Rames, aged 85, died at his home at John Martin Gardens last Sunday and it was with great sadness that republicans in Newry and the surrounding area and indeed throughout the island learnt of the death of a dedicated and committed member of the movement.
To those of us who remember Rames, his character was that of the practical joker who, with a rub of the hands and a puff of air released from the lips, could always come up with some yarn before, after or even during some of his exploits. But apart from this light hearted aspect of his life, there was a serious side to ``Rames'', a side that earned him the respect and confidence of his comrades. He may have been small in terms of stature but regarding bravery, determination and ideas, he was a giant.
Looking back, one remembers waiting to see the clouds of smoke rise from a certain field to signify to other comrades across the town that all was okay. His whole outlook seemed to be the welfare of others.
Much will be asked about Rames in the coming weeks and months. A lot more will remain unknown, such was the nature of the man.
Rames was buried with full republican honours in his parents' grave in Saint Mary's after the funeral mass in the Dominican. A guard of honour escorted the cortege and former comrades were among a huge number of pallbearers who waited their turn to say their final farewell to a respected and dedicated comrade.
Sinn Féin Newry/Armagh Assembly member Conor Murphy gave the oration at the graveside. Paying tribute to Rames, Conor said: ``He was a very generous individual, constantly working for other people. He was universally liked, especially among the people of Newry. His contribution to the struggle for Irish freedom is undeniable. He will be sorely missed by all his comrades.''
Go n-éiri an bóthar leat, Rames.
John Michael Street
The passing of John Michael Street on 7 June following a short illness has left a void in the Republican Movement in County Waterford and further afield.
Born in 1916 in Dungarvan, John Michael's republican ideals were of the strong quiet sort, the ideals of a man convinced of the rightness of his beliefs throughout his life. Over the years, John Michael was to the fore at republican protests, functions and commemorations. He distributed the Easter Lily, An Phoblacht and collected many a shilling for the republican cause in the region. As chairperson of the Joe McDonald Cumann in Dungarvan (up to the time of his death), he did not intimidate or bully any one with his political views, but his work for the Republican Movement was the badge of his ideals. He was very hopeful of the Good Friday Agreement and that it would bring lasting peace. His Tricolour-draped coffin was removed to St Mary's Parish Church, Dungarvan, where a guard of honour was provided by his comrades in the Joe McDonald (Dungarvan) and O'Reagáin McElwee (An Rinn) Sinn Féin cumann. His friend Séan Murphy delivered a fitting oration at the graveside.
I measc laochra na Gael go gcastar sinn.