West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Gerry Kelly to address Tyrone County Easter commemoration

Published: 31 March, 2012

The MLA for North Belfast and Long Kesh escapee, Gerry Kelly will be the main speaker at this year's Tyrone County commemoration in Carrickmore on Easter Sunday.

The county commemoration, along with over 40 local mobilisations are being organised by the Tyrone SF Commemoration committee. This includes a County commemoration in Coalisland on Easter Saturday (3pm) which will be addressed by Derry MLA, Martina Anderson. Belfast Councillor and former POW, Jim 'Flash' Mc Veigh will deliver the oration at Ardboe on Easter Saturday at 1pm.

Speaking at the launch of the commemorative programme of events in the Garden of Remembrance on Thursday evening, the chair of the organising committee, Cllr Sean Begley said:

'This year marks the 96th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Nationally and internationally thousands of Republicans will mobilise to remember this defining moment in Irish history.

'In this part of Ireland, the Tyrone Sinn Féin Commemoration Committee has organised over forty mobilisations to mark this anniversary and to commemorate all Republicans who have played their part in every generation in the struggle for Irish freedom.

'We are exceptionally proud that the book 'Tyrone's Struggle' which was commissioned by our committee has been published during the past year. This was a huge undertaking which involved 10 years of painstaking research, but is a fitting tribute to all of our patriot dead and their families.

The event was attended by Republicans from across Tyrone, including the chair of South and East Tyrone Sinn Féin, Paul Kelly who said 'This is a hugely important and symbolic year for Republicans. Not only are we commemorating the 96th anniversary of the Rising, we are also commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs.

'On Friday 8th May 1987, 8 young volunteers of the East Tyrone Brigade were killed in action by British forces at Loughgall. The SAS also executed a civilian during the ambush. The attack at Loughgall had a huge impact on the Republican community. Areas like Cappagh and Galbally, where four of the lads came from were particularly affected, while the Republicans of Dungannon, Moy and in the neighbouring counties of Armagh and Monaghan were stunned at the deaths of good friends, neighbours and comrades.

'For the IRA, it was the biggest single loss of life since the Clonmult ambush in County Cork on 21st February 1921. On that occasion 12 volunteers were killed and 2 died later from injuries.

'We have a programme of events organised in May to remember the volunteers and we are calling on all Republicans to mobilise for these events as well as the Easter commemorations this weekend.

Also speaking at the Garden of Remembrance, was newly elected Councillor and long time Republican activist, Sean Donnelly. According to Cllr Donnelly, 'In every generation, Tyrone has played its part in the struggle for Irish freedom.

'In particular, this includes the families of the 56 IRA volunteers of the Tyrone Brigade and the 3 Sinn Féin activists who laid down their lives in the most recent phase of struggle. They and their families are always uppermost in our minds, particularly at Easter time.

'The commemoration committee have put together a wide range of events this Easter to celebrate and commemorate the sacrifice of those who have played their part in the Struggle for Irish Freedom.

'In addition to commemorations, the story of Tyrone POW's will be told through an exhibition which will be on display in the Patrician Hall on Easter Sunday, ahead of the annual County commemoration. The exhibition, which consists of artefacts, memorabilia and interview footage was commissioned by Republican ex Prisoners Group, Eirí Ná Gréine in conjunction with the Coalisland & Clonoe Republican ex Prisoners group and will be open to the public from 2pm.

Councillor Donnelly concluded 'I am calling on all Republicans to make a special effort to attend the county commemorations and as many local commemorations as possible this weekend. I am also calling on nationally minded people to proudly wear the Easter lily.

For full details of all commemorative events, log on to www.tyronecommemorations.com