Friday, 5 May 2017

A second republican commemoration in Cappagh

The IRA men who were killed at Loughgall in 1987
Last Sunday Sinn Fein held a 30th anniversary commemoration for the IRA men who were killed while they were attacking the RUC station at Loughgall.  The IRA members who carried out the attack were from the East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA and the commemoration was held at the IRA memorial in the little village of Cappagh.

IRA memorial in Cappagh
This weekend it is the turn of the 1916 Societies, one of the smaller republican organisations, along with member of the families of the IRA men who were killed at Loughgall.  They will gather on Sunday afternoon at Galbally and then make their way along a two mile route to Cappagh.

That part of Tyrone seems to be popular with the 1916 Societies because they held their inaugural spring conference in 2014 in the community centre in Galbally.  There was a report of that inaugural conference on the Facebook page of the 1916 Societies (27 May 2014) and it caught my attention for a number of reasons.  

1916 Societies inaugural spring conference 2014
The first was that it was headed 'Round Cappagh's Braes', an interesting use of the Ulster-Scots word 'brae'.  However just as interesting was the reference to those who had been invited.
Frank Dempsey at a D-Company parade
On Sunday past, 25th May (2014), the 1916 Societies gathered in the heart of East Tyrone, with the McCaughey Suite in Galbally community Centre playing host to our inaugural Spring Conference.  Invited guests including D-Company Lower Falls Belfast and several independent community activists and republicans joined over 100 delegates from all across Ireland to debate the theme 'Self determination and Sovereignty - 2014 and beyond'.
So members of D-Company in the Lower Falls, closely associated with the Falls Cultural Society and the ubiquitous Frank Dempsey, were invited and attended.  There is a spectrum of republicanism and that helps to explain where D-Company and Frank Dempsey are on the spectrum.

By the way if anyone is wondering why the room in the community centre is the McCaughey Suite, it may refer to Martin McCaughey, a member of the East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA, who was killed by the army at an IRA arms dump.

This second event at Cappagh will be an embarassment to Sinn Fein and it is certainly a reminder of the fragmentation within republicanism.  It also helps to explain why Sinn Fein has started to take a much more abrasive and aggressive stance in recent months.

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