John F.. Curran (1930 – 2003)
John F. Curran, Bergen County Freeholder and first generation Irish American, came by his interest in a united Ireland quite naturally as both his father and uncles served the Republican movement from 1913 to 1923.
New York born and educated, Mr. Curran moved to River Edge, New Jersey in 1963; and continued a political career that had been inspired by the late president, John F. Kennedy. In 1971, he was elected Mayor of River Edge. His election marked the first time a Democrat and an Irish Catholic had held that office. The New York Times called him “The Fighting Mayor” and he has demonstrated the same fighting spirit as a Freeholder. In 1975 he was re-elected, and four years later, he was voted a seat on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Returning as a Freeholder in 1981, Curran was elected by his colleagues in 1984 to serve as Deputy-Director· of the Board of Chosen Freeholders and as Director in 1985.
A hard-working and popular public servant, John was honored by many groups for services to the people of Bergen County. He has also been honored by numerous Irish-American organizations including An Cumann Cabhrach, the Bergen County Irish Association, the New Jersey Gaelic League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish American Social Club, the Bergen County Council of Irish Associations and Clan na Gael for his promotion of our cultural heritage and for his efforts on behalf of Irish Freedom.
In 1984, Mr. Curran traveled to Belfast with Rep. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) on a congressional tact-finding trip. He returned more strongly convinced than ever that the Irish-American community must increase its efforts to achieve that which was denied our parents and grandparents, an Ireland United, Gaelic and Free.
Following are excerpts from a speech by John at an Irish-American Fenian Society Banquet on November 8, 1985
What is it that you and I can do? For it is not enough for us to talk with one another. To speak the same words over and over again, for me, is only a reaffirming of my commitment to the cause, a cause my father and his brothers were committed to in trading [training?] arms in that critical period of Irish history 1913-1923 and thereafter in spirit. What is it about it? But it is not enough to talk to one another. As I have heard Martin Galvin say on many occasions, "We must educate the media". Not an easy task but one we must embark on.
It is our pressure,
individually and collectively, of the Congress of the United
States that will bring the media attention. You as an
individual can have your voices heard. Through these
representatives, you CAN make a difference, each and every
one of you! They must know that for the first time in
recent history, the Irish and the Irish-Americans here in
New Jersey are organizing politically and will support
candidates that are concerned with Irish people and justice
and that cause transcends the political party lines.
Congress must be held accountable to speak out in Washington as well as their districts. If we insist and persist in this endeavor, in concert with millions of others across this country, our resolve will permit us to see in our lifetime, that which has inspired our parent and grandparents; an Ireland united, Gaelic, and free.