Commemorations in Creggan

A series of commemoration events will be held this week to mark the 40th and 30th anniversaries of the deaths of local republicans Eamonn Lafferty and Mickey Devine.

20 year-old Eamonn Lafferty was the first IRA man in Derry to be shot dead by the British army during a gun battle in Kildrum Gardens, Creggan, on August 18th 1971. He was one of the leaders of the IRA in the city at the time of his death.

INLA hunger striker Mickey Devine died in Long Kesh on August 20th, 1982 after 60 days without food. He had been the OC of the INLA prisoners in Long kesh before joining the protest.

The events will include a lecture, exhibition, and wreath layings.

A spokesperson for the committee organising the events said it was important to remember the two republicans.

“These are key anniversaries which held significant consequences locally and nationally in terms of the direction of the republican struggle.

“We want to encapsulate that journey from conflict to the peace process and the adoption of new strategies and tactics within that journey,” he said.

The spokesperson also said the events will look at the legacy of the hunger strike among prisoners. “There have been many events in relation to the hunger strike era but for the first time we have IRA prison leaders like Bobby Storey, Laurence McKeown, and Raymond McCartney talking about the prison struggle inside the prison after the hunger strike ended and a memorial lecture by Martin McGuinness.”

The commemorations will begin at 1pm on Thursday with a wreath laying at Kildrum Gardens where Eamonn Lafferty was killed. Later that evening Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness will deliver the memorial lecture in the Creggan Sports Hall at 7pm. On Saturday the National Hunger Strike Exhibition will be staged in the Guildhall from 2pm and a plaque will be unveiled at Rathkeele Way, where Mickey Devine lived, at 7pm. Saturday will also see the former IRA prison leaders Raymond McCartney, Laurence McKeown, and Bobby Storey taking part in a panel discussion chaired by Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Great James’ Street, at 8pm.