West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Frank Ward Graveside Commemoration in Carrickmore

Published: 9 April, 2012

The Commemoration at the Graveside of Frank Ward was chaired by the current chairperson of the Frank Ward/Joe Mc Garrity Cumann, Barry McNally. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Óglaigh Na hÉireann, the local Sinn Féin Cumann and on the grave of Margaret Mc Elduff. A wreath was also laid for all Republican dead in the Graveyard in Carrickmore.
Local Councillor Anne Marie Fitzgerald read the 1916 proclamation whilst Peadar McNally read the Tyrone Roll of honour and Roll of Remembrance. Máire Grogan recited a decade of the rosary before West Tyrone Councillor Glenn Campbell gave the main oration. In the course of his remarks Glenn said:
'We owe a great deal to the men and women of 1916 and those who followed their footsteps in the years since. Their selfless dedication and courage is an inspiration to us all. We must ensure that their efforts were not in vain. We must deliver the United Ireland that they envisaged and fought so hard to achieve.
'Over the past century Carrickmore and the surrounding area have played a significant role in the struggle for Irish Freedom. It was Carrickmore man, Joe Mc Garrity, who amongst other things provided the finance for Rodger Casement's shipment of arms ahead of the Easter Rising as well as other shipments. It is accepted by those involved that without Mc Garrity's involvement, the rising wouldn't have happened. Joe Mc Garrity also kept some of the leaders when they went to America ahead of the rising to raise funds. It is fitting that, in recent years, the local Sinn Fein Cumann added his name to the Cumann to acknowledge the significant role he played in the cause of Irish freedom.
'Dr Patrick Mc Cartan, also from Carrickmore, was one of a handful of people tasked with mobilising volunteers throughout Ulster for the rising. So, Carrickmore has a strong connection to the Easter Rising and its people have remained committed to the Republican Struggle in the years since.
'Frank Ward, whose grave we gather at today, died on April 6 1922. He took part in many ambushes and raids including two raids on RUC barracks in Pomeroy and Mountfield. At the time of his death, an IRA Unit was dismantling a bridge in the Dunamore area in order to restrict the movements of British Forces in the area. After being stumbled upon by a patrol of B specials a gun battle broke out.
'Frank Ward engaged directly with the Specials using firearms. In the shootout he was hit twice and badly wounded. Helped from the scene by his comrades he was brought to a house in Donaghmore. The following day he was captured by British Military Forces and was taken to hospital in Belfast, where he died of his injuries on April 6th 1922. One of the B-Specials, Major McKnight died the same day after being shot by Frank Ward in the shoot out.
'Many others from this area played their part in struggle for Irish Freedom in the years since and we are immensely proud of our patriot dead and of their families and by gathering here today we re-affirm and re-enforce that sense of pride.
'Although the Irish Republic proclaimed at the GPO in Dublin has not yet been achieved, the process of attaining it is ongoing. We still have a lot of work to do. It is only when we achieve our primary objective of Irish reunification that we will have built a lasting monument to all of Ireland's Patriot Dead'.