Big crowds are expected in Dungiven this weekend for the annual Kevin Lynch Commemoration, with a parade scheduled for Sunday around the town.
Speaking ahead of the event Sinn Fein Councillor Sean McGlinchey said: “Kevin Lynch died at the age of 25 after 71 days on hunger strike. The hunger strike was a direct response to the attempts of the British Government to criminalise our struggle and our objectives.
“This struggle is still ongoing today and I would urge everyone to come along and support this event to commemorate the death and sacrifice of Kevin Lynch, who along with nine comrades died on hungerstrike in Long Kesh.”
The parade, which starts at 11.30am from Station Road, will be lead by the Kevin Lynch Memorial Flute Band.
In total, 17 bands are expected to take part in the parade, involving 700 participants and 200 supporters, according to the Parades Commission. The event will include a wreath laying followed by speeches in the carpark beside Dungiven chapel.
“Kevin Lynch died in 1981 and is well remembered in his home town. We have Kevin Lynch Park, the hurling club - Kevin captained the Co. Derry U16 hurling team that won the All Ireland - and the flute band named after him and the mural dedicated to him on Main Street,” said Mr. McGlinchey.
“This commemoration is something we do every year and I’ve been asked to make the speech this time. I will speak about Kevin, an INLA Volunteer, and his sacrifices and the effects on his family.”
The parade was originally planned to travel from Station Road through New Street - past the Presbyterian Church - and onto Main Street. However, that has changed, according to Mr. McGlinchey, as there is a church service going on at the time.
“We won’t be going down New Street and, instead, the parade will leave from Station Road and onto Ballyquin Road and onto Main Street and, as we pass the junction of Main Street with New Street none of the bands will be playing any music as a mark of respect for the church.
“I’ve been in consultation with the Kevin Lynch band committee, who are organising the event, to make sure everything passes off peacefully,” said Colr. McGlinchey.
Tomorrow evening, on Saturday at 7.30pm, there will a wreath laying ceremony at the Kevin Lynch memorial in Park, according to Colr. McGlinchey. Kevin Lynch was a native of Park village and the memorial was unveiled in 2011.
During the parade main traffic will be diverted at Claudy and Maghera.