A young lawyer identified as a victim of the attacks in Paris last Friday had ancestral links to one of Ireland’s most famous revolutionary nationalists.
Valentin Ribet, 26, is a fifth generation descendant on his mother’s side of Thomas Addis Emmet, the elder brother of Robert Emmet, the Irish nationalist who led an unsuccessful rebellion against British rule in Ireland in 1803, and whose actions and words inspired future generations of rebels in Ireland despite his execution at just 25 years old
Ribet was one of the first victims to be identified from the Bataclan concert venue last week where at least 87 people were killed. He had been working as an anti-corruption lawyer for Hogan Lovells, a firm that specializes in white-collar crime.
Educated at the London School of Economics, Ribet graduated from a LLM in International Business Law in 2014. LSE released a short statement to say “Our hearts are filled with sadness at this news.”
James Walters, a chaplain at LSE, also posted a message online saying, “Praying for the repose of the soul of Valentin Ribet.”
“Love is stronger than hate. Life is stronger than death”
Hogan Lovells paid tribute to their Paris associate stating that Ribet “was a talented lawyer, extremely well liked, and a wonderful personality in the office.”
Ribet joined the firm in September 2014 after spending time as a trainee at Simmons & Simmons, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and French firm Reinhart Marville Torre.
His ancestor Thomas Addis Emmet was a member of the United Irishmen along with his brother Robert and was jailed for his role in the 1798 rebellion, also known as the United Irishmen Rebellion, led by Theobald Wolf Tone.
Born in Cork in 1764 to Robert Emmet, physician to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, he was educated at Trinity College Dublin and studied medicine in the University of Medicine before the sudden death of his elder brother Christopher convinced him to change his profession.
Although the Emmets were a wealthy Protestant family, they believed in the end of discrimination against Catholics in Ireland and called for the extension of democratic franchise for the Irish parliament.
Ribet clearly followed in the family footsteps as Thomas was also a lawyer and was called to the Irish bar in 1790. Thomas went on to become the legal advisor of the Society of United Irishmen, although he only formally became a member of the United Irishmen in 1795. During his time practicing law in Ireland Thomas defended the patriot leader James Napper Tandy and other anti-British political prisoners.
Thomas became a member of the United Irishmen executive in 1797, but by this time the society was deemed an illegal organization by the British government and their original peaceful campaign had been abandoned for an armed rebellion to achieve a non-sectarian Irish republic.
Both brothers were supporters of the revolutions in America and in France and considered these examples as a sign that the Irish republic was ripe for the taking. Thomas, in fact, did not believe that a rebellion in Ireland should take place until they were joined by aid from France.
On March 12, the eve of the 1798 rebellion, Thomas was among the leaders arrested based on information leaked to the British and was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol before being moved to Fort George in Scotland.
Released for his part in the 1798 rebellion in 1802, Thomas went to Paris to talk with Napoleon about French aid for a further rebellion. The English and French were at peace for a time, however, and the Irish pleas went unanswered. It was here that Thomas learned of the failed 1803 rebellion and his brother's execution.
In 1804, he traveled to New York where he aimed to raise money for the Irish cause. He built a successful law practice, rising to become New York State Attorney General in 1812 but was removed from office in 1813.
He died in 1827 and is buried in New York in St-Mark’s-in-the-Bowery churchyard in the East Village.