Since I was a child Christmas for me has always involved attending the annual Martin Savage commemoration at Ashtown so I must be getting old if for the first time I actually led the event along with Cllr David McGuiness from Dublin West. After I welcomed the relatives of Martin Savage and friends of Fianna Fail and thanked Bridget Maher, secretary of the Martin Savage Cumann I made the following remarks:
"In the crossfire Dan Breen was shot in the leg and seconds later Martin Savage fell mortally wounded after being hit by a bullet in the neck. He died in the arms of Dan Breen and his last words to Breen were "I'm done, but carry on....". Tom Kehoe and the wounded Dan Breen succeeded in carrying Martin Savage's body from the road and back to Kelly’s Pub while the gunfight continued."
So we do carry on and have carried on and 92 years later, almost to the day, we stand here to remember our dead hero Martin Savage and all our dead heros, brave men and women one and all and we honour their contribution to our history, our country and our traditions and we take hope for the future.
The past year has been an extremely difficult one for our country. There isn’t a family that hasn’t been affected by the economic crises that grips Ireland and Europe. The crises of the euro is not just a crises of a currency, it is potentially a crises of the great European project.
The government has allowed Ireland and other small European nations to be pushed to the margins and excluded from meetings where real decisions are being made.
They have put too much effort into the optics and spin and in the interim failed to make any meaningful contribution to implementing a solution.
They have failed to address the root cause of our problems.
The Government needs to reassert Irelands place at the center of Europe.
They need to work to get an agreement with our partners in Europe that will allow our country regain our financial sovereignty.
They should be more like Martin Savage, they should be more courageous, more brave and more ambitious for our country like Martin Savage was.
All too sadly as we gather here today we are missing another brave patriot and friend. Brian Lenihan was a giant amongst men and his passing has left us all diminished. Before I call on Cllr David McGuiness to speak I will ask you to join me in a minutes silence as we remember Brian Lenihan, Martin Savage and all our brave patriot men and women.
Ar dheis de ar a anim. Mary.