On Sunday 29th November, as part of their initiative to commemorate the men and women from Westmeath who gave their lives in defence of the All-Ireland Republic proclaimed on Easter Week 1916, the Spirit of Irish Freedom Society Westmeath held a commemoration at Boher Cemetery in Streamstown to honour IRA Volunteer Seamus Finn, who was killed in action at Auburn, Athlone in November 1920.
The day’s proceedings were Chaired by Alan McCabe from the North Westmeath Dermody/Leavy Cumann, who welcomed everyone to the commemoration and outlined the Society’s pride in honouring those who stood to defend the Republic proclaimed during the 1916 Rising.
Firstly he introduced Paul Scannell, National Organiser of the 1916 Societies, who read the 1916 Proclamation, with Richie Woods of the recently formed Thomas Behan Society Kildare then reading the Westmeath IRA Roll of Honour. Gerry Farrell of the South Westmeath Sloane/Tormey Cumann then laid a wreath at the grave of Seamus Finn on behalf of the Spirit of Irish Freedom Society. There then was a minutes silence with a lowering of the National Flag.
Peter Rogers of the Dermody/Leavy Cumann then gave a brief history of the Auburn ambush, that took place on 2nd November 1920 on the main Athlone to Ballymahon road, telling how Company Captain Seamus Finn, from Killeenbrack in Killare, lost his life while engaging Crown Forces that fateful day. He was just 20 years old. As they travelled along the road to Athlone, two lorry load of RIC and Tans came under gun and grenade attack at Auburn from up to twenty-five Volunteers from the Ballymore, Drumraney and Tang Companies. Seamus Finn and a Tan by the name of Larken were killed in the incident.
In conclusion, Alan McCabe thanked all who had braved the bad weather to be present for the ceremony. He sent greetings from the 1916 Societies to all Republican Prisoners held in Irish and British prisons in the run up to Christmas, emphasising the importance of remembering this pivotal aspect of our struggle, which itself remains to restore the All-Ireland Republic for which Volunteer Seamus Finn paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The ceremony ended with all present singing Amhán na bhFiann.