The County Kildare Association of New York is leading an effort to commission a life-size bronze statue of Irish freedom fighter and rebel leader John Devoy.
“Devoy played a key role in the struggle for self-determination for Ireland leading up to the Easter Rebellion,” said Terence Burke of the John Devoy Memorial Fund Committee. “He was a cornerstone for Irish freedom.”
Campaign founder and former Kildare resident Mike Flood’s experiences in the Vietnam War inspired him to spearhead the project. He said in a recent press release, “We know about the horrors of war. Let our cause be about honoring history and a great Kildare man, John Devoy, who fought so diligently for the cause of Irish Freedom.”
After years of imprisonment for treason, Devoy was exiled to America in 1871 as part of the “Cuba Five,” a small group of Irish rebels released from prison on the condition that they never return to Britain until their original sentences were complete.
In New York Devoy became a leader of Clan na Gael, the successor of the Fenian Brotherhood, and his efforts made it the most important Irish republican organization in both the US and Ireland. He made incredible strides toward organizing and raising money for assistance with the Easter Rising.
As they prepare for the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising members of The John Devoy Memorial Fund Committee are looking to raise $45,000 to make the statue possible in Naas, Co. Kildare.
“The statue will be placed in the same town where Devoy worked before his arrest and incarceration for his political activities in the name of Irish freedom,” the press release states. Mike Flood stresses the importance of reviving interest in this somewhat forgotten hero for all he’s done to make the Republic of Ireland possible.
Various concerts, fundraisers and other special events are taking place to raise the necessary funds, and you can donate to the memorial fund on the online donation drive.
The statue is set to be erected in September 2015, six months before the Easter Rising centennial.