Former Limerick minister Tom O'Donnell, 90, honours Sean Wall

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Former Limerick minister Tom O'Donnell, 90, honours Sean Wall

Former minister, Tom O’Donnell who laid the wreath at the Sean Wall commemoration ceremony in Bruff

FORMER MEP and minister, Tom O’Donnell was the guest of honour at Easter Sunday’s Sean Wall commemoration.

Mr Wall, one of the most significant commanders in the region during the War of Independence, is remembered in Bruff every Sunday.

Born in Ardykeohane, Bruff in 1888, he was killed in action following an attack by a raiding party on a house in Annacarty in May 1921. He was married with a young family.

Around 1944, a committee of former IRA members set about erecting the memorial, which was finally unveiled in October 1952 by President Sean T O'Kelly.

The ceremony on Easter Sunday has been running for decades. Mr O’Donnell’s nephew, Cllr Bill O’Donnell said his uncle was “honoured” and “delighted” to be asked to lay the wreath at the annual ceremony.

Mr O’Donnell, now aged 90, served as TD for Limerick East from 1961 until 1987 and was Minister for the Gaeltacht from 1973-1977. He was an MEP for Munster from 1979 to 1987.

Cllr O’Donnell said, like every year, it was a “brief but dignified ceremony”.

It was a tale of three Toms, as Tom Meaney, chairman of the Sean Wall committee, spoke and Tom Bulfin read the proclamation.

Mr Meaney touched on the success of last year’s ceremonies in Bruff and their erection of large portraits of the16 men executed as a result of the Easter Rising. These stood for eight months without anybody laying a finger on them.

It was a great sign of respect, said Mr Meaney.

Fr John Daly said a decade of the rosary before Christy O’Connor, and his comrades in the ONE, raised the Irish flag, played The Last Post and the national anthem.

Cllr O’Donnell said the former TD and minister, Michael J Noonan was fondly remembered on Easter Sunday in Bruff. 

“He was the driving force behind the Sean Wall memorial ceremony for many years,” said Cllr O’Donnell.

In 2012, Mr Noonan said: “The years may dull the memories of the enormity of the fight, and the pain suffered, borne with courage.”

He would be proud to see the Sean Wall committee and the people of Bruff continuing to honour those who have gone before us but have shaped our lives today.

Cllr O’Donnell praised the hard working committee for their efforts in keeping the monument and its surroundings looking immaculate all year around.

Mr Wall was also chairman of the Limerick County Council and had a significant involvement in several developments including creameries in the county.