Minister Madigan to lay a wreath at a ceremony in Soloheadbeg, in remembrance of all who suffered and died during the Struggle for Independence
The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., will today (Sunday 20 January) attend a special community-led commemoration in Soloheadbeg, County Tipperary, to mark the centenary of the Soloheadbeg Ambush, which is generally considered to be the opening action in the Struggle for Independence. The commemorative programme opens with a Mass of Remembrance in Solohead Church, celebrated by the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly. Minister Madigan will then lay a wreath on behalf of the Government at the site of the Soloheadbeg Ambush Memorial, in remembrance of all who suffered and who lost their lives during the Independence Struggle.
Minister Madigan said: “It is very fitting that the significance of what happened in Soloheadbeg a century ago is remembered with a respectful, community-led commemoration, supported by Tipperary County Council and the State. I commend the efforts and commitment of the Solohead Parish Centenary Commemoration Committee and the Third Tipperary Brigade Old IRA Commemoration Committee who have ensured that today's ceremony is authentic, appropriate, inclusive and meaningful. This thoughtful and sensitive approach to the remembrance of the events that took place here, a century ago, will undoubtedly help to promote a mature and considerate reflection on their significance and legacy. One of the most significant learnings from the Decade of Centenaries is the extraordinary capacity of local communities to mobilise for the greater good, when the right structures and supports are put in place to assist them.
“By approaching the difficult legacies of our past with understanding, empathy and a generosity of spirit, and by acknowledging and remembering all of the lives lost during this period, we have revisited painful memories, creating the possibility of reciprocal compassion and reconciliation. It is not easy and it challenges us to open our hearts and minds to one another in a spirit of mutual respect and kindness.
“In remembering this period in our history, we acknowledge both the military campaign of the Independence Struggle as well as the constitutional parliamentary traditions and the democratic processes underpinning all traditions on this island. Tomorrow, we will mark the centenary of the convening of Dáil Éireann for the first time and we are reminded that the democratic parliamentary tradition ultimately prevailed and that, today, we have one of the oldest surviving democracies in Europe.