Sean Bresnahan with a reflection on the life of IRA Volunteer Danny McCauley — West Tyrone Brigade, Óglaigh na hÉireann — who died on 3rd June 1991.
Óglach Danny McCauley exemplified all that is good and true of Irish Republicanism and of its centuries old tradition of resistance to British rule in Ireland. A committed Volunteer in the ranks of Óglaigh na hÉireann — a man who held the love of his family, of the people he served and the proud country for which he lived and died in the bosom of his heart — he went to his eternal reward after returning home from Active Service 28 years ago tonight. In Tyrone and beyond, he is remembered for the leading light of the revolution he was and remains.
After the British Army killing of his childhood friend, Tobias Molloy, in the summer of 1972, as full-scale war gripped the Six Counties following the infamous Bloody Sunday shootings four months previous, he returned home from England to fight in defence of his beloved hometown and the people of Strabane. He joined Óglaigh na hÉireann, rising to the rank of Officer Commanding, determined that a new Ireland and a better Ireland would emerge from his efforts and from the demise of British rule in our country.
Danny knew and understood that the Armed Struggle alone could not achieve the Republic — that for the revolution to succeed it must grip the mass of the people and bring them into its fold. Towards that end, he was as committed to organising his local community as he was to the war for freedom — a fearless and inspirational Volunteer who led from the front and made no distinction between the political effort and the military campaign, seeing both as of utmost necessity in the struggle for independence, to win the free Ireland he held as the right of our people.
Danny died of natural causes on 3rd June 1991, 28 years ago this evening. He was only 37, his untimely death a direct result of his many years in service of the Republic, many of them spent in the enemy’s prisons. He left behind a loving wife and children. It is said of Danny and inscribed on his headstone that wherever there is a struggle for justice, a desire for freedom or resistance to exploitation there will be a Danny McCauley. There could be no finer tribute to this outstanding Irish soldier — a man and a Patriot who remains an inspiration to us all. Rest in peace brave son of freedom — may Heaven be your home. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.