8 March 2007 Edition

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Barnes/McCormick 68th anniversary

BY JONATHON O’MEARA

Republicans from across Leinster gathered in the small town of Banagher, County Offaly recently to celebrate and commemorate the lives of two brave volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann – Peter Barnes and James McCormick.
The commemoration was addressed by Sinn Féin general election candidate for Laois/Offaly, Brian Stanley.
This year marks the 68th anniversary of the execution of the two Volunteers and it is a testament to the republican tradition that so many people throughout the province, especially young republicans turned out in numbers to honour our patriot dead.
On Ash Wednesday, 7 February 1940, Company Captain Peter Barnes from Banagher and Staff Captain James McCormick of Mullingar were hanged at Winson Green Prison, Birmingham, for an offence they did not commit. Unjustly put to death, the question of their guilt or innocence was irrelevant to the authorities, as long as British ‘justice’ had sufficient evidence to save its face and give it a pretext for judicial murder.
From the moment of Peter Barnes’ arrest until his hanging, he always protested his innocence but his efforts were in vain.
Speaking at the Commemoration, Chairperson of the Michael Larkin Cumann, Sinn Féin in Birr, Con Gath said: “The anniversary of Barnes and McCormick is a date that will never be forgotten by the members of Sinn Féin. Unlike other political parties on this island we have never turned our back on our patriots.
“Peter Barnes and James McCormick are names that should be remembered like the martyrs of 1916 and the men who died in the H-Block of Long Kesh and by your presence here today you are keeping that Fenian spirit alive.”
Concluding the commemoration, Con thanked all the people who attended, including the Ed O’Brien Flute band from Wexford, the Colour Party from County Longford and Councillor Brian Stanley.

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