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Fighting 69th Monument Unveiled In County Sligo

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Irish History Forum Discussion:     Fighting 69th Monument Unveiled In County Sligo

Later today the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, will travel to Co Sligo to unveil a monument to the US army's 69th Fighting Irish Regiment.

“I am very grateful to all the civic and political leaders in Ireland who have been so understanding of our situation -– and so gracious in rescheduling the visit,” said Bloomberg.

“I look forward to meeting with them and helping to unveil the monument to the Fighting 69th, New York’s legendary Irish Brigade. No other city in the world owes so much to Ireland, and no other nation has so benefited from the bravery and valor of Irish soldiers. A monument on Irish soil honoring all those who have served in the Fighting 69th will be a fitting tribute to its members and the roots they have in that very soil.”

After a breakfast reception at the Sligo City Hall at 8 a.m. there will be a speech at the dedication ceremony at 11.am in Ballymote in County Sligo.

The ceremony is for Ireland’s National Monument to the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment, New York National Guard and one of its most famous leaders, Brigadier General Michael Corcoran, the Carrowkeel native who, as a 22-year old, left Famine-stricken Sligo for America in 1848.

The groundwork for Ireland's national monument to The Fighting 69th was laid 43 years ago President JFK In Ireland when John F Kennedy addressed the Dáil Éireann on June 28, 1963, and presented a Union flag from the American Civil War to the people of Ireland.

Incorporated at the base of the monument will be original steel from the Twin Towers, presented by the Michael F. Lynch Foundation, which honored the memory of firefighter Michael F. Lynch, who died alongside many other rescue workers in the aftermath of the horrific September 11 attack.

Almost 200 people are traveling from New York to Ireland for the occasion, as well as at least two TV crews, and a press contingent, which will travel together in a special press bus behind the mayor’s cavalcade from the Ballymote unveiling ceremony to Sligo City Hall.

The Garda are expecting anti-war protests because the current 69th Infantry Regiment has served in Iraq. Recent comments by Bloomberg on the fighting in the Middle East led to one member of Sligo County Council calling for a ban on the visit.

Local councilor Declan Bree suggested that someone other than Bloomberg should be invited to unveil the monument because of what Bree said was Bloomberg’s support for “the Israeli war of aggression” against Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Dail (Irish Parliament) Deputy John Perry is the chief organizer of the event, while Irish radio personality Adrian Flannelly has been handling details on this side.

“It’s a 19th century Irish American story coming back to Ireland,” Perry said.

Among those in attendance will be Sligo native Paul Tuffy, representing New York GAA, and Sligo native Pat Timlin, former deputy chief of police in the Bronx, New York. Over 1,000 people are expected to attend next Tuesday’s event. Irish Dancing Celebrity Michael Flatley, whose father hails from Co. Sligo, and Matt Molloy of The Chieftains

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