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24 November 2017

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Sadness at death of Mike McGinley – Gerry Adams TD

● Mike McGinley – always campaigning in and for Irish-America

Mike never sought recognition for his work

I HAVE KNOWN Mike McGinley for many years. He was a stalwart in Irish-America, raising issues affecting prisoners, justice issues and the Peace Process.

Mike was a native of Eskra, in County Tyrone, and had been a member of Clan na Gael since the early 1970s.

He emigrated to America as a young man more than 50 years ago and started work on the buses, becoming an active trade unionist.

Mike was also an astute businessman and was soon running his own business, the famous Breffni Inn in Sunnyside.

It was in the 1980s that Mike’s organisational skills and strength of character came to the fore. The escalating conflict in the North and the Hunger Strikes in the H-Blocks and Armagh women’s prison captured the headlines and Mike was among those who campaigned on these issues.

Mike was also involved in the MacBride Principles campaign for fair employment.

With so many people leaving Ireland in search of work, Mike and Clann na Gael helped provide much-needed information and advice for newly arrived immigrants.

I last saw Mike at the opening of the impressive Rockland GAA club in July. His daughter Kate found Rita O’Hare and me down at the field and told us “Daddy wants to come down to see you just to say hello.” Ever modest, dignified and unassuming, Mike would not have thought of intruding on us.

Even then it was obvious that Mike was very ill but he remained resolute and strong and was keen to get the latest news from back home.

Mike was passionate about achieving a united Ireland. He never sought recognition for his work. He gave freely of his time and energy, whether it was in support of the political prisoners, helping recent immigrants or working to advance the Peace Process.

Mike will be very much missed by his family but also by the many Irish-Americans and organisations he worked with, and by his friends here in Ireland.

My sincere condolences to his family, his children Kathleen, Maureen, Patrick and John and to his many, many friends.

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