26 April 2007 Edition

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Short Strand remembers

Hundreds of republicans gathered in the Short Strand in East Belfast on Sunday 15 April to remember those republicans and civilians from the area who lost their lives in the course of the struggle.
Those being especially honoured on Sunday were eight Volunteers and four civilians who were killed in two premature explosions that shocked the republican community in the enclave in 1972.
In the first explosion happened in February 1972 as Volunteers Gerard Bell, Gerard Steele, Robert Dorrian and Joe Magee were travelling in a car in East Belfast. A bomb they were transporting exploded killing all four instantly.
The second, more devastating explosion, occurred in May that same year.
Eight people, four IRA Volunteers and four civilians, were to loose their lives in that blast.
Volunteers Joey Fitzsimmons, Jackie McIlhone, Eddie McDonnell and Martin Engelen died along with John Nugent, Geraldine McMahon, Mary McGreevy and Harry Crawford.
It was clear from Sunday’s turnout that the sacrifice made by those republicans from the area was appreciated by the people of the area.
It was also evident that the spirit of resistance and defiance, that had seen the people of this small area confront the onslaught of sectarian and state violence over the years, was very much alive.
Short Strand republicans are a proud and brave people who stood shoulder to shoulder with each other over the years and that solidarity was evident as they remembered their dead.
Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey who successfully defended his assembly seat in the last election was the main speaker.
Maskey reminded the crowd of the heritage of republican activism that stretched through generations of families from the area.
He spoke of how the people of the area had never lost their commitment to the ideals of republicanism despite the pogroms directed against them by the unionist state and it’s death squads.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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