Saoradh An Iúir were proud and honoured to have a large number of family members in attendance for the commemoration which they gave their blessing to. The kindness and appreciation from the relatives was overwhelming.
Unfortunately the RUC Crown Forces wouldn’t allow us to remember our fallen with peace and dignity. They placed themselves at both entrances of the Derrybeg estate in armoured cars and when the event began they kept us all under surveillance. Their ugly, unwanted presence failed to deter those in attendance. They maintained a significant presence in the estate for the duration of Christmas Eve and engaged in petty harassment of Saoradh members as they went about their daily business.
The proceedings were chaired by Saoradh An Iúir member Oilibhear De Faoite.
Oilibhear spoke about the growth of Saoradh in the Newry area over the course of the past year along with the activism and hard work of our members and supporters.
The activist also explained how Saoradh has now established a working Craobh in Newry and that we are looking forward to the year ahead.
A wreath was laid on behalf of Saoradh by local party activist and Derrybeg community leader Anthony Coyle.
Volunteer Brendan Quinn’s sister, Deirdre Robinson, laid a wreath on behalf of the volunteers family.
The chairperson then introduced Saoradh National Secretary Stephen Murney to address those in attendance.
Stephen said “At Christmas, most people would think of spending time with their families and loved ones. Given the circumstances that prevailed in 1973, Eddie and Brendan found themselves on active service fighting on behalf of the Republican struggle.
“During an operation in Monaghan Street, an improvised explosive device which they were handling detonated prematurely resulting in the deaths of both young volunteers. Tragically, the same bomb also claimed the life of a civilian.”
“Eddie Grant, Brendan Quinn and Aubrey Harshaw all died on that terrible day. Three families were to suffer tragic news on that Christmas Eve. Most tragically of all, the eldest of the three was only eighteen years of age.”
“Their deaths were a result of the injustices which arose from the partition of our country and the partition of our people. Over four decades later, the partition of this island and its people still remain unresolved and our revolution remains unfinished.
We aren’t here to try to speak for the dead, nobody can do that. However we can safely say without fear of contradiction that the goal that these men set out to achieve remains to be achieved. They fought and died for a socialist republic and that fight continues to this day.
“There is a clear onus on all Republicans to ensure that the age old struggle for national, political and social liberation can find new ways, means and methods by which to secure that same republic for which young people, like Brendan and Eddie, so willingly sacrificed their lives.”
“We in Saoradh will play our part in that struggle.”