13 September 2007 Edition
The death occurred in Limerick on 22 August last of former republican prisoner Robert (Bobby) McNamara. Aged 62, he had been ill for some time.
Originally from the Garryowen area of Limerick City, Bobby had been active in the Republican Movement since the beginning of the early 1970s. In February 1975 he was arrested in Youghal, County Cork for republican activity along with Martin Ferris and Danny O’Sullivan of Kerry. On St. Patrick’s Day that year he was wounded by gunfire while taking part in an attempted mass escape from Portlaoise Prison during which Volunteer Tom Smith of Dublin was shot dead by Free State troops. He was among the 22 republican prisoners who engaged in a 47 day hunger-strike in 1977 in protest at the cruel and vindictive regime in the prison operated by the Fine Gael/Labour government led by Liam Cosgrave.
He went his own way politically when he disagreed with the decision by Sinn Féin at its 1986 Árd Fheis to end the abstentionist policy with respect to Leinster House. However, this did not make him bitter against former comrades with whom he remained on friendly terms.
Following his marriage to Geraldine Wills of a well known South Tipperary republican family, he lived in Tipperary Town for many years and it was there that he was taken to his final resting place.
Among the large attendance at the removal in Limerick and the funeral in Tipperary were many former comrades and republican prisoners, including Martin Ferris, TD.
Bobby’s prowess on the Gaelic sports field in earlier years was given due recognition by the presence at his funeral of an honour guard from Claughaun GAA Club in Limerick.
The Republican Movement extends its sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
BY Padraig Malone