Republican News · Thursday 07 December 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Adams praises those who struggled

A weekend of events to commemorate four IRA Volunteers from the South Armagh Brigade who died within six months of each other in 1975 was held over the weekend of December 2 and 3.

The four, Francis Jordan, Jim Lochrie, Sean Campbell and Gerry McKiernan, all lived near each other in the Jonesboro\Dromintee and Forkhill areas of South Armagh.

In the first of the weekend's events, Sinn Féin President launched a commemorative booklet on Saturday night 2 December. The booklet was put together by the committee, which organised the weekend.

``The republican community in South Armagh is deeply proud of these IRA Volunteers and of those others who over the past 30 years and longer have given their lives in the struggle for Irish unity and independence,'' he said.

Adams spoke of the pride that republicans have for those activists who have died in the past 30 years. ``There are 355 republican activists on the Roll of Honour covering the past 30 years. Most of those are IRA Volunteers who were killed in action. We grieve for them. An we share that grief and sense of loss with their families and friends because they were decent people, unselfish people, honourable people. And because what they sought to achieve for the people of Ireland is decent, noble and just''.

The Sinn Féin president praised the IRA for creating the conditions for the peace process and for the possibility of achieving a democratic peace settlement. ``We are proud of the IRA's resilience and courage and vision,'' he said. ``Its historic decision of August 1994 created the space for the two governments and the political parties to construct a peace process. It has continued to take initiatives which on more than one occasion have saved the process from collapse as a consequence of bad British policy and unionist intransigence''.

Concluding, Adams said: ``If the peace process is to succeed, if politics is to be seen to be working, then the people of this area, like those in Fermanagh and Tyrone, must see in-your-face change. The peace process has to improve the quality of their lives while presenting the opportunity for greater change.

``That means the British government has to start keeping to the commitments it has made''.

On Sunday, a commemoration march attracted by hundreds of people and a large contingent of Wexford pikemen went from Killeen on the border to the memorial to Volunteers Lochrie and Campbell at Kelly's Road, where Belfast republican Brian Keenan gave the main oration.

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