Cllr. Gleeson’s comments on 1916 Petty and Vindictive – Cllr. Ferris

Cllr. Toireasa Ferris, Sinn Féin and Cllr. Michael Gleeson, South Kerry Independent Alliance finding themselves at odds on 1916 commemorations. ©Photographs: John Reidy
Cllr. Toireasa Ferris, Sinn Féin and Cllr. Michael Gleeson, South Kerry Independent Alliance finding themselves at odds on 1916 commemorations. ©Photographs: John Reidy

Cllr. Toireasa Ferris (Sinn Féin) has reacted to today’s letter in the Irish Examiner by Killarney councillor Michael Gleeson (South Kerry Independent Alliance) by saying that it shows a shocking level of both ignorance and vindictiveness on Cllr. Gleeson’s behalf. In his letter to this morning’s Irish Examiner, Cllr. Gleeson opened:
“It was little surprise that Sinn Féin, as part of its determined effort to highjack the 1916 commemoration, held its own August 1 event at the Glasnevin grave of Jeremiah O’ Donovan Rossa.
This blatant attempt to exploit the life, death and burial of O’Donovan Rossa tells us clearly that Sinn Féin respects neither truth nor historical fact,” – according to Cllr. Gleeson’s letter.

In her response, Cllr. Toireasa Ferris commented:
“At no stage has Sinn Féin tried to hijack or lay claim to the events surrounding the 1916 Rising. We as a party have of course never hid our admiration for the men and women of 1916 and what they achieved.
We remember with pride all those who died in the fight for freedom whether they were Sinn Féin members or not. Sinn Féin despite Cllr Gleesons protestations had of course a role in 1916 as had many other organisations such as the Irish Citizens Army and the IRB. Cllr Gleeson is of course correct in stating that O’Donovan Rossa was never a member of Sinn Féin, but we as Republicans trace our lineage, through our politics, back to Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen who we commemorate every year at Bodenstown graveyard.
Tone like O’Donovan Rossa was never a member of Sinn Féin as he was dead over 100 years when the party was founded. James Connolly who was never a member of Sinn Féin is revered by members,”

“For Cllr Gleeson’s information, Sinn Féin had planned and announced our events long before the State had committed to organising any commemoration. We in Sinn Féin have since the 1920’s held events in every village and town throughout the 32 counties to remember all those who were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice. We have no intention of taking lectures from such as Cllr Gleeson who would use this occasion to attack our party for his own publicity. Frankly it is childish and petty.

“We as Sinn Féin members in Kerry look forward as we do every year to commemorating all those who made the ultimate sacrifice at our events next year especially at Ballykissane Pier and Banna Strand.
We would never be as arrogant to say who and who should not attend these events. Cllr Gleeson’s comments shows a new level of vindictiveness even for him.”Rather than putting forward childish claims about “taking over” etc it would be better to have a discussion about the politics contained within the proclamation and how progressed is that vision in the Ireland of today.

“Let’s talk about equality, the ownership of our resources, the goal of cherishing all the children of the nation equally. Take a look at the rate of child poverty and homelessness and you quickly realise that the greatest subversion, of both the rising and our revolutionary history, is the nature of this state and how the political establishment operates,” said Cllr. Ferris.
You can read Cllr. Michael Gleeson’s letter in full through the link here: