Packie Den O'Kane
``Little did we know a few months ago when we stood here in Dungiven at the graveside of John Francis McCloskey that we would be burying another friend and comrade.'' So said John Kelly, Assembly Member for Mid-Ulster, who gave the graveside oration at the recent funeral of Packie Den O'Kane.
Having returned from a day's herding of sheep, Packie passed away suddenly on Friday 31 December 1999.
The large attendance at his funeral and the panegyric by the Parish Priest was a testament to the esteem in which Packie was held in the Dungiven area.
John Kelly said that he first met Packie in 1952, in the manner in which republicans met then, either on training camps or in some other circumstances that related to the republican struggle. Packie went to prison in 1956 and was incarcerated in Crumlin Road A Wing from 1956 to 1964.
After his release he showed staunch fidelity to the republican cause. Packie worked tirelessly but quietly over the last 30 years, supporting and supportive of the republican leadership.
The presence of so many of his colleagues and comrades from A Wing at his funeral demonstrates the affectionate comradeship held for Packie. John Kelly welcomed Eamon Boyce from Dublin, who led the successful raid on Gough Barracks in 1953 and the unsuccessful raid at Omagh military barracks in 1954. Kelly also welcomed Tom Mitchell, who was elected Sinn Féin MP for Mid-Ulster whilst still in Crumlin Road Prison. The presence of so many of Packie's comrades marks the respect in which he was held. Packie will be sadly missed. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasail Ghaelach.