05 June 2006

Republicans pay tribute to volunteers


BY Aine McEntee

Hundreds of republicans gathered in Beechmount yesterday (Sunday) to pay tribute to deceased IRA volunteers and Sinn Féin activists from the area.

In bright sunshine plaques in their honour were unveiled at a specially designed garden in Beechmount Avenue while two trumpeters played a lament.

The garden was designed and built by the Mid-Falls Commemoration Committee and was given a solemn blessing by Fr Des Wilson.

The local priest told the family and friends of those who had gathered for the event that the commemorative garden will serve as a reminder of the tremendous sacrifice people from the area had offered up during the struggle for freedom.

“It’s wonderfully fitting that their memory will be alive for years to come,” Fr Des said.

“We bless this holy place and may God bless this place and keep it safe.”
Former republican prisoner Danny Morrison, who also addressed the crowd, paid tribute to the Mid-Falls Commemoration Committee for all their hard work over the past three years.

He told the crowd they were right to be proud of the people who gave so much to the republican struggle.

“This area didn’t ask for loyalists to come in and murder our people, this area didn’t want the British Army, and so we slowly turned towards the IRA and Sinn Féin for leadership.

“The struggle was long and it was brutal. People of the nationalist community were killed because of their religion or where they came from.

“I am so proud of what this area produced. In the end the conflict produced a risen people, who know what they want and it’s only right we honour our dead.”

The wife of Stan Carberry said she thought the garden was a fitting tribute to those who had died. Gemma Carberry’s husband was shot in the back by the British Army in November 1972 on the Falls Road.

“I think this is a really nice tribute. I think it’s fitting that those who died are remembered in this way, and they’re all mentioned together.”

During the special service, children of the mid-Falls held aloft pictures of all those who are honoured in the garden. Families also laid wreaths.

Well-known republican and hunger striker, Pat McGeown, who died in October 1996, was given a special mention by guest speaker, ex-blanketman Pat Sheehan.

Pat McGeown joined the 1981 hunger strike on July 9 but was taken off the strike by his family after 42 days without food. He died having never fully recovered from his ordeal.

Pat’s son Sean said he felt honoured to witness the unveiling of the garden.
“I think this is a welcome recognition of those who have given so much, and others who have given their lives to the republican struggle. I’m delighted with the tribute and I think it’s very appropriate given it’s the 25th anniversary of the hunger strikes.”

Local Sinn Féin councillors Tom Hartley, Fra McCann and Chrissie Mhic Giolla Mhin were among those who attended the event on Sunday. Also there was Dublin councillor Larry O’Toole, whose area of the capital is twinned with the Falls.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

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