On Friday 8th May just past, the Gifford-Plunkett 1916 Society Armagh gathered along with family in the picturesque village of Loughgall, a few miles west of Armagh City, to pay tribute to their loved ones – the Loughgall Martyrs – who were so cruelly slain there in 1987, 28 years ago to the day.
Though our hearts are heavy at the loss of these great men the strength and determination shown by their families is heart-lifting. Listening to Roisin Kelly – whose brother Paddy was among those killed that evening – speak of how resolute and strong the families remain, as they seek justice through the court’s both here and in Europe, was inspiring to us all.
After a short wreath-laying ceremony Mick O’Hara, of the Gifford-Plunkett Society, spoke a few words to those in attendance, describing his honour to be with the families at the spot where their loved one’s died:
We are here today to honour and pay our respects to the Loughgall Martyrs, those men who went toe-to-toe with the Brit war machine and were never found wanting. We salute their courage and vision and will leave here today refreshed and determined to uphold the values these men cherished and were willing to die for. It’s the least we can do.
We in the Gifford Plunkett Society would again like to thank both Roisin Kelly and Francie O’Callaghan for the opportunity to pay our respects with them on what surely must be a heartbreaking day. We thank all who attended and pledge to carry on with the same spirit and determination shown by these great men and their courageous families. We will help deliver what they died for in that village – the Irish Republic!