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1 September 2013 Edition

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Kevin ‘The Tailor’ MacCann, Tyrone

Fógraí Bháis

Kevin played Gaelic football for Trillick and for Tyrone minors and was regarded as a tricky corner forward in his day.

KEVIN ‘THE TAILOR’ MacCANN was a well-known musician, farmer and republican activist in the Trillick area of County Tyrone.

Kevin died on 27 July, a few hours short of his 92nd birthday. Kevin was was born in July 1921, the youngest child of Paul and Catherine Mac Cann (née McGurren), and named after Kevin Barry.

Kevin was interned in Crumlin Road Prison, Belfast, in the 1950s and was a committed and active republican for most of his life. In recent years, Kevin was happy to act as a polling agent for Sinn Féin candidates such as Peter Kelly in local elections. He saw this as a natural continuation of the struggle in the 1950s when he led training camps in the Wicklow Mountains.

In more recent times, people sensed that Kevin was very involved but no one ever knew his business. Kevin’s comrades have said that many Volunteers trusted him with their lives and that he was always steady and reliable. This was the serious side to Kevin, you might say, because Kevin was famous as a prankster with, at times, an outrageous sense of humour. Kevin was a very intelligent man and won a scholarship to attend further education at the age of 14.

For many years, Kevin was a professional musician with the Moonlight Dance Band, particularly expert on the 5-row button accordion and the electric bass guitar. He enjoyed bantering with Kerry legends like Joe Keohane who then came to Tyrone in the 1980s in support of the Hunger Strikers.

In his later years, Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann presented Kevin with an award in recognition of a lifetime’s “service and dedication to the promotion of Ireland’s native culture”.

Kevin played Gaelic football for Trillick and for Tyrone minors and was regarded as a tricky corner forward in his day.

It was very poignant to hear the air of Kevin Barry being played in St McCartan’s Chapel, Trillick, as Kevin’s remains were carried out for his final journey. At his graveside, local Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff gave a fitting oration.

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