McCaughey And Grew Remembered In Tyrone And Armagh

A report on a recent 1916 Societies commemorative event.

On Friday 9th October, members of the PH Pearse Society Galbally-Cappagh organised a Night of Reflection in the McCaughey Suite in Galbally Community Centre, in memory of Irish Republican Army Volunteers Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew on their 25th Anniversary.

A packed hall of over 200 people gathered to hear old stories of Martin and Dessie. Fearghál Shiels started of proceedings with a detailed synopsis of the inquest into their murders, before moving into a series of stories from friends and family, with poetry and song accompanying. A brilliant night was had by all and the Pearse Society, along with the families, thank each and everyone who attended this celebration of Martin and Dessie’s life.

On the following afternoon, Saturday 10th October, the Gifford-Plunkett Society Armagh held a Wreathlaying Ceremony for Volunteer Dessie Grew at his graveside in Armagh City. Hundreds of republicans from far and wide came to offer their respects on the 25th Anniversary of his murder. After a recital of Padraig Pearse’s poem The Rebel, local Society member Raymond Murray introduced a lifelong friend of Dessie, Shane McCann, to say a few words. Shane impressed on us the respect and affection people had for Dessie. He also reminded us not only of how greatly his family still miss him but also how badly Irish republicanism misses him.

The Gifford-Plunkett Society would like to thank all who attended on Saturday, the sheer weight of numbers a testimony to the continuing high regard Dessie remains held in. It is uplifting for all concerned to see so many go out of their way to ensure Dessie Grew continues to be afforded the respect he undoubtedly deserves.

On Sunday 11th October, over 1,000 people made their way to Galbally Community Centre for the 25th Anniversary Parade for Volunteer Martin McCaughey and Volunteer Dessie Grew. We marched down the Galbally Road to Martin’s graveside, where proceeding began with Tony McNally singing the ‘Martin and Dessie’ Ballad. Then the 1916 Proclamation was read and the Tyrone Brigade Roll of Honour, accompanied by a lament.

There then followed the lowering of our National Flag by Seamus McGee, accompanied by a further lament, and then a minute’s silence in memory of Ireland’s Patriot Dead. A few words were spoke about Martin and Dessie before proceedings came to a close, with local singer Caron Brannigan singing Amhrán na bhFiann. Refreshments were served in Galbally Community Centre, with several hundred coming back.

The PH Pearse Society take this opportunity to thank each and everyone who attended the weekend of events, most especially the families. We are proud and honoured to remember Martin and Dessie, to help ensure these two brave Volunteers, along with all of our Patriot Dead, with what they fought and died for – a 32-county socialist republic – will never be forgotten.

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