The IRSP and Teach Na Failte wish to thank all who participated in the immensely successful events which marked what is becoming an established memorial weekend for fallen INLA Freedom Fighters Dominic & Mary McGlinchey.
The first rays of the summer sun came out to greet the annual memorial march on Saturday 4th of April, which as in other years stretched from the Deerpark Road through the centre of Bellaghy village and on to serene churchyard of St Marys, the final resting place of Dominic and Mary, as well as to some of Irelands other greatest Freedom Fighters; including martyred hunger strikers Francis Hughes and Thomas Thomas McElwee.
Attended by Republican and Socialist supporters from around Ireland and the world, the march was greeted by local people along the way swelling the numbers to a sizeable contingent of several hundred.
During the ceremony a Republican Socialist colour party stood guard while wreaths were laid on behalf of several comradely organisations, including IRSP, Republican Sinn Féin, the INLA and various travelling flute bands who had made the effort to attend the ceremony.
During the commemoration a short oration was read out by Declan McGlinchey – son of Dominic & Mary – during which he paid a special tribute to who he called the ‘unsung heroes’ of the Irish Freedom Struggle, those men and women from the locality who assisted in the provision of daily support and logistics, but who until now had been rarely mentioned alongside the names of the fallen volunteers, even though many now lie alongside them.
It was a sentiment that gained agreement and acknowledgement from those in attendance. Following Declan’s oration the formation of a new IRSP (South Derry) Cumann was also announced, aptly named after comrades Dominic & Mary McGlinchey.
Following the successful commemoration, in the afternoon a memorial lecture and debate was held in the nearby Elk Hotel, the theme of which was ‘Human Rights in Maghaberry Prison and the ongoing fight to implement the August 2010 Agreement, to ensure a basic standard of decent living for Republican prisoners in the Gaol.
IRSP member Michael McLaughlin gave an extensive run down on the talks process which occurred behind the scenes and in the backdrop of the ongoing ‘dirty protest’ and which led to the August Agreement, while former Republican Socialist Prisoner Sean Carlin provided those in attendance with a perspective of protesting prisoner, giving a harrowing account of reality within the walls of Row House and the brutal and vindictive nature of the regime there.
Also speaking on the panel were representatives from the Cogús Prisoner support group who read a statement from current incarcerated Republican prisoners as a contribution to the debate, as well as progressive left wing TD Thomas Pringle, who himself was also party to negotiating the August Agreement.
As well speaking on his own efforts to secure human rights and Justice in Maghaberry, Thomas Pringle gave a worthy insight into the ongoing Class Struggles in the 26 Counties, including the campaign to resist Water Charges and Austerity in general.
Following the panel talk, a lengthy ‘Questions and Answers’ session took place, with contributions from the floor quickly contributing to a frank and open debate, which was described later as ‘much needed and long overdue’. Topics broached included the need to push on to secure the August Agreement as well as the prospect of ‘Republican Unity’ in general.
Participants from the floor included leading members of the 32CSM, RSF, RNU, IRSP, Human Rights Solicitors, former H-Block blanketmen and even Journalists, providing for an immensely productive and well informed debate.
Following the days successful events, an evening function was held back in Bellaghy where participants rested and were entertained by well known Revolutionary Balladeer Pol McAdaim.
All in all this year’s McGlinchey memorial weekend was an immense success and provides a format for what should prove to be a useful and anticipated series of yearly events. The IRSP and the McGlinchey family would like to thank all those who took part and helped to make it such a successful event.