Republican News · Thursday 18 November1999

[An Phoblacht]

Edentubber martyrs remembered

By Caítlin Doherty

Hundreds gathered on Sunday to pay tribute to the victims of the Edentubber tragedy for the last time this century. Wreaths were laid on the memorial dedicated to Paul Smith from Bessbrook, Oliver Craven from Newry, George Keegan from Enniscorthy, Paddy Parle from Wexford town, and Michael Watters, in whose Edentubber house the Volunteeers were preparing a mine which prematurely exploded on 11 November 1957. The turnout, as pointed out by Louth County Councillor Arthur Morgan, was much bigger than expected. The main speaker, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, stressed that such a big gathering was ``a signal of where republicanism stands at the turn of the century''. Armagh Assembly member and Sinn Féin negotiator Conor Murphy spoke of the electoral potential of the area.

In a poignant address, Bob Keogh from Wexford town, who was part of the active service unit, congratulated Sinn Féin for erecting so soon after the tragedy the Celtic cross memorial that marks the scene of the explosion. He went on to speak of the progress made in this current phase of the struggle: ``It is the brilliant leadership that has emerged over these past 30 years that has brought us to this turning point of Irish history.''

Martin McGuinness paid tribute to the Edentubber martyrs, but also to all men and women who had lost their lives fighting for Irish freedom. ``Within a few short weeks a veil will be drawn on what has been arguably one of the most politically important centuries in our sad and troubled history,'' he said. ``Irish republicans will look back and remember with pride all those who gave their everything in Ireland's quest for justice, equality, freedom and peace.''

McGuinness added that the British government should not ``ignore the deep frustration and anger within republican activism at the refusal of others to honour their commitments.

``The vast majority of the people want this process to succeed. Unionist rejectionists cannot be allowed to prevent, for selfish political reasons, the real, meaningful and substantive changes that are required if we are to move forward into a durable, peaceful and stable future together.''

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