Volunteer Patrick Kelly honoured
Republicans from the Midlands and from South Armagh joined
together last weekend in remembrance of their comrade Volunteer
Patrick Kelly who died a year ago as a result of neglect in
English prisons. A memorial stone was unveiled on the Volunteer's
grave in Kilinard, County Laois.
Patrick Kelly died on 11 June 1997 after years in English prisons
during which his serious illness was not properly treated. When
he was finally transferred to Ireland after an international
campaign he had only a short time with his family before the end
came. Paddy's partner Angela spoke emotionally at the graveside
of her appreciation of the presence of so many friends and
comrades of Paddy.
A large number of people from South Armagh attended the ceremony
and the new stone, unveiled by Angela, was donated by republicans
from that area. The Cullyhanna Youth Band and the Burns/Moley
Band from South Armagh were in attendance. Maria Caraher told the
crowd of the high esteem in which Paddy Kelly was held in South
A statement was read from the IRA prisoners in Portlaoise Prison
paying tribute to Paddy's ``courage, determination and fortitude''.
Brian Stanley of Laois Sinn Féin chaired the ceremony and
introduced the main speaker Mícheál MacDonncha of Dublin. He
described Paddy Kelly as ``an ordinary working person who, like so
many republicans, took extraordinary risks and made extraordinary
sacrifies in the struggle for freedom''. He said that the Good
Friday Agreement required change on the part of the Dublin
government as well as the British, and urged repeal of the
repressive Offences Against the State Act.
Brian Stanley concluded by urging all republicans in the Midlands
to honour Paddy Kelly's memory by building republican support.