30th anniversary of Councillor Eddie Fullerton is commemorated
Sinn Fein leader, Mary Lou McDonald, has backed the calls of the family of the late Councillor Eddie Fullerton for an independent public inquiry into his murder, ‘in the name of truth and justice.’
Today, May 25, marks 30 years since the popular Sinn Fein councillor was shot dead at his home in Buncrana by members of the UDA.
Deputy McDonald was speaking in an online film tribute broadcast to commemorate Councillor Fullerton’s anniversary.
She told how Colr Fullerton, who died at the age of 56, wanted a better future for his community, for his people and for his country.
“He wanted to change Inishowen, he wanted to change Donegal, he wanted to change all of Ireland for the better.”
Eddie Fullerton was the first Sinn Fein member to be elected to Donegal County Council and Deputy McDonald said he ‘embodied what it means to be a proud Irish Republican activist.’
He was someone who had a ‘natural empathy for the struggles of ordinary people and he worked day and night to improve their lives’.
Throughout the film, which was broadcast on the Donegal Sinn Fein Facebook page, the councillor was remembered as a dedicated and learned community man - a popular councillor who ‘always had his eye on the bigger picture’ and as someone who left a ‘legacy.’
“He knew that if you wanted real change, you start where you live. His biggest achievement was the Eddie Fullerton Dam and reservoir, five miles from Buncrana. The supply of water to Inishowen and North Donegal was a major problem that required a solution and Eddie’s ability to listen and advocate led to that solution. Eddie Fullerton moved mountains to deliver sustainable, safe and clean water to his people. To quote (Deputy) Padraig MacLochlainn - ‘what a man, what a legacy.’ If we stand on the shoulders of giants, then republicans in Ireland are standing on the shoulders of Eddie Fullerton.”
There were also contributions from former SF president, Gerry Adams, former Vice President Pat Doherty and TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and SF councillors, Albert Doherty, Terry Crossan, Jack Murray and Gerry Mc Monagle and chair of the Sinn Féin Cumann in Buncrana, Ciaran Mc Guinness.
Eddie’s wife Dinah, daughter Amanda and sister Winnie also talked about their husband, father and brother and Pat the Cope Gallagher former FF TD and Pat Mc Art, former editor of the Derry Journal, also spoke of their personal memories of Eddie.
The eldest of 20 children and a gifted footballer and boxer, Eddie Fullerton was 18 when he moved to Scotland in search of work. He then went to Birmingham, where he met and married his wife, Dinah. They had six children and returned to Buncrana in the mid 70s.
Dinah Fullerton told the film how her husband was ‘always out doing one thing or another for the community’ and said she’d ‘never seen him as happy’ as on the day he received word the dam was to be built. Sadly, that was to be the same day on which he was killed.
Winnie Noone told how she is ‘very proud’ to say she is a sister of Eddie Fullerton’s and there would be ‘queues’ at his door as people looked for his help.
Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn knew Eddie Fullerton from his childhood and told how he was ‘really supportive of young people.’
“He had a special persona.”
Pat McArt recalled how Councillor Fullerton would visit the Journal offices on a Thursday evening and ‘all work would stop’ as Eddie chatted to everyone.
“He was an unbelievable personality.’
Gerry Adams recalled the ‘iconic’ photo of Eddie outside Leinster House. A Labour Minister had refused to meet with the Donegal council delegation due to Eddie’s presence. “He withdrew, as he wanted the issues presented to the Minister, even if it meant he had to leave. He was a formidable champion of the rights of his constituents and didn’t want them to be disenfranchised.”
Amanda Fullerton told the film she feels feel ‘confident and resilient as a campaign entity to bring’ their justice campaign to its conclusion. The film can still be viewed on the Donegal Sinn Fein Facebook page. A rescreening of the TG4 documentary, ‘Fullerton’, will also take place on the page tonight at 7pm, followed by a panel discussion.