The third Annual Frank Conroy Commemoration was a huge success with a large crowd including Councillors Joanne Pender and Mark Lynch attending the event at the Republican Memorial in Kildare town, on Sunday, 9th November.
Stewart Reddin of the Stoneybatter and Smithfield Peoples’ History Project, introduced the main speakers, historians James Durney and Harry Owens, who spoke of Conroy’s life and struggle.
Conroy, a former IRA volunteer and a member of the Communist Party, left for Spain on 13th December 1936 with about twenty-five other Irish volunteers to join the International Brigades. Within days, six of them were dead, including Conroy.
At Lopera in Cordoba, the Irish in the new International Brigades went into action in the French International Battalion sent south on Christmas Eve 1936. On 28th December, they advanced uphill to a town where they were bombed by enemy planes and heavily machinegunned by the fascists.
The Irish who died that day included Frank Conroy (Kildare), Johnny Meehan (Galway), Henry Boner, Jim Foley, Tony Fox, Leo Green, Michael Nolan, Michael May, Tommy Woods (Dublin). Conroy’s body and those of his dead comrades still lie somewhere in the hills around Lopera.