Ellen Farley (1929 – 2000)
Ellen Farley nee Monaghan was born in 1929 in East Orange, New Jersey, and worked there with her late mother Agnes at the Hotel Suburban. She was a legal secretary in the Law Department of the City of Newark before becoming a Superior Court clerk and Chief Civil Assignment Clerk for Essex County Superior Court. She married Peter Farley in 1949 and they and had four children.
Ellen and Peter were frequent visitors to Ireland since the early stages of the present struggle for Ireland's freedom from British occupation and became totally involved from then on.
Many of' Ellen and Peter friends in Ireland were involved in the struggle for Irish reunification. As a result of their extensive travels throughout Ireland they knew its boreens as well as they knew the highways of America. During their many visits they broke bread with prominent Irish Republican leaders including Mary Ward" Ruairi and Sean O'Bradaigh. They also were friends with other departed leaders including Sean Mac Stiophan, Daithia O'Connail, Maire Drum and Pat Ward. Those leaders valued Peter and Ellen 's friendship and appreciated their insight into the state of the republican movement in America.
Ellen and Peter were a team. They had many friends here and in Ireland and were as much at home in the company of prominent politicians as they were in the company of peers. They could astutely judge the character of an individual by his/her words, gestures or behavior. In 1986 they were the first to realize that something was amiss with the new leadership of Sino Fein in Ireland. They sensed that something sinister as brewing after the Sinn Fein convention was highjacked and the previous leadership ousted. They were right. It turned out that the agenda of the new leadership had more to do with maintaining a United Kingdom than with achieving a united Ireland. And so it goes
They attended many Republican events and visually recorded them and conducted interviews with Republican leaders. These included the funeral of 1916 Veteran Joe Clarke in Dublin and interviews with Máire Drumm, Comdt General Tom Maguire, Seán Keenan, Dáithí Ó Conaill and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.
Following Máire Drumm's assassination by pro-British death squads in 1976 Ellen and Peter's recordings were used by the US media and received worldwide coverage.
During the 1980-81 hunger strikes Ellen coordinated publicity tours, recorded interviews with blanketmen and women and interviewed US Republican activists including Michael Flannery.
Ellen made her home a safe haven for Irish Republicans for many years in Newark, New Jersey and, since 1987, in Point Pleasant. She was a valued distributor of Republican Sinn Féin publicity material in the US from the newspaper SAOIRSE to press statements, faxes and e-mails.
Ellen and Peter Farley were two of the first voices in the US to support Republican Sinn Féin in 1986. Up to the time of her death she was active in supporting the Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund, CABHAIR and in promoting ÉIRE NUA the original peace process. She frequently contributed reports of events in the US to this newspaper.
A close friend in the US paid tribute by saying that Ellen and Peter exemplified the true meaning of love, marriage and family. Mary Ward, Donegal, represented Irish Republicans at their 50th wedding anniversary in New Jersey in 1998. That year Ellen and Peter were also the US Honorees at the CABHAIR Annual Testimonial Dinner in Dublin in aid of Republican prisoners.