Alfie Hannaway, who died on Wednesday 5 April, will be sadly missed by republicans throughout Ireland and through generations, as he has been active in the struggle since the 1930s. Alfie, who had been ill for some time, passed away in Belfast's City Hospital, aged 77.
Born in 1922 in Inkerman Street off Belfast's Falls Road, Alfie was raised in a staunch republican family and he remained a devoted republican up until the time of his death. He was also known for his love of the Irish language.
As a teenager in 1936, he joined the Con Colbert Slua of Na Fianna Éireann, which was located in the Clonard Area of West Belfast. Showing great commitment and dedication, he went on to become OC of the Slua. It was Alfie who recruited Tom Williams, his great friend and neighbour, into the Slua as a young Fianna Volunteer.
Later, Alfie joined ``C'' Company, Oglaigh na hÉireann, still located in the Clonard area, and although he achieved a certain superiority in the Army, he still stayed within the ranks of the Fianna.
Alfie was targeted and marked for arrest by the RUC and in the round up of republicans in 1940 he was interned in Derry Gaol. He was later moved to the prison ship ``Al Rawdah'', anchored in Strangford Lough, before being moved to Belfast Gaol, where he was held until after the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Remaining committed to his republican ideals, Alfie joined the National Graves Association in Belfast and was a member for 40 years. He was its Honorary Secretary when he died.
Under Alfie, one of the major projects undertaken by the Association was the campaign to have the remains of Volunteer Tom Williams reinterred in Milltown Cemetery. He took a very prominent part in the campaign and as secretary, signed the affidavit asking for the release of Tom Williams.
In fact, one of Alfie's last public appearances was to go into Crumlin Road Jail, in December 1998, with a delegation from the Belfast National Graves Association. They visited Tom Williams' prison grave, where Alfie movingly recited a decade of the rosary.
It was one of his lifetime ambitions to see Tom Williams get a Christian burial in Milltown Cemetery. Unfortunately, Alfie's deteriorating health prevented him being present at the Williams' funeral. It is poignant that just months after the reburial of his comrade Tom, Alfie should pass away.
Deepest sympathy is extended to his loving wife Susan, his sons and daughters and his large family circle. I measc laochra na nGael a bhfuil sé.
It is with deep regret that we record the death of Bernie Meehan, Carrickport, Kilturbid, County Leitrim, who died on 8 March 2000 in his 90th year.
To his wife, family and large circle of friends we extend the deepest sympathy of all the republican family in Leitrim.
Bernie was a staunch republican all his life and stood by the movement through thick and thin.
In the early 1930s, his comrade and close friend, Capt. Jim Vaugh, was kicked to death by free staters in Ballinamore barracks. His house was always an open house and gave shelter to many a republican on the run.
His house was a target of surveillance and dawn raids by Special Branch Gardaí, but Bernie never wavered under such pressure. He played many parts, selling Easter lilies, electioneering and attending protest marches.
Bernie will be sorely missed by Leitrim republicans.
May his soul be happy with God and may the sod of his beloved Kiltubrid rest lightly on his noble breast. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm.