Irish Republican News · February 29, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
The Dark’s ashes are scattered

The ashes of former IRA hunger striker Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes have been scattered in west Belfast and in County Louth.

He died on February 16 after a short illness from organ failure, attributed to his poor health following his long spell on hunger strike in 1980.

His funeral took place on Tuesday of last week at St Peter’s Cathedral in west Belfast.

There was some controversy over the involvement of Sinn Féin in the funeral, following a serious falling out between the party and Mr Hughes in recent years over its new political direction.

Republican colleagues of the heroic IRA fighter accused Sinn Féin and the party’s President Gerry Adams of seeking to manipulate media coverage to identify himself with the fallen hero. They pointed out that Hughes had long aligned himself with republican traditionalists opposed to Sinn Féin.

Former IRA Volunteer Dolours Price claimed that Adams had “pushed past priest, coffin, and family in his anxiety to get himself well-placed for the cameras”.

“This was Brendan’s day,” she said.

“Those of us who respected him in life and death were put to a hard test to hold our tongues and maintain the dignity of the occasion. We were there in grief, not for photo opportunities.”

On Saturday morning a volley of shots was fired by three gunmen during a ceremony at a republican garden of remembrance on the Falls Road, during which some of Mr Hughes’s ashes were scattered.

Many of Hughes’s former comrades in the IRA’s D Company attended the event. Bobby Storey, a former IRA prisoner who was appointed Sinn Féin’s head of operations last November, attended the ceremony along with west Belfast councillor Fra McCann.

Some of Mr Hughes’s ashes were also scattered on Friday in the Cooley mountains in County Louth. Around 30 people attended, including former IRA prisoners Anthony McIntyre and Tommy McKearney.

It is understood that Mr Hughes’s family also deposited some of his ashes at the grave of his parents in Milltown Cemetery.

He is survived by his two children, brothers and sister and his grandchildren.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News