Michael Flannery was born in 1902 in Co. Tipperary, Ireland into a
staunchly Republican family with a long history of opposition to
the British occupation of Ireland. At the age of 14, while
attending Mount St. Joseph's Monastic School in Knocksheegowna,
he was forced to flee to avoid being arrested by the Royal Irish
Constabulary who had begun a campaign of incarcerating family
members of Republican activists at the behest of the British.
After evading capture, Mike joined the North Tipperary Brigade
of the Irish Republican Army. Before his fifteenth birthday he
took an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic and fought in
the Irish War of Independence..
After the infamous Treaty of
1922, which partitioned Ireland into two sectarian states, Mike
took up arms again, this time against the forces of the Irish
Free State. He did so as he was unwilling to break his oath of
allegiance to the Irish Republic and accept anything less than a
free and united Ireland. He was subsequently captured and
imprisoned by forces of the Irish Free State. After two years in
Mountjoy Jail, he and his comrades went on hunger strike seeking
political prisoner status. He was subsequently freed in 1924.
Mike immigrated to America in
1927. During his early years in America he met and married his
wife Margaret "Pearl" Eagan who was also involved in the fight
for Irish freedom. Down through the decades, Mike assisted
Republican activists who sought refuge in America including
Ernie O'Malley in the late 20s, Andy Cooney in the early 50s and
others in the 70s and 80s.
Mike was a member of several
organizations including the Tipperary Men's Association, the
Gaelic Athletic Association and Clann na Gael. He was also a
co-founder of Irish Northern Aid. In 1982, together with George
Harrison, Patrick Mullin, Daniel Gormley and Thomas Falvey he
was acquitted of sending arms to the IRA.
During the trial in Brooklyn he
lectured the federal prosecutor about American history by
demonstrating an impressive knowledge of the American
Revolutionary war and particularly the role of the Colonel
Edward Hand (from Clyduff, Offaly) who led a small rear-guard
force in a series of brilliant but difficult-to-execute delaying
actions in the face of a large English force at the Battle of
Princeton, thus allowing General Washington to barely escape
envelopment while his entire army was returning to its winter
home-base back across the Delaware River to the security Valley
Throughout his life Mike sent aid and encouragement to those
refusing to accept the British occupation of Ireland or
acknowledge the legitimacy of two sectarian states, the products
of partition. Not only did Mike rebuff those who abandoned
Republican principles in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 60s; he, together
with George Harrison, characterized the 'Provos' abandonment of
Republican principles in 1986 as the "same old departure". After
returning from a visit to Ireland in 1987, Mike along with
George Harrison and Joe Stynes founded Cumann na Saoirse
Naisiunta - The National Irish Freedom Committee to carry the
torch of Irish Republicanism in America.
Mike passed away on September
29, 1994. He was a true son of Ireland and a worthy citizen of
his adopted country, the United States of America. Mike's legacy
lives on and the torch of Irish Freedom that he carried
throughout his entire life continues to burn brightly.
cemetery AND grave location
NAME: Mount St Mary's
Cemetery PHONE NO. (718)
ADDRESS: 17200 Booth Memorial Ave, Flushing, NY 11365.
GRAVE LOCATION: Division 7.
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