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British Governments plans to introduce conscription in Ireland in 1918 Remembered

On a bright Sunday morning a large crowd attended to remember the role played by Balbriggan people in the campaign against the British Governments plans to introduce conscription in Ireland.

Ian Lawless and Niall Keady

Fingal Old IRA established in 1944 who host commemorative events throughout Fingal marking moments over the 1913 – 1921 period in which Fingal men and women have played a significant part. At this event they were supported by Black Raven Pipe Band. The parade then marched to Bridge Street where the Proclamation was read, the Tricolour raised and a wreath was laid in memory of all who gave service to the Fingal Volunteers during the revolutionary period.

At this spot a memorial is in place to remember two local young men, Séamus Lawless

and Seán Gibbons, who were bayoneted to death on the street by the Black & Tans in 1920 these British forces smashed windows of shops and houses in Balbriggan. They set fire to a hosiery factory which was completely destroyed and they burned down many houses, forcing families to flee. Known as the Sack of Balbriggan.

The Proclamation was read by Ian Lawless great grandson of Séamus Lawless. Ian and his family were very proud of their dad as they looked on.

The Parade returned to The Square and were address by the Deputy Mayor of Fingal County Council local Councillor Graínne Maguire and Kevin Tolan who both spoke on the events of 1918 and Balbriggan’s role as the nation rose in opposition to the English proposal to conscript the young men of Ireland. The revolutionary movement recruited men of exceptional courage for a very special mission. Amongst those recruited were some Balbriggan volunteers who knew that the task when completed would lead to almost certain death.

Photos by Jimmy McCormack

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