26 February 2004 Edition

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Dunloy remembers Hogan and Martin

In one of the largest turnouts of republicans seen in North Antrim in recent years, upwards of 1,000 people, including nine bands, marched through the village of Dunloy to mark the 20th anniversary of the deaths of Volunteers Declan Martin and Henry Hogan.

Among the crowd was the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, who delivered the main address at the Carness Drive memorial to the two Volunteers. Assembly member Conor Murphy from Armagh and many republicans from throughout Counties Antrim and Derry also attended. Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Meehan, representing the National Graves Association, laid a wreath.

Martin and Hogan were Volunteers in the IRA's North Antrim Brigade. They were killed on active service in February 1984 when, as part of an IRA active service unit, they ambushed an undercover SAS unit, which was staked out in the area, killing one British soldier and wounding a second. A third escaped.

Both Volunteers, however, were badly wounded when backup SAS squads opened fire on them. Too severely injured to defend themselves, both were summarily executed by the SAS.

The large crowd gathered outside Dunloy village before marching to St Joseph's Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the graves of the Volunteers.

From there, the crowd marched to the Garden of Remembrance, where the recently-elected Sinn Féin assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan, one of the organisers of the Hogan and Martin Commemoration Weekend, chaired the proceedings.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, who had given the main oration at the grave of Henry Hogan 20 years ago, commended the families and hoped they would take strength from the large attendance.

He reflected on the changes to the political landscape in the Six Counties that have occurred over the past 20 years, especially the election of Philip McGuigan to represent North Antrim — Ian Paisley's constituency.

"Republicans are going from strength to strength in Paisley's heartland," said Adams, "and the DUP faces many challenges but is hiding behind the two governments. The DUP will have to face the courage of its convictions and enter dialogue with Sinn Féin. And when they do go into government, it will be with Sinn Féin and on an all-Ireland basis."

The Sinn Féin President called on republicans not to forget the sacrifices of Henry Hogan and Declan Martin and to keep working to build the peace and to continue plotting our course for freedom, justice and equality.

Sunday's parade was the high point of a weekend of events. A well attended function, featuring the Irish Brigade, took place in the parish hall on Saturday evening, while a football challenge match on Sunday morning saw an All-Star Republican select side take on a Dunloy Senior Football select team.

Although the match ended in a draw, due to a dubious penalty awarded against the All Stars, the event drew a large crowd, which broke the record for a football match in hurling mad Dunloy.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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