Yesterday afternoon in Galbally, Co. Tyrone, the PH Pearse Society Galbally-Cappagh marked the 35th anniversary of IRA Hungerstriker Martin Hurson, holding a Wreathlaying Ceremony in the local graveyard where he lies buried.
From Aughnaskea in Cappagh, Martin died on 13th July 1981 after 46 days on the Hungerstrike, laying down his life for his fellow prisoners, that their ‘five demands’ for political status be recognised by a British government bent on casting the war for Irish Freedom as criminal. They did not succeed.
Now in its fifth year, the event was especially notable for the prominence of young people – not only in the crowd but regards the running of the commemoration itself. Seventeen year-old Megan Wylie, a niece of local Volunteer Malcolm Nugent, Chaired proceedings, assisted by Dwayne Tierney, who began by reading The 1916 Proclamation.
Wreaths were then laid on behalf of the PH Pearse Society Galbally-Cappagh, Friends and Comrades, Tyrone National Graves Association, the James Connolly Society Killeshil and the 1916 Societies. Notably, the Killeshil wreath was laid by Kerrie Quinn, a young republican of only 16. It is fantastic to see the youth emerging in the area, to witness their preparedness to take on responsibility and carry forward the long campaign for Irish Independence.
Tiernan Quinn then read the Hungerstrike Roll of Honour, accompanied by a lament on the whistle by Rhiannon Quinn, before John Regan, a nephew of Martin Hurson, lowered the National Flag, again to a lament by Rhiannon Quinn. There then was a minute’s silence in memory of all who gave their lives for Irish Freedom before proceedings were drawn to a close with the singing of our National Anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, by Caron Brannigan.
Speaking afterwards, local Chair Siobhan Nugent told of her pride to see such a large crowd in attendance, ‘proof positive that men like Martin Hurson, who gave their all in the struggle for our country’s freedom, have not been forgotten and live on in the memory of the people in this area’.
She also remarked how it was:
especially pleasing to see so many young people in attendance, in particular to see them take ownership of the event itself. The future for Irish republicanism is certainly in good hands and we go from here today more determined than ever to see the All-Ireland Republic, the birthright of our people and for which so many paid the supreme sacrifice, finally and at last realised.