Seando Moore

The death occurred in Belfast recently of well-known republican activist and ex-PoW Seando Moore. The following obituary is by Danny Morrison.

When Seando Moore left Ballymurphy just before Bloody Sunday and joined the IRA in Beechmount, in the Falls area of Belfast, he was in his mid-teens, was fairly unknown and so youthful looking that he got the nickname ‘The Child’. He fought an 11-year battle against cancer and, by the time of his death on June 12 at the age of 55, although ‘below the radar’ in media terms, he was so well-known that thousands from all over Ireland flocked to the wake house and his funeral was the largest of its kind seen in west Belfast for perhaps a dozen years.

Seando was unostentatious and humble but had an easy way with people -- a quality that stood him in good stead as he argued in support of the peace project after many years of personal involvement in a long, drawn-cut struggle. His sister-in-law, Nora McCabe, was shot dead with an RUC plastic bullet on the morning in July 1981 that hunger striker Joe McDonnell died, when Seando was ‘on the blanket’ serving a lengthy sentence having been caught with a rifle

He had also been tortured in Springfield Road Barracks in 1976 when he was stripped naked, hooded and was subjected to a mock execution with blanks being fired and threatened with being hanged out the window. He successfully sued the RUC and received compensation. Seando had first been interned aged 17, was in Long Kesh during ‘the fire’ in October 1974 and was gassed and beaten along with several hundred internees and sentenced republican prisoners.

After his release he began going out with his future wife Patricia McCabe, whose family, particularly ‘Ma McCabe’, were committed supporters of the republican movement. Seando was arrested shortly after the withdrawal of political status in 1976 and he and Patricia were married in Crumlin Road jail while he was on remand. They actually returned to the jail a few years ago on their wedding anniversary and were photographed in the wing from where Seando wrote to Patricia. It might strike some people as an odd gesture but in fact was quite symbolic of the fact that although times were extremely tough for a young married couple. Patricia and Seando survived and triumphed over the brutality of Castlereagh, lengthy prison sentences, the blanket and no-wash protests and the heartbreaking hunger strikes of 1981.

Seando was centrally involved in the 10th, 20th and 25th anniversaries of the 1981 hungerstrike, organising exhibitions and meetings around Ireland, England and Scotland. It was testimony to this work that many of the families of the hunger strikers came to condole with Patricia at the wake and attended his interment in Milltown Cemetery. Seando was also the driving force behind a booklet called Green River memorialising republican supporters from the Beechmount area, all of whom were deceased and, as Seando put it, “beyond the clutches of British rule in Ireland”. He is survived by Patricia and children Francine, Sean, Patricia Anne and James, grandchildren Eoin and Seainin, mother Ellen, brother Phillip. and sisters Rosaleen, Margaret and Geraldine.

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