On Sunday 15th February the Matt Fitzpatrick Society Newtownbutler, assisted by the Sean MacDiarmada Society Fermanagh, held their annual Commemoration in memory of their namesake, Commandant Matt Fitzpatrick, Oglaigh na hEireann, at his graveside in Drumalee, outside Belturbet.
Despite adverse weather conditions, on what was a wet and stormy afternoon, a strong showing of local republicans, joined by dozens from across Ireland, assembled to pay tribute and their respects to an Irish patriot who gave his life in defence of the Republic almost a century ago.
|Today's republicans honour Yesterday's republicans|
Chaired by Damian Johnston of the Matt Fitzpatrick Society, proceedings opened with a lament on the tin whistle played by John Irwin. Eamon McPhillips went on to read aloud the names of those on the Wattlebridge Company IRA Roll of Honour, with wreaths then laid on behalf of the Matt Fitzpatrick Society Newtownbutler, the Sean MacDiarmada Society Fermanagh and the Fermanagh branch of IRPWA.
Pearse McGovern of the Sean MacDiarmada Society delivered the main oration, in which he talked about the life of Matt Fitzpatrick, how he had successfully ambushed Crown Forces outside Newtownbutler and taken a Lee Enfield .303 rifle – itself on display having been purchased by the Sean MacDiarmada Society previously.
Describing how Matt had died engaging enemy forces at Clones Railway Station almost a century ago, in an event recorded in history as ‘the Clones Ambush’, he spoke of the need to retain the principles which guided his actions and to preserve them for another generation of Irish republicans who might take up the struggle of Matt Fitzpatrick and the Irish Republic.
To conclude, John Irwin brought what was a poignant, fitting commemoration to an end with a beautiful rendition of Amhrann na bhFiann, with the assembled crowd departing for Newtownbutler where tea and sandwiches were served.
The Matt Fitzpatrick Society take this opportunity to thank all who attended and assisted with the commemoration and remain determined that the cause for which Matt, as so many others like him over the years, laid down his life will not be lost to the political ambitions of those who abandoned the Republic for self-interest.
We move ahead confident the ideas and ideals of Matt Fitzpatrick remain alive and still burn within the Irish people. Together we can yet see the Republic for which he died become once more a living reality and to that end we continue to dedicate our efforts.