Clash over Roll of Honour in Tyrone
Clash over Roll of Honour in Tyrone


A war of words has broken out among republicans over a commemoration of in which an IRA Volunteer was omitted by Sinn Féin from its Roll of Honour of Tyrone martyrs.

At an event last weekend in Coalisland to mark the 40th anniversary of the British Army killings of IRA Volunteers Brian Campbell and Colm McGirr, and also on the 50th anniversary of Vol. Dessie Morgan being shot dead by the RUC, a list of local IRA martyrs whose names are engraved on a memorial stone was read out by Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy.

Addressing last weekend’s commemoration, Mr Molloy said: “The Tyrone roll of honour has 55 volunteers who sadly lost their lives. A very large total of young Volunteers, all young men in this area who lost their lives for the cause of Irish freedom.”

But absent from the roll-call was Neil Lafferty, an active IRA member since the 1940s who died in 1975, a year after being released from prison on medical grounds.

The omission angered his family who took to social media to question Sinn Féin’s motives. The party has apologised and insisted it was a mistake.

Neil Lafferty’s grandson, who shares his name, said: “As a family deeply rooted in the struggle for Irish freedom, we express our profound disappointment and deep anger regarding the recent actions of Sinn Féin during the commemoration of IRA volunteers.

“The exclusion of Volunteer Neil Lafferty’s name from the roll of honour, as unveiled and read by Francie Molloy, is a painful and incomprehensible act that betrays his lifetime of dedication to the cause of Irish freedom.”

Demanding Sinn Féin offer an explanation, Neil Lafferty Jnr, who is involved with the 1916 Societies, added: “It is critical to acknowledge and honour all our Volunteers who gave everything for Irish freedom.

“Overlooking their contributions is not only a disservice to their memory but also an affront to the principles and history of our cause.

“Sinn Féin may have recently decided to selectively commemorate IRA volunteers, but they must understand that they will never delegitimise or discredit the sacrifices made by Volunteer Neil Lafferty, nor any other Volunteer.”

A spokesperson for the Sinn Féin Tyrone Commemoration Committee said the name had not been included because of an “unintended omission” that would be rectified.

“The Sinn Féin Tyrone Commemoration Committee has apologised to the family of Volunteer Neil Lafferty for the hurt caused by the unintended omission of Neil’s name on a commemorative plaque,” they added.

“Neil Lafferty’s name was read out from the Roll of Honour at last Sunday’s commemoration, and he continues to be remembered with pride by republicans across Tyrone.

“The Commemoration Committee will take steps immediately to address this accidental omission.”

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