The Wicklow Sinn Féin Easter 1916 Centenary commemoration took place on Easter Monday. A huge crowd of 400 assembled at Bray Town Hall. The commemoration was led off by the Wicklow Sinn Féin colour party and followed by the Rising Phoenix Republican Flute Band.
A wreath was laid at the 1798 monument on Castle Street by local republican Jack O’Neill, Cllr Michael O’Connor and Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady. The commemoration then proceeded to St.Peters Cemetery.
Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor Michael O’Connor who was recently co-opted onto the council to fill the seat vacated by John Brady chaired the proceedings in St.Peters and welcomed the huge crowd. Wicklow republican Robin Keogh read the proclamation and the names and a history of 16 Wicklow republicans who fought during Easter week was read out by Meghan Brady, Cllr John Snell, Melanie McAuley and Cllr Oliver O’Brien.
Cllr O’Connor then welcomed the main speaker at the commemoration John Brady TD stating “The people of Wicklow have made history by electing the first Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow in 94 years. Not since the election of Robert Barton and Sean Etchingham in the 2nd Dáil elections of 1921 has Wicklow been represented by a Republican in Leinster House.”
The Sinn Féin TD then delivered a rousing speech and stated “We are standing here on the sacred ground of St.Peters Cemetery surrounded by the graves of volunteers such as Steenie Mulvey, Willie Ownes, James Hoey and Seamus Costello who all fought bravely for Irish Freedom and in defence of the Irish Republic as was declared in 1916. They followed in the brave tradition of Fiach McHugh, the O'Byrnes, Michael Dwyer, Joseph Holt, Billy Byrne, Sam McAllister and Anne Devlin and many, many others from Wicklow that fought the occupation of our country.”
He went on to say that “The Republic that was declared in 1916 still has to be achieved and there is now more support for Sinn Féin and Irish republicanism than at any other time in our history. The promise of the republic is in our hands. We must now use that position to build the demand for real change. For unity and for a republic that honours the men and women of 1916 and all our patriots.”
Wreaths were laid on the grave of Bray man Stephen (Steenie) Mulvey by John Brady TD and family members of Steenie. Mulvey fought in the GPO during Easter week. One was also laid at the 1916 monument in the cemetery for all that died in the struggle for Irish Independence.
The commemoration finished with the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann.