31 July 1997 Edition

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Fógraí bháis

Joe Burns

It was with deep sorrow that the people of Sligo, especially the republican community, learned of the death of Joe Burns. A native of Sligo Town it was here that Joe passed away on the 16 July after a lengthy illness that he bore with great fortitude.

A staunch republican activist, Joe joined Sinn Féin in the early seventies and played an active role in very facet of the organisation in Sligo county. From selling An Phoblacht to the people in his street or being the Director of Elections when Sinn Féin won two seats on Sligo Corporation, no job was too big or small for Joe and for many years he served as Chairperson of Sligo Sinn Féin. Joe was also a longtime prison visitor and both he and his wife Mary would regularlyl travel to Portlaoise prison to see `their boys'. Indeed it was a testament to Joe and Mary's commitment to the republican prisoners that many ex-POWs were present for Joe's funeral ceremony.

Joe's republican activities did not preclude him rom being involved in his local community. He was a vocal spokespersons for the Temple Street/St. Patrick's Tce. Residents association dn was a member of the Board of Management of the MCR/ST. Bridget's/St. Joseph's Community Centre. A keen sport fan, he supported Sligo Rovers all his life, following them all around the country and he served as chairperson of their Supporters Club for some time.

Joe was brought to his final resting place on Friday, July 18. His tri-colour draped coffin was accompanied by a guard of honour consisting of Joe's republican comrades. In his graveside oration Alderman Sean MacManus, a longtime friend of Joe's, paid tribute to the role he had played over many years.

``Joe epitomised everything that is best in republicanism, he loved his country dn most importantly he loved the people of this island. His actions as ar republican were always guided by his desire that all Irish people, of all religious and political backgrounds would come together in a untied country, free of British interference. He desired peace in our land, not just the absence of war but a real and just settlement which would bring equality and self-determination. He was a true friend and comrade who enriched the lives of those who knew him. He will be deeply missed here in Sligo and further afield. We have a responsible to successfully conclude the work to which Joe dedicated os much of his life.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1