Yesterday i attended a commemoration in Galbally along with a large number of comrades from Newry. Several thousand Republicans took part (and some say Republicans have no support!) in the event to commemorate Volunteers Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey.
It was heartening and uplifting to see so many thousands of people turning out to honour these brave men. It was also great to see so many lifelong republicans, Ex-POWs, former combatants, and family members of the volunteers of the East Tyrone Brigade in attendance.
The March was part of a commemorative weekend of events that seen debates a visit to the ambush site an exhibition and the release of a DVD last night over 500 packed into the community centre to watch the screening of the DVD it was very moving and at times funny and not lacking in action as the Ambush of the SAS in Cappagh by Martin and his Comrades was reconstructed.
People from all over Tyrone and indeed Ireland gathered at the community centre in preparation for the march, all the Tyrone 1916 Society’s were in attendance and young people from all the society’s made up the colour party.
Members of a Republican flute band from kilkeel marched behind the colour party and the society’s fell in behind the band with their banners, an RUC/PSNI helicopter hovered over the parade and earlier that day members of the Grew and McCaughey families had been cautioned by the Crown Forces in regards to the march. 3 other bands that were due to play had been threatened the day before by the Crown Forces who told them that "if they marched in Galbally, they would never march again" and had to pull out of the event. People travelling to and from the event were also stopped and searched by the political police.
The March made its way the mile or so from the hall to the graveyard and a Commemoration was held at Martins graveside were wreaths were laid on behalf of family friends and comrades a local Man spoke about Martins time playing for Galbally Pearses GAA
The main oration was said by, prominent Republican, Brian Arthurs, he spoke of the hardships the area had bore during the war he spoke of Both Volunteers and outlined their lives how they had lived and how they had died.
Brian said that both men were Irish Republicans and that if it hadn’t been for informers they would probably still be with us, he said informers had been the scourge of Irish Republicanism down through the generations, he said it was a total disgrace that former comrades and members of the Provisional Movement were now calling for Irish men to collaborate with the enemy and inform on Irish Republicans.
The Commemoration ended with the singing of the National anthem and tea and refreshments were served in Galbally hall.
All respects to both Families and the PH Pearse society for a very successful weekend.