1916 Societies Loughgall Martyrs 30th Anniversary Commemoration In Cappagh

The 1916 Societies commemorated the IRA volunteers and one non-combatant killed at Loughgall in 1987.

The Loughgall Martyrs Commemoration was held on Sunday 7th May at 3pm in Galbally/Cappagh. The 2000 strong procession started from Galbally community centre and made its way to Cappagh, where upon arrival was met by a rapturous reception. ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’ was then sung by Paul Cassidy. Noel McKeown from the P.H. Pearse Society, Galbally-Cappagh made a speech:

On the 8th of May 1987, 9 Irish men were murdered by British crown forces at Loughgall, Armagh. Eight of these men were IRA Volunteers of the East Tyrone Brigade, Vol. Pádraig McKearney, Vol. Seamus Donnelly, Vol. Paddy Kelly, Vol. Tony Gormley, Vol. Eugene Kelly, Vol. Jim Lynagh, Vol. Gerard O’Callaghgan, Vol. Declan Arthurs. Civilian Anthony Hughes was also murdered that evening and his brother Oliver was badly wounded. So on behalf of the 1916 Societies, I would like to welcome the families of these brave men here today. During the tour of the graves yesterday, your pain and heartache is still clear to be seen, but your sense of pride is overwhelming. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome here the many friends and comrades of these brave men.

Seán Ó Loingsigh, nephew of Vol. Pádraig McKearney read the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Vol. Paddy Kelly’s daughter Siobhan then read the Tyrone Roll of Honour accompanied by a lament played by Rhiannon Quinn. Followed by Niamh Donnelly niece of Vol. Seamus Donnelly who recited a poem, which was written by local man Peter McCaughey.

A member of each of the 9 families laid a lily at the monument in memory of their love one. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Friends and comrades, the 1916 Societies, the Tyrone National Graves and the Thomas Clarke band Dungannon.

The Lowering of our National flag was carried out by Brian Arthurs brother of Vol. Declan Arthurs accompanied by lament by Rhiannon Quinn. Then the crowd stood for a minute silence in memory of the men murdered at Loughgall and all others who lost their lives as result of British occupation in Ireland. Brian Cauley, Chairman of Tyrone National Graves led the crowd in a decade of the rosary. Noel then proceeded to pay homage to the Palestinian Prisoner, Mazen al- Maghrebi from the West Bank who died on hunger strike in an Israeli jail on Friday by asking the crowd to remember him and past on condolence to his family.

The Loughgall song was the song by Paul Cassidy. Noel then took proceedings to a close by saying;

Just before we finish off with our national anthem, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for attending this fitting Commemoration for these 9 men, especially the families, your dignity and courage is an inspiration to us all. The 1916 societies are grateful for your help and support here today and we endeavour to fulfil the ultimate tribute of a 32 county democratic socialist republic to these brave IRA Volunteers. I would also like to thank everyone who took part in the proceedings here today, the bands, the flag bearers and everyone else who took part. I would like to invite you all to the community centre for refreshments. Now we will have Caron Brannigan to sing our National Anthem.

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