Crowds of people, from all over Ireland, travelled to Dungannon at the weekend to witness the unveiling of a new statue, crafted by local artist Darren Sutton to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Thomas Clarke.
The event was organised by the Thomas Clarke Society and was the culmination of years of work by the Dungannon organisation towards honouring the man described as “a great Irish Patriot”.
Messages of support were also received from as far away as Australia and the US.
Dungannon Independent councillor, Barry Monteith, one of those who has been closely involved in the work, explained: “Time has, unfortunately, beaten us in our efforts to develop a permanent location for the statue in time for his anniversary. Moving forward, the Thomas Clarke Society will continue to work to finalise a permanent site for the statue and a fitting memorial to all of Dungannon’s Patriot Dead.”
Speaking at the commemoration on Sunday, Cllr Monteith told the crowds who had gathered: “This is a proud day for the ancient town of Dungannon as we remember our most famous son. Thomas Clarke, the first signatory on the 1916 Proclamation, and the ‘mind behind the Rising’, was one of our own. This statue is great tribute to a great Irish Patriot.
“Thomas Clarke’s name along with those of his fellow signatories – is ingrained into the Irish psyche. They are the founding fathers of the Republic we all hope to build. The bravery and sacrifice shown by these men and their comrades have been an inspiration to the Irish people since 1916.”
The statue unveiling was followed by a rendition of the newly composed ballad, “Our Own Rebel Hero – the Bold Thomas Clarke”, as well as the poetry and writings of Thomas Clarke.
Meanwhile, today, Tuesday May 3, a Torchlit Procession will begin on the New Well Road in the town and proceed to Ann Street, assembling at 9.30pm on Thomas Clarke’s 100th anniversary.