27 May 2006

Davitt remembered by Mayo Labour

Indymedia.ie

By Cllr Keith Martin
May 27, 2006 18:25

A wreath was laid at the foot of the monument which marks the 2nd meeting of what would become the Land League, which took place there in 1879. It was at this meeting that Davitt and Parnell first addressed the public together.

>>Photo: Cllr Keith Martin, Dail Candidate Harry Barrett and Cllr Johnny Mee laying the wreath

Cllrs Johnny Mee and Keith Martin, Dail Candidate Harry Barrett and officers and members of Mayo’s Labour Party Branches gathered on the Newport Road on Saturday to honour Michael Davitt in this week which marks the 90th anniversary of his death.

A wreath was laid at the foot of the monument which marks the 2nd meeting of what would become the Land League, which took place there in 1879. It was at this meeting that Davitt and Parnell first addressed the public together.

Speaking at the ceremony, Westport Branch Chairman, John Tiernan, said “It is only fitting that we remember Michael Davitt here in Westport today. Davitt was a visionary who saw that there was a better way and who devoted his life to achieving social change and better conditions for the farmer and for the worker. It is only appropriate that as we approach the 90th anniversary of his death we remember him and his work.”

Labour’s Dail Candidate Harry Barrett spoke of how “the crossroads on the Newport Road and the Golf Course Road in Westport are the site of a pivotal and often overlooked piece of national history. It was at this crossing that the second meeting of what would become the Land League which took place on the 8 June 1879.”

“From the success of this massive meeting Davitt and Parnell went on to found the Land League of Mayo, in August 1879. It was at the Westport meeting that the farmers of Ireland were told to ‘keep a firm grip on your homesteads and lands’ by Parnell but today we must also keep a firm grip on our quality of life and the equality of opportunity for land ownership. In Mayo and all through Ireland there are too many young people who stand no chance of owning their own home. This must change” concluded Mr Barrett.

Cllr Keith Martin said land ownership was still an issue today and pointed out that before the Labour Party was established there was a Labour movement lead by men like Michael Davitt. “Michael Davitt was a labour leader in Ireland and Britain, and established a weekly paper, 'Labour World' to highlight the plight and views of the workers of the two islands. We should remember all aspects of the man's life on the 90th anniversary of his death” he said.

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