MONAGHAN ARMY MEMORIAL

Defence Forces memorial at the former Monaghan military barracks site

Corporal Ernie Carter was like myself a Dubliner who lived in Tydavnet. He was one of the original members of the 29th Infantry Battalion Association in Monaghan.

One of the wreaths from the 29th Infantry Battalion Association

One of his tasks as Secretary of the Association was to help organise a memorial stone at the site of the former military barracks (now the education campus) beside the Garage Theatre on the Armagh Road.

Colour party at the memorial stone

He died in June last year. The third annual commemoration took place this afternoon, with prayers led by a former army chaplain from Co. Cavan. I was asked to read out the poem for veterans ‘A Soldier’.

Michael Fisher reads the poem ‘A Soldier’. Pic. © Denis Barry

There were 79 names of the deceased listed on a framed sheet beside the memorial. They were soldiers who served in Dún Uí Neill Cavan, the Tanagh outpost in Cootehill and the barracks in Monaghan. We will remember them. REST IN PEACE.

The names of the deceased from 29th Infantry Battalion

Paying respect to deceased members of the 29th Infantry Battalion

Standing to attention during the ceremony

One of the wreaths laid by Denis Barry

Paying respect at the memorial stone

PRIVATE ROBERT HAMILTON

Name of Hamilton R. (Private) on panel 141 at Tyne Cot memorial. Our group visited the CWGC cemetery on July 25th 2019.

Pointing to the name of Pte Robert Hamilton

The panel with names of soldiers from the Royal Irish Fusiliers

Our group at the Tyne Cot Memorial following a short prayer service led by Canon Andrea Wills (Foxford)

Placing a cross at the Tyne Cot Memorial in memory of Pte Robert Hamilton of Ballinode

Private Robert Hamilton enlisted in Monaghan town in the Royal Irish Fusiliers (the ‘Faugh-a-Ballaghs’) when a recruitment party came to town in March 1915. He fought at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and was invalided at some stage so he would have returned home to Kilmore East. He left Ballinode on Easter Saturday at the end of March 1918 and returned to his unit on the western front in France, only to be killed in action three weeks later.

Private Robert Hamilton picture from The Northern Standard April 1918
There is also a plaque in his memory in St Dympna’s Church of Ireland church, Ballinode which has provided the springboard for a talk I gave to Tydavnet Historical Society on Friday 21st November 2014 in Ballinode. The talk would not have been possible without the research and interest shown by Marie McKenna and two distant Hamilton relations Ruby Heasty and Heather Stirratt and I acknowledge their assistance.

Plaque in St Dympna’s Church of Ireland Church, Ballinode, Co. Monaghan

PTE THOMAS HUGHES VC

Private Thomas Hughes of the 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers was born in Corravoo, Castleblayney, in 1885. He was 29 when the Great War began. He was awarded the V.C. for actions at Guillemont in France during the Battle of the Somme on 3rd September 1916. Plaques at the Catholic church in Guillemont commemorate him and two other holders of the Victoria Cross. Our group visited the church on the third day of our visit to World War One sites.

The citation read: “For most conspicuous bravery and determination. He was wounded in an attack but returned at once to the firing line after having his wounds dressed. Later seeing a hostile machine gun, he dashed out in front of his company, shot the gunner and single handedly captured the gun. Though again wounded, he brought back three prisoners”.

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King George V presents Pte Hughes with his VC in Hyde Park in 1917

Walking with the aid of crutches, Hughes was personally awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V at an investiture at Hyde Park in London on 2nd June 1917. He also received the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. Hughes was later promoted to the rank of Corporal. It was his custom each year to attend the Armistice Day ceremony at the Cenotaph in London. When he returned to Ireland, it was a very different country to the one he had left. Soldiers who had gone to fight in the British cause were often shunned and their exploits were largely forgotten.

Thomas Hughes died on 8th January 1942, aged 56, and is buried in the cemetery at St Patrick’s Church, Broomfield. His Victoria Cross medal is held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea in London.

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Grave of Pte Hughes in Broomfield, Co. Monaghan Pic. Monaghan Heritage

Speaking at the unveiling of a blue plaque memorial for Pte Hughes in Castleblayney in February 2017, Minister Heather Humphreys said she had travelled to Thiepval and Guillemont in July and September in 2016, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, and to remember the many Irish men who died there from the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division. In the small, beautiful church in Guillemont, a tiny village in Northern France, she saw the plaques on the wall in honour of Thomas Hughes.

Hughes is one of 27 Irish holders of the Victoria Cross for whom the British government arranged a paving stone to be placed at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, paid for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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Stone for Pte Hughes VC unveiled at Glasnevin

Despite the romance sometimes portrayed in newspaper columns such as the Northern Standard, recruitment to the British Army remained very low for the county for the entire war. By October 1916 only 738 men from County Monaghan had answered the call to enlist, the majority being Protestants (although they represented approximately one-fifth of the population at the time). Slow recruitment was blamed several times on the prominence of agriculture in the county, with the farming classes accused of not wanting to go to war because they were prospering financially.

In total around 2,500 Monaghan men served in the Great War. There were notable contributions from some families. Seven Roberts brothers from Killybreen in Errigal Truagh all joined the British army at different stages. Seven sons of Sir Thomas Crawford of Newbliss served, and three of these were decorated for gallantry. Four Steenson brothers from Glaslough joined up and two were killed. In all, nearly 540 Monaghan men were killed in the war, about half of them Protestant and half Catholic.

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Blue plaque in Castleblayney for Private Thomas Hughes VC

The unveiling of the Ulster History Circle blue plaque for Private Hughes in Castleblayney was attended by his niece Josephine (Hughes) Sharkey from Dundalk, and her daughter Siobhan. Other relatives included PJ McDonnell, (originally from Broomfield), Chair of the Monaghan Association in Dublin. His father’s mother and the mother of Thomas Hughes were sisters. Other relations came from the Donaghmoyne area, including Ann Christy, a grand niece, Brian Conway from Castleblayney, Pauline McGeough (Broomfield), Rosemary Hughes-Merry (Castleblayney), Angela McBride from Carrickmacross and a distant cousin, Frank Hughes, originally from Laragh.

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Niece of Pte Hughes, Josephine Sharkey from Dundalk, with his portrait

The attendance included former members of the Irish Defence Forces from the Blayney Sluagh group, representatives of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the regimental museum in Enniskillen, members of the Lisbellaw and south Fermanagh WW1 Society (who also visited the grave of Private Hughes), and the curator of Monaghan County Museum, Liam Bradley, who had organised a number of events for the 1916 Somme centenary.

Siobhan (Hughes) Sharkey read a poem which had been specially composed for the occasion of the presentation of the Victoria Cross to Private Hughes in 1917. On his return to Castleblayney, the urban district council with Lord Francis Hope arranged an address of welcome for Hughes to celebrate his bravery on winning the “coveted trophy which is emblematical of the highest bravery on the battlefield”. Local dispensary Dr J.P. Clarke said it was with great pleasure he read in the press of the coveted decoration “being pinned to the breast of our hero.” He did not know whether it was time for poetry or not, but anyhow he could recite them a few lines he had composed for the occasion (in Castleblayney in 1917)…

POEM: THOMAS HUGHES V.C.

Before the Kaiser’s war began with frightfulness untold,

How many a peaceful hero worked in many a peaceful fold,

How many a valiant soldier strove to keep the home fires bright,

How saddened skies weep over their graves in pity through the night.

From Suvla Bay to doomed Ostend, from Jutland to Bordeaux,

They fought and bled and died to save these countries from the foe;

In Flanders, France and Belgium, from Seine to Grecian shore,

Brave were the deeds and bright the hopes of boys we’ll see no more.

‘Mongst them times forty thousand men picked out from Ireland’s sons,

Who went to fight the Austrians, the Bulgars, Turks and Huns,

How few returned with due reward their valour to repay,

But Thomas Hughes of Corravoo, V.C., is here to-day.

A Blayney man whose noble deeds uphold our country’s pride,

Who saved his comrades, took the gun, cast thought of self aside,

And changed defeat to victory in blood-soaked trenches when,

He ranked with bravest of the brave — the Connaught Rangers men.

Tom Hughes was reared where sun at dawn makes shadows lightly fall,

Across Fincarn’s ancient hill so sacred to us all;

For there tradition tells an Irish hero proudly rests,

Strong Finn McCool, the warrior, enshrined in Irish breasts,

Near by the road in Lackafin, beside lone Corravoo,

Remains of Irish chiefs are found in cromlech plain to view,

Among these scenes his youth was passed, no recreant was he,

For when his chance to fight arrived he well won his V.C.

He faced grim death while all around like Autumn leaves men fell,

He fought good fight and gained the day despite the raging hell

Of bullets, bayonets, shrapnel, Jack Johnson’s gas set free.

Now raise three cheers, and three times three, for Thomas Hughes V.C.!”

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Unveiling of plaque in Castleblayney by Minister Heather Humphreys TD (right) and relatives of Pte Hughes VC

INTERCONNECTOR TIMELINE

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High voltage line electricity pylon  Pic. Michael Fisher

Plan for second interconnector goes back 14 years
Line has been designated by EU as one of 195 key energy infrastructure projects

Michael Fisher  THE IRISH TIMES

Nearly 18 months ago EirGrid applied to build a high-capacity electricity interconnector between Dublin and Tyrone, the second between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
The proposed line stretches over approximately 135km, linking the existing transmission networks in both jurisdictions between an existing substation in Woodland, Co Meath, and one planned for Turleenan in Co Tyrone.

In the Republic the development, now approved by An Bord Pleanála, will pass through Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, requiring 299 steel lattice-style pylons, ranging from 26m to 51m in height, linked to an existing pylon line.
The line has been designated by the European Commission as one of 195 key energy infrastructure projects across the EU that have been dubbed as projects of common interest. Such projects, the Commission says, “are essential for completing the European internal energy market, and for reaching the EU’s energy policy objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy”.

The decision by An Bord Pleanála–- one that has come with conditions – followed a second oral hearing in a Carrickmacross hotel in Co Monaghan. It lasted 12 weeks, and was one of the longest such public inquiries in the State’s history. The plan for a second interconnector between the Republic and Northern Ireland goes back 14 years when an initial feasibility study was carried out on the possibility of building a 220KV line between Tyrone and Dublin.

However, as the peace process bedded down, plans became more ambitious, and a further North/South study was carried out in 2005, which this time investigated the potential and the need for a 275KV line. A year later the cross-Border interconnector that had been shut down during the Troubles following a bomb attack on pylons near Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, was finally restored.
Information days
Meanwhile, approval was given for planning for a second line – one that had now grown to a 400KV plan – which saw EirGrid hold information open days in Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. It launched an information telephone and email service in October 2007, though two years passed before it submitted a planning application to An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.

Following a statutory consultation period, an oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála began in Carrickmacross in May 2010. However, it was brought to a sudden end within weeks, and Eirgrid withdrew the application.
The late Fine Gael councillor Owen Bannigan had revealed an error in EirGrid’s plans in the stated height of the proposed electricity pylons that would run across Monaghan on the 21st day of the oral hearing.
Two years later, Eirgrid’s then newly-appointed chief executive Fintan Slye told agendaNI magazine that a second North/South interconnector was “absolutely critical” for Northern Ireland’s future security of supply. In November 2014, EirGrid submitted its draft application file to Bord Pleanála for review. Four months later EirGrid republished its proposed line route, one that would form the basis of its planning application.
Alignment
The route plan followed a review of the December 2013 line design. The review resulted in some of the proposed tower locations being repositioned along the alignment, but the alignment itself was not changed. By June 2015, EirGrid was ready to place a public planning notice in newspapers, followed by the submission of an application shortly afterwards to the Strategic Infrastructure Division of An Bord Pleanála.
Ten weeks of public consultation followed, one that prompted 900 replies. Last January, Eirgrid offered to meet people in their homes or at one of their information offices or elsewhere to discuss their concerns.Throughout campaign groups in Monaghan and Meath have criticised the consultation, but most particularly EirGrid’s “insufficient attention” to alternatives.

Localised impacts
“In England they’re pulling down pylons; in Ireland we’re putting them up,” said one Meath resident. The final ruling from Bord Pleanála runs to 615 pages. In its conclusions the planning authority declares that it recognised that the pylons’ plan would “result in a limited number of localised impacts”. However, “having regard to the identified strategic need for the development”, the plan is in accordance with planning rules “subject to compliance with the mitigation measures” that the planning appeals board has laid down.

CARER OF THE YEAR

CARRICKMACROSS TALENTS AND SERVICES REWARDED

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 8th December

Over the past fortnight the achievements of Carrickmacross people, businesses and services have received recognition at national level. A local lady Leona Goodman was named as Carer of the Year by a home care company. A local dental team led by Dr Bernie Fee was in the finals for best dental practice in Ireland. University entrance awards and scholarships were presented to some local students. A local business Celtic Pure from Corcreagh founded by Pauric and Pauline McEneaney received another gold medal in London for its sparkling water. Each has a success story to tell and congratulations goes out to all of them.

LEONA GOODMAN NAMED AS CARER OF THE YEAR

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 8th December

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(L-R) Bríd Gould, MD Comfort Keepers, Carer of the Year Leona Goodman from Carrickmacross and Marty Morrissey, RTÉ, who presented the award.

When Marty Morrissey called Leona Goodman to the stage at the Croke Park conference centre in Dublin recently, she says she was left temporarily speechless. The Carrickmacross woman had been named as Carer of the Year in a national competition run by home care providers Comfort Keepers. She received the award in recognition of her work with older people in Monaghan, Cavan and North Meath. She was ranked highest among the 1500 carers employed by the company. At the same event Rosanna Martin from Ballybay was crowned the company’s Employee of the Year.

Leona told the Northern Standard the award came as a total shock. She was “very touched and overwhelmed” when her name was called out. The award was handed to her in the presence of her two daughters, Kelsey and Laura.

Leona lives in Magheraboy on the outskirts of Carrickmacross and is a former pupil of St Louis National School and Secondary School. Her husband Brendan hails from Killanny and is a carpenter working in England, who will return home shortly for Christmas. They were married in New York where they spent four years before returning to Ireland. For many years Leona worked in the Post Office when it was situated at Main Street in Carrickmacross.

She has been working as a carer for some fifteen years, the last two with Comfort Keepers, based in Ardee. She said she loves her job, which brings her into contact with between four and six clients daily within a fifteen miles radius of Carrick, including Corduff, Lisdoonan and Inniskeen.

There are seven other carers in the same team and Leona was anxious that they all got a mention: Charlie, Carla, Lola, Rosemary, Mary, Martina and Geraldine. All providing care to elderly people in the area that enables them to stay in their own homes. The carer is sometimes the person who enables these people (aged between 75 and over 90) to remain in touch with the local community and what’s happening in the outside world, according to Leona.

“Leona has won the hearts of the people she cares for and the colleagues she works with,” said Bríd Gould, Managing Director of Comfort Keepers. “She’s a woman who truly believes in the value of care and is a strong advocate within the caring industry. She doesn’t just believe that her clients need the best care she can provide, but she also believes in the value and knowledge her clients bring into her life.”

Since 2005, Comfort Keepers has been helping people in Ireland and has always sought to ensure that all of its work practices exceed the expectations of both the state and those cared for. It remains unique in being the only home care provider to have been awarded the Q Mark, ISO9001, and Healthmark accreditations for the quality of care and the systems used to support its delivery.

“This is the sixth time we have run these awards,” Bríd Gould continued. “The reason we keep doing it is that our people keep doing the extraordinary. So extraordinary that their colleagues, clients and managers just have to nominate them. So my personal congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to all of our regional winners”, she said.

All of Comfort Keepers’ carers are insured, monitored and are required to undergo Garda vetting. The firm provides ongoing support during their training and in their day-to-day roles.  Staff in the management team come from a nursing or social care background to ensure superior care is provided to customers.

 

 

 

 

 

KILLEEVAN GAA HISTORY

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF KILLEEVAN GAA AND PARISH

Michael Fisher

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JP Graham signs the book

John Patrick (JP) Graham from Killeevan is best known for his reports and commentaries on GAA matters. But the journalist is also a local historian. Earlier this year he produced a wide-ranging history of his local Club and parish entitled: “Killeevan Sarsfields GFC: A Centenary History 1915-2015 and a Parish Record”. The book (price €20) has been re-launched in time for the Christmas market and makes an ideal gift for those who have left the area and are living away from home, to remind them of their roots.

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GAA Director General Paraic Duffy at the launch of the book

JP set out to record and document the efforts of the founding fathers and the successive generations of people who contributed to the parish. The Director General of the GAA, Paraic Duffy, described the publication as very impressive. He paid tribute to the author for his ‘labour of love’ and for his unfailing, lifelong commitment to the GAA at club and county level. The book is dedicated to JP’s grandson and godson, Aaron Patrick Graham and his other five grandchildren are included in that dedication.

This book traces the story of Killeevan Sarsfields from its foundation back in 1915 when the club was formed by amalgamating the two clubs that existed in the parish at that time, Greenan’s Cross Tir na nOgs and Ture Davitts. The centenary publication traces the development of the club through its glory years in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s when Killeevan were regarded as Kings, winning the Monaghan senior double of league and championship in 1944. Thereafter the club enjoyed something of a chequered history and went out of existence for one year. But they rose from the ashes to win the intermediate double in 1974 and enjoyed further success in junior ranks in the 1990s.

The official opening of Sarsfield Park in 1983 was a highlight and the book covers in some detail the last couple of decades. Success on the field proved elusive, but a major infrastructural development programme was completed in time for the centenary year. Other aspects of parish history and life are included, with sections on Newbliss village and the development of education in the parish, including records from the old Killeevan National School.

In his introduction JP Graham says he has “tried to give a flavour of all aspects of club activity and the people involved…with a special emphasis on the games and the players. I have also tried to factor in some aspects of the social life of Killeevan club and parish, because the club is central to the parish and touches practically every family in the area”.

The book (published by R&S Printers Monaghan) contains 370 pages and is on sale in Martin’s Londis, Newbliss, Matthews of Clones, and the Eason Bookshop, Monaghan, or directly from the author.

Is leabhar iontach shuimiúil é an leabhar seo, faigh ceann roimh a imionn siad go léir. Maith thú J.P. as an obair iontach a chuir tú isteach.

DUBLIN MONAGHAN BOMBS

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Charles Flanagan T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 

GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO PRESS BRITISH ON ISSUE OF DUBLIN-MONAGHAN BOMBS: FLANAGAN

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 14th July 2016

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan TD has said pursuing the British government on the issue of the Dublin Monaghan bombings in 1974 was a major priority for him and for the Irish government. He told the Dáil his commitment was reflected in the Programme for a Partnership Government that was agreed in May.

In a written response to questions tabled by the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and that party’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Deputy Darragh O’Brien, Minister Flanagan said the all-Party Dáil motion on the Dublin-Monaghan bombing that was adopted in the House on 25th May had been conveyed to the British Government. This motion, like the two previously adopted in 2008 and 2011, called on the British Government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the bombings.

Mr Flanagan continued: “The Government is committed to actively pursuing the implementation of these all-Party Dáil motions relating to the Dublin Monaghan bombing atrocities. To this end, I wrote to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in late May, conveying a copy of the recent resolution. In addition, I raised the matter in my bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Belfast last week. In this meeting I advised the Secretary of State that this latest motion represents the consensus political view in Ireland that an independent, international judicial review of all the relevant documents is required to establish the full facts of the Dublin Monaghan bombings.”

“I underlined that the absence of a response from the British Government was of deep concern to the Government and indeed this House and emphasised the urgent need to respond to the three Dáil motions. Secretary of State Villiers recognised the importance that the Government and Dáil Éireann attach to this case and she indicated that the British Government is considering a response which would adequately address the motions.”

“The Government will continue to raise this matter with the British Government, urging them to provide a satisfactory response to the motions that have been adopted by this House. I have made clear to the Secretary of State that there is a pressing need to provide answers to the families of the victims. The Taoiseach has also raised this issue with Prime Minister Cameron emphasising the Government’s continued support for the Dáil motions.”

“Many families continue to deal not only with the awful pain of losing a loved one, but also with the struggle for answers decades after these traumatic events. Accordingly, the establishment of a new comprehensive framework for dealing with the past, as envisaged in the Stormont House Agreement, is a priority for the Government.”

In conclusion, the Minister said he continued to engage with the British Government, the NI Executive and the Northern Ireland political parties in discussions to find a route to a final agreement on legacy issues. He said the Irish government believed that the legacy institutions agreed under the Stormont House Agreement offered the best hope of helping the thousands of families impacted by the troubles. He was therefore working to secure the necessary political agreement to get the legacy bodies established and up-and-running as soon as possible.