18 August 2005 Edition

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Restoration of Newry monument

Newry republicans honour Ireland's dead

Newry republicans honour Ireland's dead

During the early hours of Friday 20 August 2004 the Republican Memorial in St Mary's Cemetery in Newry was smashed to pieces by loyalists. It was the latest in a long history of attacks on republican monuments in the area.

Following the desecration of the graves and destruction of memorial headstones dedicated to republicans who lost their lives in the fight for Irish freedom, members of Cumann na nUaigheanna Poblachtacha an Iúir immediately set about the task of restoring a fitting monument as tribute to the fallen Volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Relatives and comrades of the dead Volunteers initiated a vigorous campaign to raise the necessary funds required to erect a new monument. This was complimented by an outpouring of republican unity and support from the community at large. Exactly one year and one week to the day of that destruction the new Republican Memorial will be unveiled in St Mary's Cemetery on Friday 26 August.

The new monument will reflect the ultimate sacrifice made by many Volunteers since the foundation of Óglaigh na hÉireann during the 1916 Rising in Dublin. In total, the group has identified 22 Volunteers whose names have been inscribed on the monument, which will stand as testament to those republicans who lost their lives during all of the armed campaigns by Óglaigh na hÉireann in its attempt to break the connection with England.

This list includes seven Volunteers who died during the 1920s. Volunteers Peter Shields, John O'Hare and William Canning died as a result of an attack on the British Army carried out at the Egyptian Arch, Camlough Road on 13 December 1920.

In 1921 during the months of October and November both Volunteers Hugh O'Hare and Harry McKigney died as a result of accidental shootings.

On 22 April 1923 two brothers from Newry, John and Patrick Quinn, were hiding in a house in Castlebellingham when they were surrounded by a large force of Free State soldiers. Following a fierce gun battle both men were wounded and taken prisoner. One month later Commandant General John Francis Quinn died from wounds received during the gun battle. His remains are interred in St Mary's Cemetery.

Despite the ending of a military campaign in 1923 Volunteer Thomas Carr was shot dead by an RUC man named Tutty, outside Newry Cathedral on Hill Street on Thursday afternoon 12 February 1925.

Another two local Volunteers, Oliver Craven and Paul Smith died at Edentubber on 11 November 1957.

During the period from 1970 to the present day 13 more Volunteers were to die, they are listed as follows,

Volunteer Colm Murtagh

From Drumalane Park. Died on Active Service August 1972

Volunteer Oliver Rowntree

From Monaghan Row Died on Active Service August 1972

Volunteer Patrick Hughes

From Derrybeg Park. Died on Active Service August 1972

Volunteer Noel Madden

From W'Point Road. Died on Active Service August 1972

Volunteer Edward Grant

From Derrybeg Park. Died on Active Service December 1973

Volunteer Brendan Quinn

From Cloughreagh Bessbrook. Died on Active Service December 1973

Volunteer Colman Rowntree

Died on Active Service at Ballyholland May 1974

Volunteer Martin McAlinden

Monaghan Street. Died on Active Service at Ballyholland May 1974

Volunteer Patrick McKeown

From Violet Hill Avenue. Died on Active Service August 1974

Volunteer Michael Hughes

From Derrybeg Park. Died on Active Service October 1974

Volunteer Robert Carr

From Fathom Park. Died of wounds received April 1980.

Volunteer Brendan Watters

From Derrybeg Park. Died on Active Service August 1984

Volunteer Colum Marks

From Parkhead Cres. Died on Active Service in Downpatrick April 1991

The new memorial will be unveiled following a parade to St Mary's Cemetery on Friday 26 August. Assemble at 7pm out side Newry Sports Centre. Speakers are Martin Ferris TD and Conor Murphy MP.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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