The death of Paddy Magee in Andersonstown on 30 October 1999 brought to an end an era which reminds us all of what we as a community have gone through over these past three decades .
Although a quiet and unassuming gentleman, Paddy Magee came to represent the sacrifice and contribution to our struggle that the great and the good ran away from but which he and his family supported through thick and thin.
At 80 years of age, Paddy had finally gone to rejoin his beloved Peggy, from whom he was so cruelly departed 22 years ago.
Paddy and Peggy were a team that any family and community should be proud of. Bringing up three wonderful children often through the chaos of those past years was no easy task, but they managed. Paddy and Peggy gave them their best.
When governments and powerful people failed to respond to the crisis in the Six Counties in 1969, the Magee family became very much the backbone of republicanism in Andersonstown and beyond. Few republican activists would not have been through the Magee home - few prisoners would not have known their support and hospitality.
Needless to say, given their support for the struggle in defence of the nationalist people and for Irish freedom, the family had to make many sacrifices.
Their home was never their own, but they gave this up easily. In the early 1970s, Peggy and Paddy went on the `run' and lived for a while in Dublin like many exiles. Tragically, Peggy died in 1979. Paddy Magee lost his lifelong friend - Gerry, Christine and Mark lost a happy and loving mother whose beautiful rendition of Slievenamon they would never hear again.
Raising the children on his own and in his own way giving a home to other republican ``children'' was not easy, and tragedy almost struck again when Mark was seriously injured by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC, just yards from his own home.
Paddy Magee was a dedicated GAA man and was a County Antrim Championship medal-winning hurler, he dedicated his life in his own quiet way to the people of his area and for the Irish Republic.
Our sympathy and gratitude is with Paddy's family now and our commitment to honour Paddy and Peggy's memory will remain solid in the time ahead. Our struggle has been advanced by the contribution of the Magee family and we owe them a Republic.
COUNCILLOR ALEX MASKEY