9 September 2004 Edition

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Collusion theme as West Tyrone republicans remember fallen comrades

This weekend republicans from Strabane and surrounding areas will be taking part in a series of events to commemorate all those who have given their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom in the West Tyrone area. The main march and commemoration is from Ballycolman Shops to Strabane Cemetery at 2pm on Sunday where Barry McElduff MLA will be Guest Speaker. The theme of this year's commemorative weekend is the ongoing attempts by the British Government to suppress the truth about its policy of collusion.

Sinn Féin Councillor Brian McMahon says they were focussing on collusion "because the apparatus which implemented the policy of collusion between British state forces and their loyalist surrogates remains intact".

This will be highlighted at a debate on the issue of collusion at Sigersons GAA Club House at 8pm on Friday night where Pauline Quinn of An Fhirinne Group will make a video presentation on the issue followed by a discussion led by Guest Speaker Mark Thompson of the Relatives for Justice Group.

On Saturday at 2pm, there will be an anti-collusion protest at Strabane RUC/PSNI Barracks. "We will be highlighting the fact that many of those Special Branch/RUC members who were up to their necks in collusion moved en-masse into the PSNI, with many of them having been promoted into more senior positions within this so-called new policing service," says McMahon.

"I would appeal to everyone who is interested in exposing the truth about Britain's Dirty War in Ireland to support these anti-collusion events."

John Kelly of Strabane National Graves which is organising the main West Tyrone Volunteers Commemoration on Sunday, also called for the people of the area to come out in force to pay tribute to all those local republicans who made the supreme sacrifice.

Following Sunday's Commemoration, Fountain Street will also see the return to Strabane of the Relatives for Justice Remembering Quilt. John Kelly explained:

"Seven quilts, each formed from 49 squares, commemorate over 350 lives. Each square is lovingly created by hand, by family members who wish to remember loved ones lost through the conflict in creative and positive ways. Everyone who sees the quilt is deeply moved and the exhibition has been displayed nationally and internationally."

CAIRDE Republican Ex-Prisoners Group has also organised events as part of the Annual Commemoration weekend. Jarlath Mc Nulty, Training Officer with the Group, said "the large Republican Ex-Prisoner community in the Strabane area have always been to the forefront in making sure that those friends and comrades who have lost their lives during this conflict are not forgotten. In recent years, events organised by CAIRDE have become permanent fixtures of the Commemoration Weekend and this year a lot of effort has gone into making them bigger and better than before. The Annual Jim Mc Aleer Memorial Quiz will follow the debate on collusion at Sigersons Club House on Friday night."

The Family Day at Sigersons Grounds begins on Saturday at 3.30pm. Apart from all the usual fun events, this year will see a new Seven a Side Gaelic Tournament with the winning team receiving the West Tyrone Volunteers‚ Memorial Cup for the next year as well as individual trophies. A large number of teams have already registered to take part, but it is still not too late to register either an all male, all female or mixed team. Following the outdoor events, music will be provided back in the Clubhouse.

Tá fáilte roimh achan duine chuig an lá sproai seo.

An Phoblacht
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