Republican News · Thursday 18 June 1998

[An Phoblacht]

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 Armagh.

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.

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