Members of the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen lead the small parade to the Halpin, Moram memorial on the Marsh Road on Sunday morning last.
There was a pitifully small attendance at the annual commemoration ceremony on Sunday in memory of two Drogheda men, Thomas Halpin and Seán Moran, who were shot dead by Black and Tans and their bodies dumped on the Marsh Road on February 9th 1921.
This was the “official” commemoration ceremony of the two murdered men which is organised by the Council and the Mayor of Drogheda each year but there is another, much better attended ceremony held every Easter Sunday which is organised by Sinn Féin. Apart from the Mayor, the only other Councillor present was Pio Smith.
Although he was involved in the organisation of the event Mayor Frank Godfrey didn’t seem to be aware of the procedure and waited at the Marsh Road/Weir Hope junction for everyone else to join him in a parade to the monument.
However, the rest of the attendance, such as it was, was waiting at the monument for the Mayor to join them!
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When he did join the rest of the party, Mayor Godfrey got everyone to walk about 100 metres out the Marsh Road and then march back in parade fashion for the benefit of photographers present with the retired soldiers of the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen (ONE) leading the way.
The commemoration started with a quick prayer and blessing from the Augustinian Prior Colm O’Mahony who had to dash away straight after. It was after all a Sunday which is his busiest day.
Next wreath were laid and then it was over to John McCullen, the President of the Old Drogheda Society who related how the two men were abducted from their homes by “armed raiders with foreign accents”, brought to the Marsh Road under the viaduct and shot in the back.
Both men were members of Sinn Féin and Halpin, although only 25 years old, had recently been elected an Alderman on Drogheda Corporation. He lived in Georges Street with his wife and two children. Moran was also a married man and a father of one child. The two comrades had both been previously interned in Wandsworth Prison.