Republican News · Thursday 27 April 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Joe McAlea

Joe McAlea, who died on 8 April after a long illness. was born somewhere along Belfast's Springfield Road in 1943. He was the black sheep of his family because of his republican politics and when he died his family, sadly, decided that he wouldn't have a republican funeral. In fact they even demanded that his coffin not be draped with the national flag.

His republican family, however, was not prepared to allow the man, or his contribution to this struggle to be forgotten.

In the course of the past 30 years, Joe's door was never closed to republicans; nor were his eyes or ears closed. He listened and watched and anything that was useful Joe made sure reached the proper authorities.

He helped in all aspects of the struggle and the contribution he made was reflected in the respect expressed by everyone who spoke of him. He didn't talk about his connections or the work he was involved in, but those who knew that work know that his contribution will be missed.

Joe spent most of the last months of his life in hospital where illness laid him low. He had lived in Divis Tower for years and everyone there knew him.

He hated the British Army presence on the roof of the flats and often complained about the noise they made. One night, when their hammering and banging was too much, Joe took his hammer and ran to the steel door that blocks the entrance to the British post and battered it in retaliation. One of the Brits came out with a handgun and threatened to shoot Joe.

In another brush with the British Army, he was arrested by mistake for someone with the same name. It might well be said that in the long run the Brits made more of a mistake in releasing Joe than they made when they arrested him in the first place.

Joe's catch phrase was Saor Éire Abú and he will long be remembered by it. So let that be his epithet, in the knowledge that his contribution to the struggle brought the dream of a Free and United Ireland that much closer.

Eddie Boyle

The sudden and tragic death on 8 January of Eddie Boyle of Gibbstown, County Meath, has deprived the area of a colourful and well loved personality.

Eddie grew up in Baile Ghib, a Gaeltacht area in Meath. Within that tight knit community the republican ideal flourished. As the present phase of the struggle began in 1968, Eddie threw himself heart and soul into it.

As a committed republican, Eddie travelled the far-flung corners of Ireland helping his comrades in any way he could. He was renowned for his hospitality, loved having people around him and he was in his element as he regaled us with stories of his exploits.

His untimely and tragic death at 54 left us deeply saddened. We lost a comrade who had given so much.

His funeral was one of the largest in our area for some time. Interment followed in Gibbstown Cemetery where Meath County Councillor and Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Joe Reilly gave the oration.

As we walked away from his graveside talking to old comrades, each of us had our stories of Eddie and our remembrances of him. Even in death, Eddie could make us smile.

We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Pauline, his son Andrew, daughters Doris, Grace and Bernadette and his little grandchildren.

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