Sinéad Ennis MLA was speaking following a recent meeting with the Rostrevor based Tom Dunn Society. The South Down MLA was accompanied by a Sinn Féin delegation which include newly elected MP for the area, Chris Hazzard on an informative visit to Rostrevor. The walking tour encompassed some of the sites significant to the life of United Irishman and Rostrevor native Tom Dunn
Following the tour Ennis said:
“The story of Tom, the local hedge school master and Irish Patriot is a truly fascinating part of local history. Through Tom Dunn, the village of Rostrevor and the wider South Down area has a direct link to the United Irish rebellion of 1798. Convicted on flimsy allegations Tom was literally flogged to death by an infamous British Regiment know as the “Ancient Britons.” The same court also ordered the population of Rostrevor to be “rounded up and forced to witness the punishment being inflicted.” Ironically Tom had been offered a pardon if he agreed to turn informer. Refusing, he declared “I will suffer any torture even face death itself rather than be a traitor to my country and my people.”
In her role as Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Culture, Arts and Sport, Sinéad Ennis commended the work of the Tom Dunn Project and expressed her support in their pursuit of a permanent memorial to the memory of the local United Irishman.
“Due to the wealth of history associated with the 1798 Rising, from Saintfield to Ballyholland, there is huge potential to develop a cultural trail detailing the history of this revolutionary period. This project would dovetail perfectly into the Newry Mourne and Down Council’s tourism vision for South Down and attract international attention particularly from the USA, Britain and France.”