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28 July 2005 Edition

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Dan Joe Murphy - Staunch North Kerry republican dies

The Republican Movement in North Kerry lost one of its staunchest members earlier this year, when Dan Joe Murphy of Kilmorna, died on 16 March after a short illness.

Dan Joe was born on 9 October 1958 and was a life-long republican. Like so many others from North Kerry, Dan Joe emigrated in his 20s to seek work in England, but returned home after a short time to help out on the family farm. He was particularly active in his local area, tirelessly raising funds for republican prisoners' dependents. He was also a reliable and consistent worker for Sinn Féin in the Duagh and Kilmorna areas as the party built its electoral base in North Kerry both in local and national elections. Of course, this hard work was rewarded with the election of Martin Ferris as Sinn Féin TD for North Kerry, an event that Dan Joe often referred to as one of the happiest days of his life, since he bore great regard for Martin Ferris, a respect that was amply reciprocated. The breakdown of the electoral returns strongly suggest that Dan Joe contributed greatly to that electoral victory, since the Duagh and Kilmorna areas returned a strong republican mandate.

Dan Joe was also particularly successful in drawing in others in his area to work with the Republican Movement, swelling the ranks of Sinn Féin's election team with electoral helpers, drawn into political activity through the strength of his political convictions as well as his popularity and respect in the area. Dan Joe worked in the forestry for many years, where he was very much at home with nature, the hare, the pheasant, the hen harrier, snipe and lark, were his constant companions, as well as his much loved dog Coillte.

Dan Joe was very active in Duagh GAA Club with whom he played, and he was also a winning selector with recent minor and under-21 teams. He had also recently become manager of the Duagh junior team. Dan followed Kerry teams on many journeys to Croke Park, and also travelled regularly to Fleadhanna Cheoil, as he was a great lover of traditional Irish music. Arising from his active involvement with the Sullivan/Enright Cumann in Listowel Dan Joe attended as a delegate to many Sinn Féin Ard Fheis as well as being a regular participant in the annual Wolfe Tone commemorations in Bodenstown.

Large crowds attended his funeral, an apt testimony to his popularity and high esteem in his local community. His coffin was draped with the Tricolour. At the funeral mass in Duagh, three things symbolic of the three pillars central to Dan Joes life were brought to the altar, a traditional Irish musical instrument, a football, and a framed photograph of the H-Block Martyrs.

His loss to the Republican Movement in North Kerry is inestimable, but his steady, and consistent political work in his locality has ensured that an active band of people in his area is now politically active. Dan Joe Murphy sowed the Republican seed in many a local mind, through activities such as mobilising local people for the republican commemorations held regularly in North Kerry, most notably that to the martyrs of Gortaglanna near his native Duagh.

We think of him as living in the hearts of those he touched, for nothing loved is ever lost. Grieve not for him. Speak not a word of sorrow. Although his eyes saw not his country's glory, the service of his day shall make our tomorrow.

An Phoblacht Magazine


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