17 December 2009 Edition
Fógraí bháis: Tom Fitzpatrick
IT was with sadness and loss that the entire Inniskeen community heard of the death of Tom Fitzpatrick on 10 September. Tom of Candlefort, Inniskeen was in bad health for some time but nevertheless his death left a deep feeling of sadness in the community.
Tom was born in 1930, his mother was Nan O’Neill, Anaghad and his father, Tommy Fitzpatrick came from Cavan. In his young days he was a keen Gaelic footballer. In 1947 he went to work in the engineering works on the railway in Dundalk.
A great republican all his life Tom Fitzpatrick sold Easter Lilies from a very early age and played his part for the cause of Irish freedom. He saw and understood the plight of Irish people living under British rule. He joined the IRA in 1954 and held the position of OC of the Inniskeen unit. Areas of operation included Dundalk, Newry, Cullaville and Inniskeen. It was under his command that many operations took place along the South Armagh/Louth border, until in February 1958 he was arrested on the Concession Road by the B-Specials and incarcerated in Crumlin Road Jail. During his time spent there he met and became good friends with Joe Cahill.
He was released in 1961. Work was very scarce at the time and like many others Tom was forced to leave and go to England. Thankfully he returned home after a number of years to his native Inniskeen where he was a very valued member of the republican community there. He and his good friend Pat Lynch were held in very high esteem among members of the local Meegan/Harvey Sinn Féin Cumann. Many a good night they had with Tom telling them of the IRA’s ‘50s campaign, the local active service unit, operations carried out and while attending training camps, meeting Fergal O’ Hanlon from Monaghan and the tragedy of Edentubber.
Tom supported the Republican Movement all his life from the age of 14 until his death at the age of 78. In 2006 he was presented with the South Monaghan Sinn Féin Honouree’s award.
Tom Fitzpatrick lived a full and active life and loved all things Irish, Gaelic football and his community. He enjoyed a drink and loved the craic with the locals.
As his remains were moved from St. Mary’s Church, Inniskeen to his final resting place his coffin was draped with the Tricolour, a fitting tribute to a great republican and a very courageous man. Tom you are dearly missed.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
BY NOEL KEELAN