Comóradh Thomáis Mhic Uidhir i gContae Mhaigh Eo

THE third anniversary of the death of Comdt-General Tom Maguire, last and faithful Deputy of the Second (All-Ireland) Dail was marked by a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave in Cross Cemetery, Co Mayo on July 5, 1996. The large crowd of close on a hundred people included his son, Dr Sean Maguire, Castlebar and other relatives.

Dan Hoban, Newport, presided and introduced Sean Mac an Iomaire, Gaillimh, who recited a decade of the Rosary in Irish. Wreaths of natural Easter Lilies were then laid by Veteran Republican Séamas Ó Mongáin, Dú Thuama, Béal an Atha; Peter Spellman, Newport and Pat O’Brien, formerly of Ballinrobe and now residing in Roscommon. Pat O’Brien’s brother Terence took part in the Tourmakeady Ambush under General Maguire. Seán Ó Brádaigh, Baile Átha Cliath, who is editing a book on Tom Maguire, gave the oration, the text of which is printed below:

TÁ trí bliana imithe thart anois ó leagamar taisí Thomáis Mhic Uidhir faoin bhfód beannaithe seo. Bhí an laoch ar lár agus tháinig an lá sin slua mór de Ghaela – a chlann agus a ghaolta, comharsana, muintir Mhaigh Eo agus na Gaillimhe.

Tháinig freisin slua mór de phobal na hÉireann, Poblachtaigh ar thug Tomás treoir agus misneach dóibh le linn a shaoil fhada. Léadh Aifreann na Marbh agus cuireadh Tomás faoi bheannacht na hEaglaise. Labhraíodh go hard agus go híseal ar thréithe an té a bhí á chur an lá sin.

Ní fhéadfaí a rá go raibh comhaimsirigh Thomáis i láthair, sa chiall cheart den bhfocal sin. Bhí bliain agus céad, agus cúpla mí sa bhreis, slánaithe aige agus bhí lucht a linne féin imithe roimhe. Ba gheall le hOisín i ndiaidh na Féinne é. Is fada na Fianna imithe, má bhí siad ariamh ann. Ach muna raibh, bhí a leithéidí ann – fir chróga a bhí sásta agus ullamh Éire a chosaint ar ionradh agus forghabháil. Bhí a leithéidí ann i gcónaí agus tá anois féin.

Tá a fhios againn ó litríocht na Fiannaíochta, go raibh tréithe na bhFiann in iomaíocht leis an gCríostaíocht féin – Iomarbhá Oisín agus Phádraig. Ghlac na seanGhaeil leis an gCríostaíocht a thug dóibh suáilce na carthanachta, agus cén fáth nach nglacfadh, ach ní dhearna siad dearmad ariamh ar na tréithe a bhain leis na Fianna – an uaisleacht, an chalmacht, an fhírinne agus an onóir nó an t-oineach – onóir i measc cairde agus fiú onóir idir naimhde.

"Glaine in ár gcroí

Neart in ár ngéag Agus beart de réir ár mbriathar."

Bhain na tr"ithe sin uile le Tomás Mac Uidhir agus a chompánaigh i nGluaiseacht na Saoirse agus d’fhág siad le huacht againne iad.

When we consider the Ireland of today we are struck by the widespread dearth of the fine qualities which Tom Maguire exemplified during his long life. Almost every morning, as we listen to our radios, we hear a litany of crime and violence. The Ireland in which we live is not the country in which any of us would wish to rear our children or have our children rear theirs. A lot has changed in recent years.

One cannot help but feel that somewhere along the road we took a wrong turn, or were led down the wrong road. The generation to which the young Tom Maguire belonged had high standards, values and principles. Moral integrity was of great value and while, indeed, no one person is perfect, — the ideals were high, even in the midst of material poverty.

We are told that we have the fastest growing economy in Europe. But this is of little use when our society is permeated with materialism and people of principles and ideals are regarded as fools, and often harassed and abused.

The fine ideals, high principles and worthwhile values were deliberately discarded, our national heroes forgotten and out people led into a morass. This did not happen overnight, but gradually, especially in the last 20 years, the wells of history were poisoned, and the memory of the heroes and heroines of our national struggle was suppressed.

A generation has been reared, who are in great measure, devoid of any understanding of our roots as Irish people and who have little knowledge of the great struggle, over 800 years, for independence from England. When you add large-scale unemployment to this, you have a recipe for social disaster and such a disaster manifests itself daily now.

The results of this are terrifying because this is a world devoid of all the great values espoused by Tom Maguire, a world of crime, big-time and small-time, where the lives of thousands are blighted. Calls for the resignation of the Minister for Justice are probably misplaced. When things get to that stage it is almost too late.

The resignation of the Minister for Education might be more to the point, and of the others who have shaped our society and brought us to the present sorry mess – dishonest politicians and some media people – pedlars of the culture of selfishness, get rich quick, the quick buck.

I have read in the Examiner (Cork) on July 3 that the prime suspect in the Veronica Guerin case surrendered £800,000 during the tax amnesty three years ago. Presumably this means that as far as the balance of the tax is concerned he has been declared "untouchable". The plot thickens.

Instead of a house built on the rock of integrity and justice, we have here a ramshackle country, still divided, and built on the shifting sands of materialism and compromise on the national question, where the 18% unionists are guaranteed a veto over the other 82% of the people of Ireland.

Only a return to the high ideals of Tom Maguire and the others who were faithful – one thinks of people like Máire Nic Suibhne, Cathal Brugha, Brian Ó hUiginn and Seán Ua Ceallaigh – will construct the basis for a new self-respecting Ireland.

Iarradh orm labhairt anseo inniu agus is mór an onóir é. Tugadh an cuireadh dom mar gheall ar go bhfuil eagar á chur agam ar leabhar ar shaol Thomáis Mhic Uidhir. Rinne mé féin an moladh, go scríobhfaí agus go bhfoilseofaí a leithéid tar éis a bháis agus mhol mé an teideal Dílseacht air. Tárlaíonn sé anois go bhfuil an chuid is mó den obair déanta ag duine eile agus fágfar fúmsa eagar a chur ar an iomlán, an clóbhualadh agus an cur i láthair. Ar eagla go mbeadh brí thánaisteach aisteach éigin ag baint leis an bhfocal dílseacht, chuas i mbun na bhfoclóirí, an lá cheana, agus na focail dílis agus dílseacht á scrúdú agam. Idir Ó Duinnín agus Ó Domhnaill/de Bhaldraithe tháinig mé ar na nithe seo –

Dílis – special, genuine, reliable, worthy, loyal, solid

ainm dílis – a proper name or noun

dílseacht – fidelity, loyalty, sincerity, love – móid dílseachta agus mionn dílseachta.

Ach seo an míniú is spéisiúla, go háirithe sa chás seo –

an t-oidhre dílis – the lawful heir

an rí dílis – the lawful king or sovereign, as opposed to the usurper

airgead dílis – current coin, in opposition to airgead bréagach, counterfeit money.

Is féidir mar sin labhairt ar an rialtas dílis agus an rialtas bréagach, an Dáil dílis agus an Dáil bhréagach.

Bhí Tomás Mac Uidhur dílis go bás, dílis go héag, agus ceapaim nach bhfuil teideal níos feiliúnaí ar scéal seo a bheatha ach Dílseacht. Agus cuirfidh mé nóta míniúcháin airsean i dtús an leabhair.

Leaba i measc na naomh agus na bhFíníní go raibh agat a Thomáis Mhic Uidhir. Tá tú ar shlí na fírinne, imithe go “tír dheas na meala nach bhfuair Galla inti réim go fóill” mar adúirt an file Ultach, agus áit nach bhfaighe siad greim go deo.

Tom was the last surviving senior commanding officer of the IRA in the 1916-23 period and the last surviving member of the Second (All-Ireland) Dáil. He never compromised on fundamentals, but demonstrated his dexterity and flexibility as a Column Commander, particularly on the dayof the Tourmakeady Ambush. Suaimhneas síoraí go raibh agat!
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