This year's annual commemoration at Clonfin on Sunday February 6 will be a particularly special one for two reasons.
Firstly, it is the 90th anniversary of the historic happenings which occurred on February 2 1921. Secondly, this year's guest of honour will be Fr Alec Reid, an Irish priest who has often been described as the 'unsung hero' of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
Fr. Reid, who is based at Clonard Monastery in Belfast, is known within the Nationalist and Unionist communities for his facilitator role in the peace process.
Amongst his many actions during the 'Troubles', Reid aided a series of meetings between Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and SDLP Leader John Hume in an effort to establish a 'Pan-Nationalist front'.
A long time confidant of Gerry Adams, Fr Reid helped to broker the ground-breaking talks between the two party leaders. These talks led to the 1993 Downing Street Declaration which paved the way for dialogue between the Irish and British Governments and the Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groupings.
In an interview on CNN, the priest from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, told reporters that the "IRA were, if you like, a violent response to the suppression of human rights."
Fr Reid is expected to deliver a strong address to those gathered at the 90th Anniversary commemoration which will take place on Sunday, February 6 next at the Clonfin Monument on the Granard / Ballinalee Road.
The annual Clonfin Commemoration marks the victorious ambush by the Old IRA over British Auxillaries at Clonfin on February 2 1921. The ambush, which took place under the auspices of Dail Eireann (via direction from the Old IRA Headquarters in Dublin), was led by General Sean MacEoin. The latter became famous for his chivalry following the ambush when he and his colleagues helped to bandage the wounded British Auxiliaries.
"This ambush was very significant at the time," said Catherine Donohoe, Secretary of the Clonfin Committee and a descendant of General Sean MacEoin. "It helped to bring the British to the negotiating table and ultimately we got our independence out of it and the Treaty."
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