On Sunday 12th February, the Matt Fitzpatrick Society Newtownbutler held their annual commemoration to their namesake, Commandant Matt Fitzpatrick, at his graveside in Drumalee, Co. Cavan. Now in its fourth year and with over 80 people in attendance, the commemoration continues to go from strength to strength, remaining as such an important entry in the annual calendar of the 1916 Societies.
The event was Chaired by Newtown man Eamon McPhillips and was flanked throughout by a Colour Party in period dress. Proceedings began with a reading of the Proclamation by Mary Murray, with the Wattlebridge Roll of Honour read also and in turn by Damian Johnston. Music on the day, including a Lament as the Colour Party lowered their flags, was provided by traditional musicians from the Newtownbutler area.
Wreaths were laid by the Matt Fitzpatrick Society, the Enniskillen Independent Republican Committee, the 1916 Societies and the newly-formed Aontacht group, who also provided the Colour Party. There then was a minute’s silence in memory of Ireland’s Patriot Dead, with all present standing to attention.
Following, Sean McGuigan from West Belfast gave the main oration, telling of the bravery of Matt Fitzpatrick, of his exploits in Newtown and the surrounding countryside and, ultimately, of his death at Clones following a gun battle with Crown Forces. He called on those present to be cognisant of his sacrifice and to renew their determination to achieve the Republic for which he died.
Proceedings were drawn to a close with the Chair thanking all who made the effort to attend, in particular the Colour Party – whose presence added to the dignity of the occasion – and those who provided the music.
A rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann by the musicians present concluded the commemoration.
The Matt Fitzpatrick Society again thank all who made the journey and look forward to seeing everyone again next year.