Volunteer George McBrearty 34th Anniversary Commemoration Held In The Creggan Estate, Derry

The 1916 Societies report on a commemoration held in honour of IRA Volunteer George McBrearty.   

On Thursday 28th of May, Volunteer George McBrearty’s 34th Anniversary Commemoration took place at the Republican Monument in Creggan, Derry. Also remembered was George’s brother Pat, who took his own life on the tenth anniversary of George’s death, and George’s comrade Charles ‘Pop’ Maguire, who died with him on Active Service.

Frankie Quinn delivering the oration

George and Pop were killed in a gun battle with the SAS in the Creggan Estate in 1981.
The Commemoration was organised by the McBrearty Family, supported by the 1916 Societies and by local republican organisations. Two bands and a Colour Party led a large procession from the McBrearty family home, through the Creggan to the Volunteers’ Monument in Central Drive, where a huge crowd had gathered to pay tribute to George.

The event was chaired by George’s brother Danny, with the main oration delivered by 1916 Societies Vice-Chair, Frankie Quinn.

Messages were read from Martin Galvin in New York (kindly submitted to 1916societies.com and attached below) and from Seamus ‘Scotchy’ Kearney in Maghaberry Gaol. Wreaths were laid on behalf of family members and every republican organisation in Derry. Hugh Brady laid a wreath on behalf of George’s friends and comrades.

The McBrearty family would like to thank everyone who attended last week’s commemoration.
* * *
Message to the McBrearty Family from Martin Galvin – a long-time friend of Danny and the wider family.

A chairde,

While I cannot be alongside you at the Creggan Republican Monument, allow me, as one of many friends of the McBrearty family, to share my thoughts and be with you in spirit tonight.

In the coming year we will hold commemorations honouring the men and women who proclaimed Irish freedom and fought to end British rule in 1916. It is fitting that the 1916 Proclamation be read today as part of this commemoration honouring George McBrearty.

In Memory

The men and women of 1916 proclaimed that the whole people of Ireland had a right to national freedom and sovereignty. Surely that right belongs to the people of Derry just as much as it does the people of Bridgend. They proclaimed this right was ‘indefeasible’, meaning it could never be bargained, sold, or bequeathed away. They denounced Britain’s sectarian system and the religious divisions carefully fostered by an alien British government.

The patriots of 1916 stood on that fundamental right to freedom and asserted it in arms. We honor them for doing so. George McBrearty, alongside others on the Roll of Honour, did no less.

He refused to submit to being a second class citizen in his own land. He refused to submit to the sectarian clampdown on civil rights, to Internment, to Hooded Men torture and Bloody Sunday. He felt a moral duty, rather than submit, to stand on Ireland’s right to freedom and to assert that right in arms. He was imprisoned in Long Kesh. He was shot down by the SAS, because as a patriot he had committed himself to replacing British injustice with a free 32-County Irish Nation.

If we genuinely honour the legacy of 1916, should we not honour those patriots like George McBrearty of this generation, who stood for the same principles, fought to complete the same struggle and made the supreme sacrifice so that others might live in freedom?

Today is also a day to remember the McBrearty Family and all the families with loved ones on the Roll of Honour. It is right that Pat McBrearty be remembered today, he who was so deeply and tragically affected by George’s death. Politicians may talk of dealing with the past. For George’s family, loved ones and friends, his loss cannot be packed away in some wordy new deal or forgotten with a handshake. They cannot forget. We must not forget their sacrifice.

Finally I want to commend and congratulate the family for what this commemoration represents. All of you have seen commemorations in which the legacy of patriots is watered down or distorted in order to fit the latest political move. Your family commemoration today, and other commemorations like it, guarantee that George’s legacy will not be misused. It stands forever.

Slan, Martin Galvin

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