3/23/2007

Loughgall Martyrs

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs. It occurred on the 8th May 1987 in the Armagh village of Loughall.



On that day, in an SAS ambush, eight volunteers of Óglaigh Na hÉireann and a civilian lost their lives outside the RUC barracks.

The eight Volunteers were all from the East Tyrone Brigade, Óglaigh Na hÉireann.

Óglach Declan Arthurs, Óglach Seamus Donnelly, Óglach Tony Gormley, Óglach Eugene Kelly, Óglach Patrick Kelly, Óglach Jim Lynagh, Óglach Padraig McKearney and Óglach Gerard O' Callaghan were all killed in the ambush.

The East Tyrone Brigade was one of the most successful Brigades of Óglaigh Na hÉireann alongside their comrades in South Armagh and West Belfast.

Following on from the Maoist strategy of creating "zones of liberation", South Armagh already being one as the Brits were forced off the roads years earlier, the men and women from East Tyrone set out to expand these zones and thus make the six counties ungovernable.

The East Tyrone Brigade already had some success with this when they were able to destroy two RUC bases there using a JCB digger with a 200lb bomb in the bucket. They then raked the station with gunfire after the bomb was triggered.

This was the tactic they set out to use in Loughgall on the 8th May 1987 however they were walking into an SAS ambush.

Anthony Hughes and his brother Oliver were caught in the cross fire when the SAS assassinated Anthony by riddling their car with a hail of bullets. By some miracle Oliver managed to survive despite being refused medical treatment for a while.

The Loughgall ambush was part of a deliberate Shoot-to-kill policy by the British.

In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the eight volunteers had had their human rights violated by the failure of the British government to conduct a proper investigation into the circumstances of their deaths.

We remember the Volunteers with pride!

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