1991 marked the seventy fifth anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. Unlike the golden jubilee celebrations of the event in 1966, this time, because of the armed campaign by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland, the occasion passed almost unnoticed and unremembered officially in most places. It was remembered in Tipperary Town. Part of the commemoration consisted of a parade along the main street. The parade was led by an army colour party. Among the spectators looking on were an old woman and John J. Hassett, a prominent member of the Third Tipperary Brigade Old IRA Commemoration Committee. According to John the following dialogue occurred between the pair when the colour party came abreast of them.
Old woman, “Who are they Mr. Hassett?”
- J. H., “They are a colour party from the army”.
Old woman, “What army, Mr. Hassett?”
- J. H., “They’re our army, the Irish army”.
Old woman, “Oh! I’m sorry I’m confused Mr. Hassett. But you see those men are wearing the same uniform as the men who shot my brother!”
Of course she was no ordinary old woman. She was the sister of Commdt. Paddy MacDonagh, OC 4th Batt. Third Tipperary Brigade IRA. He was mortally wounded on 18 February 1923 in the Glen of Aherlow in a roundup by the Free State army. During the military sweep of the Glen that day Brig. Gen. Dinny Lacey, OC Third Tipp Bgde. IRA was killed in Ballydavid, murdered in cold blood as he tried to surrender according to one version. MacDonagh died the next day. Both officers are interred in the Republican Plot in St. Michael’s cemetery in Tipperary.
I measc na Naomh go raibh leaba acu triúr. Amen.