2 July 2010
Pádraig Barton - An inspiring young republican
IT WAS with great shock and sadness that young republicans from across Ireland learned of the tragic death of Derry Ógra Shinn Féin activist Pádraig Barton.
Pádraig was involved in an accident outside Derry City in the early hours of Sunday morning, June 6th, and tragically passed away in Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday, June 7th.
Pádraig was a well-known, extremely dedicated and likeable Ógra activist who will be fondly and proudly remembered by the many who met him, whether on their travels to the annual Bloody Sunday Weekend, at the Hunger-Strike Republican Youth Weekend two years ago in Derry, or the many national Ógra Shinn Féin events which he attended. He was also a seller of An Phoblacht from the age of 11.
He will be particularly remembered by the close-knit, Na Fianna Martyrs Ógra Cumann in Derry City whose activists are stricken with grief at the loss of such a great young fella in the prime of his life.
Pádraig, came from a family steeped in republican politics. His grandfather was republican stalwart Seán Keenan; his uncle, Óglach Colm Keenan, was killed unarmed with his comrade, Óglach Eugene Mc Gillan; he has had relatives imprisoned for their role in the struggle and his family has endured the harassment and degradation wrought by the British state during the most recent phase of the conflict.
Therefore it was no surprise that Pádraig would become a republican activist.
At just 13 years of age Padraig was one of the founding members of the Derry republican youth group ‘Toirsire’ which later became Na Fianna Martyrs Ogra Shinn Fein Cumann, he showed himself to be particularly able and dedicated, always being a man of his word and participating and playing as active a role as he could a quality which didn't go unnoticed by the Republican Movement in Derry when in 2008 Padraiag was chosen as one of the honorees at the annual Derry Volunteers Commemorative Dinner Dance where he was acknowledged for his contribution to the struggle.
Although quiet and reserved in nature, Pádraig always left a strong impression on those around him by his strong work ethic and his well-mannered approach to life endeared him to everyone.
Pádraig lived for many things: his friends and family, his beloved Stoke City FC, and republicanism, which he embraced through his activism in Ógra Shinn Féin.
He was an easy-going, positive young person who was a constant and a pillar to all because you could always rely on him.
Pádraig was also very intelligent and academically astute, having just completed his A-Levels in St Columb’s, Derry, and was set for going to university.
He had so much more to contribute in life, so much more to achieve, all of which makes his sudden death more heartbreakingly tragic.
On the day of his funeral, Pádraig’s remains left his cherished Brandywell home, the Irish national flag draping his coffin, and his Ógra Shinn Féin comrades providing a guard of honour, accompanying him on his final journey through the streets of Derry.
It is hard to describe our collective sense of regret, sorrow and loss at the death of Pádraig, and we want to extend the deepest and most heartfelt condolences and sympathies to his family and friends in this difficult time.
We are buoyed by his memory. We are extremely proud and honoured to have worked with and known such an inspirational and gifted young man, and we will do all in our utmost to keep his memory alive and to achieve all that he strived for in his short yet full life.
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An initiative for dialogue
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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures