Date Released: 26 April 2016
The SIPTU Meath District Council will commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Ashbourne with a series of events in Ashbourne and Navan, County Meath, on Saturday, 30th April.
The commemoration begins with a flag raising event at the SIPTU Dan Shaw Centre in Navan at 3.00 p.m.. This is followed by a march, which will include the Irish Citizen Army Re-enactment Group, to the local 1916 Monument.
SIPTU general president, Jack O’Connor, will lay a wreath and deliver a key note address at the 1916 Monument in Ashbourne at 4.15 p.m.
The day’s events will then conclude at the Dan Shaw Centre with a ceremony to mark the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the men, women and young people from County Meath who joined the struggle for Irish independence during the revolutionary period.
Historian, Michael Halpenny, will be a guest speaker at the unveiling ceremony. He said: “The Battle of Ashbourne which took place on 28thth April 1916 was the largest successful encounter between rebels and crown forces outside Dublin during the Rising. In the battle the men and women of the 5th (Fingal) Battalion led by Thomas Ashe and Richard Mulcahy succeeded in convincingly defeating a larger force of RIC, taking more than 80 prisoners.
“However, the contribution of Meath men and women to the Rising also included volunteers from the county fighting with the Citizen Army and Volunteers in Dublin as well as the Meath Volunteers under Sean Boylan who, despite the confusion caused by the “countermanding order”, attempted to carry out their original operational plans.
In the course of the Rising a number of Meath volunteers, fighting with both the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers, were killed in action and we honour their memory as well as that of Volunteers John Crenigan and Thomas Rafferty of the 5th Battalion who lost their lives at Ashbourne and their commander ,Thomas Ashe, who died from forced feeding while on hunger strike the following year.”
SIPTU Meath District Council Coordinator, John Regan, said: “This event is part of a very successful wider series of commemorations and events to celebrate the 1916 Rising organised by SIPTU. Our union with its headquarters in Liberty Hall played a central role in the 1916 Rising. Those involved in the Battle of Ashbourne on the rebel side were members of the 5th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and were in the main working men, so it very fitting that SIPTU is taking the lead in commemorating this event on the exact date of its centenary.”