Waterford to honour Spanish civil war heroes

by Democrat reporter

NO PASARAN (they shall not pass) will be engraved on a memorial sculpture in Waterford city this summer in commemoration of the eleven Waterford volunteers who fought against fascism in the International Brigade during the Spanish civil war

An appeal to raise funds for the monument was launched at a meeting of nearly 150 people in City Hall on 25 March. The appeal, which has the unanimous support of Waterford City Council needs about 15,500 euro and is expected to attract funds from a number of trade unions.

The meeting opened with a minute's silence for the victims of the mass murder in Madrid on 11 March, for whom a book of condolences was opened. In the chair was cllr Seamus Ryan, Waterford's deputy mayor, honorary secretary and treasurer of the appeal committee and a grandnephew of one of the volunteers, the late Peter O'Connor. Speakers at the appeal launch included Waterford mayor, alderman Tom Cunningham, Michael O'Riordan, one of the two surviving Irish veterans of the International Brigade and author of The Connolly Column, and sculptor Michael Warren, who is giving his services free of charge.

Relatives of Waterford volunteers Frank Edwards, Peter O'Connor and Jackie Lemon attended the event, as did mayor of Lismore Mark Khan, Waterford playwright and appeal committee chairperson Jim Nolan,(whose plays includeThe Guernica Hotel), and prominent local trade unionists Sean Kelly (ATGWU), Jimmy Kelly (ATGWU) and Mike Jennings (SIPTU), who are among the appeal's trustees.

The sculpture, to be entitled 'No Pasaran, will stand on the public open space in front of the city engineer's office on The Mall, next to City Hall in the heart of the city, and visible to all traffic passing through Waterford. It will take the form of three blocks of granite, imported from Castille and weighing more than six and a half tons, “designed to convey something of the heroism and commitment of the Waterford men” in the words of the sculptor.

It will bear the words “No Pasaran” and the names of the eleven Waterford International Brigaders.

Wexford man Michael Warren, who has a Spanish wife, is a member of Aosdana. His distinctions include the Decoration of Cultural Merit awarded by Ecuador and Madrid's Medalla al Merito Artistico. His sculptures are on display in Japan, Latin America, Europe and in Ireland.

It was thought that there were only ten Waterford volunteers until Peter O'Connor's son Dr Emmett O'Connor, one of Ireland's leading labour historians, recently discovered an eleventh, Harry Kennedy.

One, Mossie Quinlan, was killed on the Jarama front. The original ten are already commemorated on an exquisite plaque of Waterford crystal which hangs in the ATGWU Hall in Keyser Street.

Those wishing to donate should make out cheques or euro drafts to Spanish Civil War Memorial, a/c 77000030 sort code 93-41-19 and send them to Allied Irish Banks, Waterford, Ireland. It is hoped that the sculpture will be ready for unveiling on 9th July in the presence of Michael O'Riordan, the other surviving Irish veteran, Bob Doyle, and British International Brigader Jack Jones, the renowned trade unionist and pensioners' leader.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2004-05-26 15:23:41.
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