Usual suspects surface from under their rocks

I arrived home in Dublin at 11.45 pm on Sunday evening and the only regret that I had was that I missed the Hunger Strike rally in Belfast. I was asked to do a bit of work on the South Armagh contingent but seeing as I was away in Spain I was unable to.

I spoke to Comrades on Sunday night and was given glowing reports of the huge attendance and they spoke about how special the occasion was.

The next day we have the usual suspects trying to use the occasion to raise their own profile, Alex "stooge" Attwood springs to mind.

This rally was very important to the Republican and Nationalist community and no matter what anyone may say this was not a party political rally. This was a rally in memory of the Ten men who died for the cause, who died rather than be classified as criminals. Their memory and sacrifice is still a huge point of inspiration for Republicans especially young Republicans like myself who weren't alive at the time.

Before I went to Spain I was lucky enough to attend South Armagh's Hunger Strike memorial weekend. We heard from Bik McFarlane, Danny Morrison, the female prisoners but by far the most emotional was our own Paddy Quinn. He was arrested the same time as Raymond McCreesh and he also took part in the Hunger Strikes.

When he spoke about the ordeal that he endured, and his longing for death at one stage it was hard not to feel emotional.

These are not the actions of criminals! These are the actions of brave Volunteers who were prepared to lay down their lives for their friends and for the cause. Thatcher tried to criminalise our Struggle and she failed, if Alex Atwood and others think they can do it now, 25 years later, then they are sadly mistaken.

I would like to praise Antrim County board for their use of Casement Park; it was the right thing to do. One of the aims of the GAA is the establishment of a 32 county free Ireland, the GAA is more than just a sporting organisation and it always has been.

Dr McSparren said the Hunger Strike was a "fact of history" and it was "important for a large proportion of our population that they commemorate it".

"Whether or not you like it is another matter,"

That is the truth! Again a word of thanks to the Antrim County Board who have more to offer than their detractors!

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