you to do that.
He's somebody who played an important part in the fight for Irish freedom in America - as part of America's – leading America's participation there and he's somebody who deserves to be honoured and Mike Flood and his committee are doing a job to make sure that this formerly forgotten hero is not forgotten as we move towards the anniversary of Easter.