Pictured: Paul Reynolds took this snap of John Connors with Damien Dempsey at the recent Moore St demonstrations. While inset is a picture of John’s ancestor Patrick Ward.
Not all the heroes of 1916 became household names. So, we might run an infrequent series this year to highlight some of those we come across. Actor John Connors shared this story of his ancestor Patrick Ward.
It goes like this:
‘This is my great grand father Patrick Ward who fought in the 1916 rising, the war of independence and on the anti treaty side in the civil war. He fought for the equal rights and equal opportunity’s the proclamation promised.
In 1942 he was brutally murdered in Athlone by a local land owner by the name of Joseph Lee who accused him of snaring rabbits on his land.
Mr Lee was quoted in the local paper saying as he entered the Gardai station
“I lost the head today. I shot a tinker and blew his head off.”
Mr Lee served six months in prison because it was as true back then as it still is today, Travellers’ lives just don’t matter.’
John has been the recipient of much abuse online, due to highlighting the inequality and racism that Travellers face in Ireland. See this Irish Times report for more.