Republican dies in fight against virus

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A republican healthcare worker from County Tyrone has died from coronovirus following a 40-year career saving lives as a nurse.

Pat McManus (left), originally from Strabane, passed away after contracting the virus while working with infected patients at Stafford County Hospital in London.

The late Mr McManus, who lived in the north London area and worked at Stafford Hospital, was described as “a stalwart Republican, a loyal comrade... who never wavered from or shirked from his duty to Ireland”.

‘Big Pat’ was one of their most valued activists, said Republican Sinn Féin.

“No task was too big or too small for him. His dedication, courage, and selflessness was exemplified in his professionalism and dedication as a NHS nurse.

“Despite his own underlying health issues, Pat refused to remove himself from frontline duties such was his commitment to help others and to save life... He shall be remembered as a man of wisdom and action who helped many people and was always there to offer advice to us all. A man of great inner strength who taught us what it is to be an Irish Republican and a patriot.”

SEAMUS O’BRIEN

Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to Seamus O’Brien (right), known as ‘Haystack’, a former republican political prisoner and one of the Blanketmen who famously fought the British inside the prisons by refusing to wear a prison uniform, wearing a blanket instead. He passed away on Tuesday.

Originally from the Market area, ‘Haystack’ will be remembered as a committed republican who played an active role in every arena of struggle, Saoradh said.

“Seamus was an inspiration to all who had the honour and privilege of knowing him. As an advocate for republican prisoners, he understood how important it was to ensure that the injustices prisoners face on the inside are highlighted as much as possible on the outside”.

They added: “Seamus and his family have endured so much in the long fight against the illegal occupation, including taking part in the blanket protest in the H-Blocks against the occupiers’ ongoing policy of criminalisation.”

Fellow ex-Blanketman Paul Butler paid tribute to Seamus O’Brien, as well as to two other fellow Blanketmen, Paddy MacIntyre and John ‘JT’ Thomas, who also passed away recently.

Writing on Twitter, he proudly recalled their struggle. “We refused to be criminalised by Thatcher government,” he wrote. “The world remembers the H-Blocks as a symbol of resistance and freedom, Thatcher is a byword for repression and inhumanity.”

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