Derry Republican Bobby Kelly: A Tribute
Like many other republicans in the early 70s, Bobby was at the forefront of protests and opposition to internment and British rule in Ireland, and when other work needed to be done Bobby was never found wanting. When Bobby came to live in the Carnhill area he got involved in the Republican structures
His house was always open to republicans no matter what their problems were and his work for the political prisoners and their families was always at the top of his list and ensured that those on the run had a bed for the night.
Bobby and family comes from a long line of Republicans in the city and is steeped in republican history going back to his grandfather Robert McAnaney, who was a Sinn Fein Councillor in the old Derry Corporation in 1920 when the first Nationalist Mayor of Derry Hugh O Doherty was elected.
Those who knew Bobby could trust him with anything he was ask to do. Bobby never shied away from his responsibilities and ensured that the republican struggle continued at a time when many might have faltered. He took a leading role in protests during the Hunger Strikes and was seen standing on many occasions with the late Barney Mc Fadden and other Republicans at Waterloo Place supporting the Political Prisoners struggle in Long Kesh Crumlin road and the Women in Armagh Jail.
He was involved canvassing in the first Assembly Elections when Martin McGuinness won a seat in 1982, and worked in every election there after.
He supported the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement he will always be remembered as someone who led from the front and for the hard work and dedication that he gave to the republican struggle.
He helped with the constituency service at the old caravan in Shantallow and he was the man that the people went to for advice and guidance. He was the first Manager of the Sinn Féin Centre at the Shantallow Shops, he also was the person that suggested at a debate in the Shantallow Cumann on relocating the Republican Monument to where it is today.
Bobby was also a member of the Bronco Bradley committee and helped organise the competition each year.
On many occasions Bobby could be seen at the graves of soldiers of Óglaigh na hÉireann, tending the graves and ensuring they had the respect they deserved. He never forgot his fallen comrades. In fact, he believed that their sacrifice should be a catalyst to spur us on in the pursuit of Irish unity.
We will never forget the role he played in our struggle. at his late age He was in life an inspiration to those around him and in death people will look back on a man who was an example to us all.
On behalf of Sinn Fein in the city, I offer my deepest sympathy to his wife Loretta, son, daughters and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
His friend and comrade Charles McMenamin.