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Vote for War of Independence heroes

With the local elections coming up in June, there’s a growing call for a long overdue monument in Kilkenny City to the men and women who risked all during the War of Independence.

Callan historian Philip Lynch has been campaigning for such a monument for years and is hopeful that this year, his plea, and that of many others countywide, will be heeded. He says: 

“Monuments to Kilkenny soldiers who fell in the Great War have, and quite rightly, been erected in the City and in Callan and indeed there are memorials recalling every other aspect of local heritage… but we still await this one… it’s a glaring omission.”

Men of the 2nd Battalion Kilkenny Brigade IRA. Left to Right: Pat Walsh, Dunaghmore, Johnstown, Thomas Noonan, Woodsgift, Michael Ryan, Graine, James Dunne, Urlingford, Paddy Drennan, Islands, Paddy Connell, Boher, Crosspatrick.

The late author/historian Jim Maher, of the Circular Road, Kilkenny, did more than most to chronicle the War of Independence in these parts.

Following retirement from his reaching position Jim devoted much of his time to researching the subject. 

He interviewed scores of former local IRA men and women. His first book The Flying Column-West Kilkenny and East Tipperary (1987) became an instant classic, and a runaway best-seller locally. 

He also wrote a biography of Harry Boland, and the definitive account of how Ireland finally abolished the Oath of Allegiance to Britain.

Hugginstown prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs following hunger strike: Front Row Left to Right: John Carroll (second from left), Mick Loughman (fifth from left), Ned Halloran (sixth from left), Nicky Carroll (seventh from left). Back Row: John Halloran (second from left), Willie Farrell (third from left), Watt Barron (ifth from left), Jim Walsh (sixth from left), and Tom Barron (seventh from left).

When Jim was honoured with a Mayoral Award at City Hall in 2022 he told the big assembly that his dearest wish was to see the creation of a monument to the local men and women of the War of Independence.

This immediately struck a chord, not only with those listening to him on the dau, but across the county. The call was soon taken up nationwide and globally by people with Kilkenny connections.

Unfortunately, Jim did not live to see his dream realized. He passed away last year.

Kilkenny IRA veterans June 1980. Left to Right: Ned Cahill, Paddy Coady, Paddy Dunne, Michael Connelly.

So, hopefully, in the run-up to the local elections in June people who feel strongly about the issue will contact the candidates and ask them to back the necessary funding for a monument.

After all, it’s thanks to the superhuman courage of those Irish men and women that we have the measure of freedom and independence we’ve got today.

They deserve to remembered, recognised and honoured for their sacrifice.

Here’s hoping that the monument will soon become a reality…

War of Independence veteran Jim Roughan of Ahenure Callan

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