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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

Roger Casement Humanitarian and Irish Patriot

SIR ROGER CASEMENT Humanitarian and Irish Patriot was hanged on August 3rd 1916 for his part in the Easter Rising.

Born in Sandycove, County Dublin he held British consular appointments at various locations in Africa. It was in the Congo that he reported on the Belgian administration's ruthless and systematic abuse of the human rights of the indigenous people. In a posting to South America, he reported on the abuse of workers in the rubber industry in the Putumayo basin in Peru.

This report like the one on the Congo had a considerable impact, gaining Casement international recognition as a humanitarian, his contribution was acknowledged with a knighthood.

By 1911 he opposed the British occupation of Ireland. At the foundation of the Irish Volunteers in November 1913, he became a member of the Provisional Committee.

In 1914 he traveled to the US with the aim of fundraising and procuring weapons for the Irish Volunteers. He was in the US when the Howth Gunners landed their arms. A plan in which he was centrally involved.

Clan na Gael leader John Devoy, who hosted his American tour, put him in contact with the German Ambassador who arranged for him to visit Berlin.

Casement was arrested at Banna Strand in County Kerry on Good Friday 1916, having been put ashore by a German submarine.

Meanwhile, the ship transporting the German rifles he had procured, the Aud, was intercepted by the British Royal Navy off the south coast and scuttled by her captain.

Casement was taken to the Tower of London and tried for “high treason” at the Old Bailey.

British officials circulated private diaries, which detailed Casement's homosexuality in an attempt to discredit him.

He was found guilty of treason and hanged at Pentonville Prison on 3 August 1916.

Enjoy this video about the life and times of humanitarian, diplomat, poet and Irish patriot Sir Roger Casement, 'Lonely Banna Strand' sung by Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield.

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