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1 November 2007 Edition

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November marks Manchester Martyrs' 140th anniversary

NOVEMBER marks the 140th anniversary of the execution of William Allen and Michael O’Brien from Cork and Offaly man Michael Larkin. The three Fenians, hanged in Manchester, England, on 23 November 1867, are popularly known as the Manchester Maryrs.
Allen, Larkin and O’Brien were arrested and jailed  after a failed Fenian rescue of Colonel Thomas J Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy, who were being transported from court to Belle Vue Prison in Manchester. During the rescue, an English policeman, Sergeant Brett, was killed.
Although Brett’s death was accidental, the British courts showed no mercy and sentenced the men to hang even though there was no evidence linking the Irishmen to the operation.
Plans to mark the anniversary of the deaths of the Manchester Martyrs are underway in various parts of Ireland.
Belfast republicans have invited the Sinn Féin Mayor of Bandon in West Cork, John Desmond, to the city where he will address an audience in the Gort na Mona GAA Club. John Desmond has been involved in the campaign to have the remains of the three Irishmen returned to Ireland where they can be laid to rest with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Speaking to An Phoblacht, Paddy Adams of the Gort na Mona Historical Society, and one of the organisers of the event, called on people to support the campaign to have the remains of the men returned home to Ireland.
Adams pointed out that, through his efforts to have the three men brought home, John Desmond uncovered vital information that the remains, having been removed from their prison graves, were cremated and reinterred in Blackley Cemetery.
“We just need to redouble our efforts to force the British Government to identify the men’s remains and allow their friends and families rebury them on Irish soil.”
In Bandon, County Cork, there will be a Manchester Martyrs commemoration on Sunday 18 November. The main speaker will be South Down Sinn Féin MLA Catríona Ruane.

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