Limerickman to re-assert Irish Independence on 94th anniversary

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

IT HAS been a family tradition for 94 years, but one they feel is often overlooked and sidelined historically.

IT HAS been a family tradition for 94 years, but one they feel is often overlooked and sidelined historically.

At noon on Monday, January 21, in the Mansion House in Dublin, Askeaton man Billy McGuire, 69, will reassert the sovereignty of the Irish nation and turn the sovereign seal.

This ritual has been taking place every year since the declaration of Irish Independence by Dail Eireann on January 21, 1919, the first day of the War of Independence.

However, he objects that the ceremony is not open to the public and that only 20 people will be permitted to attend the event in the dining room of the Mansion House.

A letter from the office of the Lord Mayor of Dublin to Mr McGuire also requested that he identify the names of all 20 people attending the ceremony before the event.

As the “owner” of the sovereign seal - an IRB emblem first used in 1919 to symbolise the transition of Ireland from a colony to an independent country - Mr McGuire said January 21 is our independence day, albeit an unofficial one.

This Monday will mark the 94th anniversary of the sovereign republic of Eire, Dail Eireann, its courts and the War of Independence.

“It’s very sad that more people won’t be allowed attend. People are so well behaved, and it’s shocking that people are trying to airbrush this out of history,” he said.

Last year tight security surrounded the “non political event”, with the media also prevented from entering the room.

“It’s not right - everyone should be able to celebrate the sovereignty. It’s time we all stood up for our sovereignty,” he said.

The tradition of “turning the seal” has been passed down from generation to generation in the McGuire family, and Billy took it over from his late father in 1967. The 32 county election of 1918 in Vaughan’s hotel established the sovereignty of the nation and gave rise to democratically elected TDs to Dail Eireann. But the crown of England failed to officially recognise the election and the Government hasn’t formally claimed sovereignty since 1922.