Irish Examiner. 11.05.1898
A very large and representative meeting of the members of the Dungourney Branch of the ’98 Centenary Association was held in Clonmult on Sunday for the purpose of enrolling new members, also to take preliminary steps to erect a memorial over the grave of Laurence Kelly, the brave Clonmult Fenian, who was shot down by the police in the early days of the ’67 Rising. The proceedings which were characterised by a good deal of enthusiasm, were the means of bringing together all the local politicians who worked loyally together in the old Land League days, when the local branch of the League won the proud distinction of being recognised by William O’Brien as a branch that was second to none in Ireland. In the unavoidable absence of the President, Mr. Denis Ring, the chair was occupied by the vice-president, Mr. J. Hartnett, P L G. Amongst those present were – Messrs Edmund Cronin, P L G; M. Nunan, Tresuar; J. Donovan, Hon. Sec; M. Mulcahy, P.Cronin, James Daly, P. Quirke, J. Quirke, J. Murphy, P. Murphy, J. Dineen, T. Dineen, James Parnell Motherway, E. Flanagan, W. O’Mahony, W. Kelleher, M. MacSullivan, J. Fitzgibbon, J. E. Burke, J. Hennessy, J. Hogan, Denis Foley, etc.
The secretary having read some correspondence from Mr. J. O’Brien, hon sec., Cork Committee.
The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, said he felt honoured at being called on to preside, for he considered it a privilege to have an oppurtunity of addressing the patriotic people of Clonmult, who always held aloft the banner of Irish nationality in every period of their country’s struggles to regain their plundered rights, and who, he knew, were never afraid to speak of ’98 or ashamed to remember ’67 either. So much has been said about the lives and labours of those gallant Irishmen by able and eminent men for the past few months that he was sure they didn’t expect much from him to say on the subject. However, he could not, without expressing the satisfaction it afforded him of seeing men of sterling worth and genuine patriotism, who were kept asunder by the dissensions of their leaders, sinking their political differences and uniting together to commemorate, honour and revere the noble and self-sacrificing patriots who fell for Ireland in’98. He congratulated the members on the progress the branch had made, and was happy to inform them he had got a communication from their gallant and respected M. P. Captain Donelan expressing delight to see his old parish to the front in the ’98 movement. They also met for the purpose of considering what could be done to honour a true-hearted Irishman, whose blood was shed for the same cause the pike was lifted and the green flag raised a century ago. Though well-nigh 33 years had elapsed since Larry Kelly’s soul was sent marching on to eternity by a brutal police-man’s bullet, his spirit lived and animated his countrymen, and true men, like you men, remember him with pride. He was sure the patriotic people of this parish, who were always noted for their generosity and patriotism, would heartily co-operate with them in raising a fitting memorial over his grave.
Mr. Patrick Cronin Clonmult , proposed, and Mr. James Daly seconded, the following resolution, which was carried unanimously; ‘’Resolved –That we the members of the Dungourney Branch of the ’98 Centenary Association, desire to place on record our appreciation the many sterling qualities of Larry Kelly, the brave Clonmult Fenian and pioneer of the ’67 movement in this district’ who fell victim to English tyranny more than thirty years ago, and we pledge ourselves to assist in raising a fitting memorial over his grave.
Mr. James Murphy, in supporting the resolution, was received with cheers from the men of ’67. He expressed his gratitude to their chairman and the other gentlemen from Dungourney who came there that day to enrol them members of the’98 Centenary movement, and from the large number he saw eager to become members he was sure this branch would do a great deal of good, and become, like its old predecessor, the League, second to none in Ireland. He was glad to see the old friends and comrades of Larry Kelly to keep his memory green and to prove to the English Government, whose oppression had driven him and men like him to revolt, that their names will not be forgotten, or the recollection of their acts suffered to grow cold. Nowhere in the land poor Larry Kelly died for was there any memorial to tell such a man existed. Now it was time this state of things should cease. It was not his fate to die, like the brave Manchester martyrs, amid the rabble horde of an English town, nor to fall like the men of Wexford, but he was shot down in his own native district within reach of hearts that sympathised and loved, though their hands were powerless to save. To those who had the privilege of his intimate friendship his memory would live as long as life lasted, for he had all the qualities of truest friendship and had an ardent and devoted love of his native land. His fearless and straightforward disposition and exemplary character made him a general favourite. He lived and died as an Irishman, and the record of his life and death should rank among the dearest and most precious of our memories of ’98.
Mr. James Daly congratulated the meeting on the harmony of the proceedings, and was glad to see the spirit of the union which above all things characterised the men of ’98, growing and spreading among all Irishmen. It was only right and just that the people of Larry Kelly’s native district should do something that would through all future time would rank him beside the dauntless spirits that in days of darkness and disaster perished for the sacred cause of Ireland.
Mr. James Parnell Motherway, as one who was always a Parnellite, and who deplored the methods by the illustrious Parnell was hounded down by some of their Parliamentary leaders, welcomed this ’98 movement as new era in politics, and hoped it would be the means of bringing together again into one solid party the men who, under the leadership of Parnell, did good work for Ireland.
Several new members having been enrolled, and the following gentlemen added to the committee – Messrs. E. Cronin, P L G;, P. Cronin, W. OMahony, James Daly, J. Murphy, J.Foley and J. Parnell Motherway, after some discussion among the members, it was decided to hold a monster meeting in Clonmult, the date will be fixed after ascertaining from Captain Donelan when he could conveniently attend. It was unanimously agreed to open a fund to receive subscriptions to erect a memorial over Larry Kelly’s grave.
A cordial vote of thanks having been passed to the chairman for presiding, which he suitably acknowledged, the meeting adjourned until next Sunday.