A local councillor has called for the State to step in and purchase the famous Rose Cottage in Ballinalee because of its historical links to the foundation of the State.
The cottage which lies in the heart of the north Longford village served as General Sean MacEoin’s headquarters during the Battle of Ballinalee in 1920.
Cllr Micheál Carrigy (FG) told the Leader this week that the country was coming into a time of commemoration and the local cottage was very much part and parcel of the country’s history.
“It’s an historic house,” he said, before adding it had been firmly cemented in the nation’s turbulent history.
“I know at the moment there is planning permission on the site of the cottage, but it is my opinion that the State should step in now and buy it.”
The ‘Blacksmith of Ballinalee’, as MacEoin was often referred to, went on to secure fame in the political arena and after resigning from the Army in 1929, he was elected at a by-election to Dáil Éireann for the Leitrim–Sligo constituency, but not after a long and bloody Civil War.
“Ballinalee was the one of the places in Ireland that ensured the greatest loss to British personnel,” continued Cllr Carrigy who was referring to the ‘Black and Tans’.
“Rose Cottage is part of a significant part of Irish history and it should be protected.”
At the 1932 General Election MacEoin moved to the constituency of Longford–Westmeath and served as TD from 1932–65.
He was defeated in the 1965 general election.
During his long and distinguished political career he served as Minister for Justice from February 1948 to March 1951 and Minister for Defence from March to June 1951) in the First Inter-Party Government.
He also served as Minister for Defence from June 1954 to March 1957 and stood unsuccessfully, twice, as candidate for the office of President of Ireland, against Seán T O’Kelly in 1945, and Éamon de Valera in 1959.
MacEoin retired from public life after the 1965 General Election and died on July 7, 1973. He married Alice Cooney on June 21, 1922 at a ceremony attended by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins.
Alice died on February 16, 1985 and the couple had no children.