West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Republicans to commemorate Martin Hurson's 30th Anniversary.

Published: 28 June, 2011

Republicans from Tyrone and neighbouring counties are expected to converge in Galbally on Wednesday 13th July to mark the 30th anniversary of the death on hunger strike of Martin Hurson.

His sacrifice and that of his 9 comrades is also commemorated on the National Hunger Strike exhibition which will be on display in Galbally Community Centre on 13th July from 12pm until 9pm.

The 30th anniversary commemoration is being organised by the Fergal O Hanlon/Martin Hurson Sinn Féin Cumann, with the support of the Tyrone SF Commemoration Committee.

Speaking at the launch of the events, the chair of Sinn Féin in Galbally and Cappagh, Paul Kelly said:

'The 13th of July is Tyrone Volunteers day, when we commemorate all of the people from this county who have given their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom. It has added significance this year, because it falls on the 30th anniversary of Martin Hurson's death.

'The people of this area are immensely proud of the bravery and courage of our neighbour, Martin Hurson. During the hunger strike, this area, like many others parts of the country, was a hive of activity with nightly protests and vigils in support of the hunger strikers.

'Local people who were around that time, will remember the nightly rosary at Beechline, the hunger strike marches and torchlight processions, not only in Galbally, but in other areas, such as Pomeroy, Dungannon, Donaghmore and Carrickmore.

'Martin's courage and selflessness inspired many others to get involved in the struggle, and many from this area took up arms and got involved politically in pursuit of freedom and Irish re-unification.

Unfortunately, in Galbally/Cappagh and in other Republican communities, many young men and women gave their lives and it is imperative that we commemorate their bravery and show our support for their families.

Also speaking at the launch, Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Gillespie said 'Reflecting back on 1981, like most people, I am full of emotion. I remember voting for Bobby Sands and the surge of elation that was experienced when he was elected. This brought hope that the situation in Long Kesh could be resolved and the lad's lives could be saved.

'I vividly remember the frustration when Martin narrowly missed out on taking a seat in the Longford/Westmeath constituency. Above all, I recall a sense of deep sadness, mixed with pride as the 10 men bravely gave their lives in defiance at the Brits attempts to label them as criminals.

Cllr Gillespie concluded 'Whilst extremely proud, we are ever conscious of the hurt experienced by the Hurson family and all families who lost loved ones in the struggle. We will always stand in solidarity with the families of our patriot dead as we prepare to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike'.

The parade leaves Galbally Community Centre at 6pm following the annual Martin Hurson football tournament (women's final 2pm; men's final 4pm) and proceeds to the Republican monument in Cappagh where the main speaker is Francie Molloy MLA.