2 April 2009 Edition

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Republican ex prisoner group launched in Tyrone

REPUBLICAN ex-prisoners from Mid and West Tyrone will assemble next Saturday, 4 April to officially launch Abhaile Arís – a support organisation for people who have served time in jails as a result of the conflict. The launch will include the official opening of an arts and craft shop on James Street, Omagh at 3pm.
Speaking ahead of the launch, the group’s chairperson and ex Prisoner, Kevin McGrade said “Abhaile Aris, is a support organisation for republican ex-prisoners from this district.
“For the past two years, members have been working closely with similar organisations in Letterkenny and Strabane. After gaining experience and confidence, we have now formed a similar support group in this part of Tyrone.
“At the centre of the project is an arts and crafts shop, which we have been working on for the past 6 months. The shop will stock a wide range of prison related merchandise and educational materials.
“These materials will include handicrafts made by ex POWs along with books, DVDs, posters and various prison related artifacts which will help to raise awareness of the immense sacrifice made by thousands of young men and women who spent years in jails throughout the world because of their political beliefs.

“The shop will be run by the Abhaile Arís committee and all proceeds raised will be used to develop the project. For instance, during the summer we intend to commence the process of recording and archiving the stories of ex POWs from this part of Tyrone. The aim is to educate future generations and those who have not lived through this period of our history.
“The official opening and launch will take place at 3pm. The proceedings will be addressed by ex POW, Bronwyn McGahan who served time in Maghaberry Prison. Bronwyn will reflect on her experiences and those of fellow women prisoners who were incarcerated throughout the course of the conflict.
In conclusion McGrade said “Over the course of the recent conflict, over 18,000 Republicans were imprisoned, in some cases for over 20 years. This has left a lasting legacy which still has to be fully addressed. The overarching aim of this project is to tell the untold stories of ex prisoners and to give insight into the hardship and suffering that they and their families had to endure. As such, I invite all republican ex prisoners, and indeed all members of the community to come along on Saturday to the official launch”.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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