17 March 2005

pearsecom.com

IRELAND ANNIVERSARIES



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'The Fenian movement later to be called the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which was to be the revolutionary force behind events in Ireland for more than half a century afterwards was founded in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day, 1858. The day was chosen to be appropriate for an Irish Republican movement. James Stephens was the chief organizer and 'head centre' of the organisation. Its stated aim was the establishment of an independent republic based on universal suffrage and peasant proprietorship of the land. An American organisation was founded at the same time by John O'Mahoney. Stephens, was typical of the men who founded the organisation. He was born in Kilkenny, and too part in the abortive Young Ireland rising of 1848. After that, he fled to Paris, where, with fellow exiles he set about re-organising the movement which would wait for "a favorable opportunity to strike." The Fenian rising of 1865 proved not to be it, but the movement, being of nature secret, survived to be the force behind that other 'favourable opportunity' of 1916, its members subverting the Defensive Irish Volunteers into an Offensive revolutionary army. Only with the rise of the Irish Republican Army from 1917 onwards, and America's participation in the war, which left American Irish in a less certain position, did its influence decline.'



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