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16 March 2006 Edition

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Fógraí bháis: Tireless campaigner for Inquiry into father's murder

The funeral of Albert Fullerton

The funeral of Albert Fullerton

Albert Fullerton

I met Albert Fullerton six years ago as the 10th anniversary of his father's murder was approaching. I was sent to write a story for this paper. In the succeeding months after the piece was written my car learned the way from Letterkenny to Cockhill in Buncrana. I was always made welcome, as Albert became my tutor in the minutiae of the Eddie Fullerton case.

Born in Birmingham while his Dad was part of the Irish diaspora, Albert was always aware that Ireland, specifically Donegal was home. He had the same drive and determination that made his Dad a tower of strength in Sinn Féin in the 1980s.

A former member of the Fullerton/Mac Lochlainn/ O'Hagan Cumann Buncrana, Albert left Sinn Féin when the Eddie Fullerton Justice Committee was formed in 2003 in order to clearly distinguish the campaign as independent and family led.

As Eddie was taken by a cynical conspiracy Albert was taken from his loved ones by cruel chance. Black ice on an early morning road as he drove his works van to Leitrim to bring the money home for his family.

He was a skilled builder who sang well and played the guitar in several bands. The walls of his home were adorned with watercolours that were his relaxation. His home, whenever I was the guest at his fireside, had the noise of three happy kids and a constantly boiling kettle for visitors.

Albert was also the best teller of the worst jokes that anyone ever met! His cackling laugh was the usual conclusion to having reeled you in for anything up to half an hour.

His sister Mandy in her eulogy at the church recounted one where Albert had built a fence for a woman. As he was jumping into his van and leaving, the woman suddenly had a concern about the fence. She rushed out and asked Albert " was this fence treated?"

"Oh yes." Albert soothed her " I took it out for dinner on Saturday night!"

The cackling laugh was all that the woman could hear has he drive away delighted with himself.

The first thing that Albert bought himself as a lad with his pocket money was an electric guitar. An unreconstructed Status Quo fan, he never gave up the jeans and waistcoat. He was a talented guitarist.

Albert was a determined figure whose attributes included decency, humility, compassion, determination and a mad sense of humour. He was, above all else, a dedicated family man.

He now rests beside the father he loved and fought for.

Albert leaves a space that is impossible to fill. However his family will carry on their search for justice. Albert's sister Mandy found strength from somewhere in her eulogy to Albert, to speak about the justice campaign for "Dad".

She excoriated Michael McDowell's continued obstruction of the family.

The struggle for justice, for this family, will not die with Albert. We owe him and his Dad nothing less.

Councillor Padraig Mac Lochlainn, a friend and comrade of Albert and Eddie, gave the graveside oration.

Albert is survived by his partner Stephanie and by his young sons Ricky, Eamonn, and Bryce.

  • • Albert Fullerton (left) and other family members outside Leinster House, carrying a 1984 photo of Eddie leaving Leinster House after a Labour Minister objected to his presence on a council delegation from Donegal
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An Phoblacht
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