Garden of tribute to hunger strikers and local republicans to be launched
A garden of tribute in memory of the 1981 hunger strikers and local republicans who have passed away over the past 50 years is to be launched in Creggan on Sunday.
The event will take place at a new mural dedicated to the memory of George McBrearty who was aged 24 when he was shot dead by the British Army alongside his friend Charles ‘Pop’ Maguire (20) at the bottom of Southway in 1981.
John Crawley, a former IRA gun-runner and POW who is the author of the current publication ‘The Yank’, will chair the event.
Thomas ‘Dixie’ Elliott, who was a cellmate of the 1981 hunger strikers Bobby Sands and Thomas McElwee, will be the main speaker.
The official launch was delayed as a result of COVID-19 and illness but is due to finally take place this Sunday, October 2, at 2pm at the junction of Rinmore Gardens and Lislane Drive where a mural of George looks over a native silver birch tree - Crann na Poblachta (Tree of the Republic) and the Proclamation of the Republic.
George’s brother Danny encouraged all republicans to come along to what he described as an ‘all-inclusive republican event’.
“We are having this commemoration because we will always remember the fallen martyrs of the republican struggle. We will never shy away from remembering them, regardless of what some nationalist politicians might say. We as a family believe that in the future the memory of people who gave their lives, especially over the past 50 years, will be swept under the carpet and nobody will be remembered. Although that’s what some might be planning on doing, we won’t allow it,” he said.
The new garden and Tree of the Republic will always be there in Creggan as a place of remembrance, he added.
“The hunger strikers and Volunteers and some of their comrades will be remembered through a montage around the Proclamation of the Republic. It is the same Proclamation that our 1916 leaders died for. They all died for a 32 County Republic, both our generation and their generation. They died for the same aim of a Republic, not any watered-down version of it.”
Mr. McBrearty believes Creggan’s Crann na Poblachta is the first of its kind but said that he hopes it is not the last.
“It is the only one in the country as of now. We hope that this commemoration can be replicated, especially across the north.
“We are remembering those of this generation, of the past 50 years, who have passed on. We hope it is replicated throughout the north,” Mr. McBrearty concluded.