On the morning of Thursday 9 December, after many years of painful illness, Ellie Dorris died suddenly and unexpectedly in Belfast City Hospital.
Little did Ellie McCann realise when she first met John Dorris in St Comgall's Hall on the Falls Road that their lives would become so entwined and synonymous with the conflict which would again break out in the years ahead.
From the outbreak of this current phase of conflict and war, Ellie Dorris rose to the challenge despite the dangers and in many ways became a central figure and leader in the grassroots uprising in Belfast. Ellie's home would never again be her own but she shared this with often unrivalled Irish and republican hospitality, while trying to rear her family of eight children, one of whom died when she was four. The pogroms of 1969 thrust upon Ellie and many others the role of community leadership. One of her first tasks was attempting to alleviate the plight of the many Catholic refugees fleeing the Orange mobs, in and out of uniform.
Two of Ellie's sons were interned, most of her family was arrested and her home was raided constantly. Nevertheless, Ellie and her friends and neighbours refused to be intimidated by the constant harassment of the British army or visits to the jails.
Ellie Dorris quickly teams up with Teasy O'Carroll, Maura Drumm and others to establish a formidable Sinn Féin organisation throughout Andersonstown and beyond. Once again, the unionist regime and the Britsih government had not bargained on the resilience of nationalist men and women, who stood up to their brutality and injustice.
It is time to say that no section of the republican resistance at that time was denied Ellie's support. A natural organiser she was invovled in all teh local campaigns. She was a friend and inspiration to us all.
Ellie Dorris was a faithful exponent of the Irish language and culture and thankfully this has been reflected by her family thorughout the years. Our community has lost a very good friend and our sympathy is with John, her loving husband of 46 years, her sons and daughters Paul, Seán, Brendan, Fra, Catherine, Kevin and Colm and the late Una and the McCann family.
A struggle built upon foundations such as Ellie Dorris cannot but succeed and this is our absolute commitment.
BY ALEX MASKEY
Thomas `Sonny' Peavoy, who died on Thursday, 6 January, was a big man in more ways than one. He was a big man in his commitment to the republican struggle for the unity and equality of the Irish people and particularly for the people of his beloved Ballymun.
A good example of Sonny's commitment was his determination to provide a Sinn Féin Advice Centre in Ballymun. For years Ballymun Sinn Féin had been trying to get a premises for an advice centre but were continually blocked by Dublin Corporation from being allocated a flat. Undaunted, Sonny managed to obtain a caravan and with the help of his comrades, Dave and Paddy, brought it to the Ballymun shopping centre three days a week, where a valuable service was provided to the local community.
Sonny did not confine himself to office hours. People would call to Sonny's house at all hours but he never turned them away. In fact, he often accompanied people in rent arrears to the rent office to make an arrangement to prevent evictions. Sonny was also a big man in his courage. He kept the advice centre going in spite of intimidation from drug dealers, vandals, the Garda Special Branch and other undesirables.
There was also another side to Sonny's involvement in the republican struggle for which he was never found wanting and the full story of which must wait for another day to be told.
Sonny was buried on Monday, 10 January. A seven-person republican guard of honour flanked the Tricolour-draped coffin from his house in Poppintree, to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ballymun. The funeral procession was led by a lone piper. Sonny was laid to rest in Dardistown cemetery
His passing is a sad loss to the republican family in Ballymun as well as his own family circle, but we are consoled by the fact that we were privileged to know Sonny and to benefit from his dedicated work for the people of Ballymun and for the struggle for freedom, justice and equality for all Irish people. I measc laochra na nGael go raibh a anam dílis.
BY SEAN MARLOW