Republicans remember George McBrearty and Charles Maguire

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Dozens of republicans gathered with friends and family of the late IRA Volunteer, George McBrearty in Derry on Sunday to commemorate the 37th anniversary of his death at the hands of SAS alongside his comrade Charles ‘Pop’ Maguire in 1981.

Tributes were paid to George’s mother, Bridie, for her strength in the face of the loss of her son. Pol Scannell, chair of the Dublin Tony Taylor campaign, delivered the main oration, quoting Patrick Pearse’s poetic tribute, The Mother.

“Lord, thou art hard on mothers: We suffer in their coming and their going; And tho’ I grudge them not, I weary, weary of the long sorrow-yet I have my joy: My sons were faithful, and they fought.”

Mr Scannell said commemorations like that which took place at the mural to Mr McBrearty in the Creggan were an opportunity for republicans to reflect and take stock. He questioned the wisdom of entry into partitionist assemblies in Ireland.

Quoting the great Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s view that “any Irish patriot who goes into that forge to free Ireland will soon find himself welded into the agency of his country’s subjection to England”, Mr Scannell said “history is repeating itself.”

He also rejected claims by Sinn Fein and others that a Six County border poll is the way forward for republicans.

“People just up the road in Donegal would not have a say on the future of this island or the border,” he said. “A core concept of republicanism is that Irish constitutional authority comes from the freely expressed will of all the Irish people. Therefore nothing less than a 32 county national referendum on national unity.”

Prominent New York republican Martin Galvin, who chaired the event, said Mr McBrearty died on the streets of Derry, “fighting for the freedom of Derry and all the Six Counties.”

He poured scorn on recent comments from the British government over the legacy of the recent conflict.

“A few weeks ago the British Secretary of State who hadn’t been in Ireland before but was sent here to audition for a job she’d rather have, someplace else she’d rather be, Karen Bradley, issued a legacy paper and said she wanted to salute the heroism of those who had fought against acts of terrorism and she would never allow the history of what happened to be rewritten.

“Well, we who did come to Ireland, who were in Derry, who know what happened, are here to remember the real patriots who fought to deliver the people of the Six Counties from terrorism.”

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