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2 April 2012 Edition

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Sperrins hike to commemorate the Loughgall Martyrs

SATURDAY 5 MAY | WWW.SPERRINSCHALLENGE.COM

• Loughall Martyrs: IRA Volunteers Declan Arthurs, Séamus Donnelly, Tony Gormley, Eugene Kelly, Paddy Kelly, Jim Lynagh, Pádraig McKearney and Gerard O’Callaghan

Commemorative Lecture From Clonmult to Loughgall ‘The IRA’s War Against the British Army in Ireland’ Guest speakers: Seán Hughes and Arnie O’Connell 8pm Monday 7 May, The Ryandale, Moy Fáilte roimh gach duine

TYRONE REPUBLICANS are preparing to scale the highest peaks of Counties Derry and Tyrone in a 12-mile trek over the Sperrin Mountains to mark the 25th anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs. Eight IRA Volunteers and a civilian were killed in an SAS ambush at the joint British Army/RUC base in Loughgall village on 8 May 1987.

The mountain hike is being organised by the Tyrone Sinn Féin Commemoration Committee as part of a programme of events to honour Ireland’s patriot dead.

Announcing details of the commemorative event, Councillor Seán Begley (committee chair) recalled that the attack at Loughgall had a huge impact on the republican community across Ireland. For the IRA was the biggest loss of life since the Clonmult ambush in County Cork on 21 February 1921 when 12 Volunteers were killed in the initial battle and another two died later from injuries. Councillor Begley said:

“All of the Volunteers killed at Loughgall were highly regarded within their local communities and beyond. They were much-loved sons, brothers, husbands, partners and fathers and we feel it is important that their courage and sacrifice is always remembered.”

The sponsored walk in the Sperrins commences at 10am on Saturday 5 May and is open to everyone. Exact details of the terrain and how to register can be accessed online by logging on to www.sperrinschallenge.com.

The hike will follow a route from Sperrin village and along the county border with Derry before finally descending to Aughabrack.

The path chosen consists of nine peaks in memory of the nine men who lost their lives on that fateful evening at Loughgall. The peaks include Sawel (678ft), the highest point in County Derry, and Mullaghclogha (635ft), the highest point in County Tyrone. Participants can finish at a 5-mile staging post or continue the 12-mile hike back to Aughabrack.

Councillor Begley said:

“This is the second year of the Sperrins Challenge. Last year we dedicated it to the 1981 Hunger Strikers whose 30th anniversary occurred then. It is fitting that this year’s event will take place on the anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

“As chair of the organising committee, I am calling on all republicans and Gaels to remember the courage and sacrifice of the Loughgall Martyrs and to take part in this unique event to commemorate their lives.”

For details of other events go to www.tyronecommemorations.com or www.sperrinschallenge.com

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