On Sunday December 16 in Kildare Town, Kildare Republican Sinn Féin held a commemoration to mark the 90th anniversary of the executions of seven soldiers of the Irish Republican Army by Free State Army. The executions took place in the Glasshouse on the Curragh on December 19 1922. The commemoration began at 2 pm with a parade, led by a colour party, from the Square in Kildare Town to Grey Abbey Cemetery. The ceremony at the Republican Plot was chaired by the An tUachtarán Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton and began with the laying of two wreaths. Anne Origan, Newbridge, a grandniece of Commandant Bryan Moore, laid the first wreath on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin. The second wreath was laid by Kevin Kavanagh, Co Wexford, on behalf of the South East Comhairle Ceantair of Republican Sinn Féin. This was followed by a minute’s silence and a dipping of the flag. Róisín Hayden, Dublin, read the Four Courts Proclamation, issued by the Republican leadership at the beginning of the war in defence of the All-Ireland Republic of 1922-23.
Republican Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Seán Dolan, Co Westmeath gave the oration. He briefly outlined the events leading up to the executions of the seven IRA Volunteers. “These men dedicated their lives to the cause of the All-Ireland Republic and died in its defence. The recent riots in Belfast and across the Six Counties as well as the latest revelations relating to the murder by a British backed loyalist death-squad of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, all point to the fact that only a full British withdrawal and the creation of a New Ireland north and south can deliver a just and lasting peace.” Seán Dolan said.
The seven members of the Rathbride Column executed were : Patrick Bagnall and Patrick Mangan, Fairgreen, Kildare; Joseph Johnston, Station Road, Kildare; Bryan Moore and Patrick Nolan, Rathbride, Kildare; Stephen White, Abbey St. Kildare and James O’ Connor, Bansha, Co. Tipperary. This was the single biggest execution of the civil war or counter-revolution of 1922-23. An eighth member of the column, Commandant Thomas Behan of Rathangan died at the scene of their capture in Mooresbridge on December 12 1922 as a result of the beating he received from Free State soldiers. The Free State Army later tried to cover up his murder by claiming he was “shot while trying to escape” from the Glass House.