An Phoblacht

John Joe McGirl commemorated

Photo: John Joe McGirl

Monaghan County Councillor and National Organiser for Sinn Féin, Pat Treanor, gave the main oration at the John Joe Mc Girl Annual Commemoration in Ballinamore, County Leitrim, earlier this month. He praised the role played by John Joe in the struggle for Irish freedom and said that the book, The Gentle Soldier, written as a tribute to him, is essential reading for any student of republican history.

"It's difficult to imagine that it's 16 years since we walked behind the coffin of John Joe," he said. "A lot has happened in that time, a lot has changed, and I think John Joe would be proud of the achievements of republicans.

"John Joe McGirl was a proud Leitrim man. He was proud of Leitrim people. He loved his people, all people and dedicated his life to serve them, first as a TD and then for many, many years, as a County Councillor. He received many tributes for his pioneering work in education, in helping the needy, in fighting in support of senior citizens, and in all aspects of community development.

John Joe believed that the struggle was where he was. He believed that the struggle for Irish freedom was where the republican should be, and we have all learned many lessons from that. In June of this year, you demonstrated that when you brought the republican message to every doorstep. And people responded. I would like to congratulate and thank the four Sinn Féin candidates : Martin Kenny, Micheál Colreavey, Maura Mulvey and Johnny Mc Cauley for their great effort.

"For John Joe McGirl the future mattered most. He was not content to preserve the past or commemorate past deeds. He knew that history was important but he looked to the future, to the youth, to devising new ways to struggle, and to achieving the objectives of Freedom, Unity and Equality. Today, John Joe, we remember you, we commemorate your life, we learn from you, and we dedicate ourselves to continue to struggle and achieve the objectives you lived for."

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