THE Ireland of today is "but a very pale and poor shadow of what Liam Lynch's vision for it was."
Those were the words of senior council Dr John O'Mahony delivered during his oration at the graveside of General Lynch last Sunday in Kilcrumper Graveyard near Fermoy.
More than 300 people attended the annual commemoration to mark the 89th anniversary of the death of General Liam Lynch, one of the pivotal figures in the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War.
Dr O'Mahony told the assembled crowd that patriots such as Lynch would be disappointed by the Ireland of today, despite the fact that some progress has been made since his untimely and tragic death.
"What kind of Ireland did Liam Lynch and the great Irish patriots of his time struggle and fight for? Was it and Ireland of greed - no it wasn't. Was it an Ireland where, by its laws, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer - no it wasn't. Was it an Ireland where those in apposition of power would abuse that power to enrich themselves and their friends - no it wasn't," said Dr O'Mahony.
"Let us return to an Ireland of honour, decency and integrity. Let us respect our flag, our language and our culture in all forms. Let our primary concern be the integrity of our nation. Let the great and unselfish spirit of those who fought for our freedom be given the primacy of place that it deserves," he implored.
Dr O'Mahony said the role of Irish patriots such as General Liam Lynch should not be diminished by revisionists, but instead serve as "an example and inspiration to the Ireland of today".
"Certainly efforts and some progress had been made since his death. However, look at our country today. It is but a very pale and poor shadow of what Liam Lynch's vision for it was," said Dr O'Mahony.
He said that deregulation and what is euphemistically termed "the markets" have taken control of Europe, including Ireland, which has resulted in economies being destroyed by "out of control capitalists".
"These pirates in pinstripes, using financial deregulation and financial models, have deceived millions and stripped the wealth of Ireland and many European nations and beyond," said Dr O'Mahony.
"This is not the system for which Liam Lynch fought for freedom and served his country. The inspired leadership and indomitable spirit of our martyred forbears would not have stood for this plundering and exploitation of countries and communities, which deserved much better," he added.