Vice Chair Crowley, Local Elected Officials, Irish-American Community Mark 100th Anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rising with Tree Dedication

April 23, 2016
Press Release

Crowley Remembers Irish-American New Yorkers Who Played Key Role in Establishment of Irish Free State

(Queens, N.Y.)  – Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, was joined by local elected officials and leaders of New York’s Irish-American community for a tree dedication ceremony to mark the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising by Irish republicans to end British rule and establish an independent Irish Republic. The Callery Pear tree was planted in Sabba Park, in the heart of the Sunnyside-Woodside area, home to one of the borough’s largest Irish-American communities.

“The Easter Rising of 1916 was a turning point in Ireland’s history - and for the diaspora living in the United States and in particular here in New York, its significance continues to loom large,” said Rep. Crowley. “This tree will serve as a remembrance for the Irish patriots who sacrificed their lives for freedom as well as the support that came from New York’s Irish-Americans - whose participation was critical in the movement. I thank NYC Parks and Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski for her role in helping us recognize this special occasion.”

Named for starting on Easter Monday, April 24th 1916, the armed rebellion lasted for six days during which the Proclamation of the Republic was read, declaring Ireland’s independence. The insurrection, which resulted in hundreds of casualties, reignited a movement which led to the formation of the Irish Free State some six years later.

Irish-America’s role in Ireland’s struggle for freedom proved instrumental as a support network, which included American labor unions and Irish-American nationalists living in the United States which helped finance the movement.

“Trees beautify our city, clean the air we breathe, and stand as living memorials to remind us of the past,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “I am honored to join Representative Crowley and members of Queens’ Irish community today to reflect on the Easter Rising by planting a Callery Pear in Sabba Park.”

“I am proud to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland,” said NYS Senator Michael Gianaris. “This tree will now serve as a symbolic commemorative for Irish-Americans as well as others to honor the brave men and women who died fighting for Irish freedom.”

“My thanks to Congressman Joseph Crowley on this wonderful commemoration,” said NYS Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.  “This tree dedication ceremony is a wonderful way to remember an important historical event as well as the many contributions Irish Americans have made to our country and our communities of Western Queens.”

“I am very proud to be a part of the tree dedication commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland,” said NYS Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst). “This was an important event in Irish history which paved the way for Irish Independence, and the Irish-American community living in New York played a critical role in the movement. New York City and Ireland have strong social and historical ties, and a huge number of New Yorkers, including myself, identify as having Irish heritage. Today, we celebrate the achievements of the Irish people.”

“The communities of Sunnyside‎ and Woodside have long been the proud home of so many Irish and Irish-Americans in New York City,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “I am happy to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rising in Woodside and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for independence.”

“This tree dedication is a fitting tribute to those who fought and lost their lives during Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising," said NYC Council Irish Caucus Chairperson Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “I am pleased to join Congressman Crowley in honoring the memories of these courageous women and men--including many New Yorkers of Irish decent--whose support helped secure independence for the Republic of Ireland.”

“This tree planting represents new life, symbolic of the new beginning that our Irish ancestors embarked on 100 years ago. They fought to make things right, to make better their lives and better opportunities for themselves and for their children. I am proud to be Irish-American and honor their journey today,” said NYC Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

“Community Board No. 2 congratulates Congressman Joe Crowley for honoring and recognizing the 1916 uprising of Irish patriots that initiated a series of events resulting in Irish independence in 1922,” said Queens Community Board 2 Chair, Patrick O’Brien. “It resonates not only in song and verse but also in the hearts of many Irish and Irish-Americans, and bears witness to the timeless struggle of all peoples to be free and independent as well as to the courage and conviction of those who fought to gain those freedoms for themselves, their families, and their countrymen.”

“On behalf of Queen's New York Irish Center, I am delighted that Congressman Crowley, who takes great pride in his Irish ancestry and is a true and steadfast friend of our community, is marking the occasion of the centenary of Dublin's 1916 Rising against British oppression, by planting a tree, a symbol of hope for both Ireland's future and that of the United States,” said New York Irish Center Executive Director, Paul Finnegan.

“This commemoration provides us with an opportunity to reflect on a critical time in Irish history and to newly appreciate what our shared heritage, the legacy of 1916, means to us,” said Queens College Irish Studies Oral History Project Director, Eileen Colleran Sprague. “The tree will serve as a lasting remembrance of the men and women of the 1916 Rising. It will also represent our rich cultural roots and future community growth.”

Congressman Crowley is the nine-term representative from the 14th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives.