Liam Mellows was born in Manchester in 1859 to an Irish mother and English father. He grew up in Co. Wexford, staying there to attend to his ill grandfather. He later went into military training, but then went on to work in Dublin where he joined Fianna Eireann (young Republicans group).
It was in Fianna Eireann that he met and earned great respect from James Connolly.
After a short time of service in the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and Fianna Eireann, he co-founded the Irish Volunteers, whose primary purpose was to protect the Rights and Liberties of the Irish people.
He was given command over the Western Division of the Irish Republican Army for the duration of the Easter Rising. During his campaign in the West he liberated the town of Athenry (of Galway) and launched successful attacks on Royal Irish Constabulary of Oranmore and Clarinbridge.
In 1921 he stood up in protest of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, considering it to be an attack on Irish Sovereignty and culture. Wikipedia quotes him saying something we could apply to our joining of the EEC and our failure to reject the European Constitution:
We do not seek to make this country a materially great country at the expense of its honour in any way whatsoever. We would rather have this country poor and indigent, we would rather have the people of Ireland eking out a poor existence on the soil; as long as they possessed their souls, their minds, and their honour. This fight has been for something more than the fleshpots of Empire.
Liam Mellows can be considered as one of the great defenders of the West. He’s still remembered by the inhabitants of Athenry (Galway) and has an educational institution as his namesake. Mellows reminds us of our precious Sovereignty and cultural identity. Something that magnetised Joe to him.