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13 October 2005 Edition

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Large crowd pays respects to author, playwright and republican

The funeral of Brian Campbell on Tuesday 11th October last

The funeral of Brian Campbell on Tuesday 11th October last

The tributes paid to Brian Campbell at his funeral on Tuesday 11 October marked the esteem in which he was held by so many people. Brian died from a suspected heart attack on Saturday 8 October.

Republicans have found it hard to believe that someone, so full of life and energy, could be struck down with no warning and with such finality. The shock felt by the republican family is mirrored by the heartbreak and massive loss felt by Brian's wife Gráinne and two young children Niall and Mairéad and the Campbell family.

The turnout of many former POWs at the funeral reflected the bond Brian had with the prisoners he spent time with in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

Before Brian's remains left his home for the journey to Monkshill Cemetery mourners held a service reflecting on Brian's life and celebrating his achievements.

Former H-Block Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown, who collaborated with Brian on a number of films and plays which told the story of the 1981 Hunger Strikers, reflected on his work with Brian and the many hours they spent walking Slieve Gullion Mountain.

Michael Hillen, Brian's life-long friend, who was arrested with him in 1986, remembered growing up with Brian and spoke of their hurling escapades. The Chairperson of the Newry Mitchell's GAC also hailed Brian's prowess on the football field.

Brian's mother spoke and read a poem in tribute to her son.

When Gráinne recited from the Lament for Art O'Leary, those listening got a glimpse of the loss and devastation she felt.

A republican Guard of Honour and Guards of Honour of former POWs and members the Mitchell's GAC, led the funeral cortege.

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Murphy delivered the oration. He spoke of Brian's contribution to the republican struggle and his work as a playwright. He paid tribute to Brian's work within Sinn Féin and his role in plotting the strategy that saw the party take the Newry and Armagh Westminster seat.

Brian's funeral was a fitting tribute to a man whose life was about building an Ireland based on freedom and equality. That is how he will be remembered.

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