The late John Joe McGirl
Just four years ago, in August 2013, Martin McGuinness gave the oration at the annual John Joe McGirl Commemoration in Ballinamore. Martin spoke eloquently of his memories of meeting John Joe on many occasions during the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s. On Saturday August 19, Martin’s son, Fiachra McGuinness, will deliver the oration at the John Joe McGirl monument, as part of the annual commemoration.
Republicans throughout Leitrim, and the McGirl family in particular, are awaiting the visit of Fiachra McGuinness to Ballinamore. John Joe McGirl was a legendary republican, known and respected far beyond the boundaries of Co Leitrim. He suffered greatly in pursuit of his ideal of a united and free Ireland and spent many years in various prisons from the Curragh in the 1940s to Long Kesh in the 1970s. He was also a TD and County Councillor and represented all of the people with honour and pride.
His death in December 1988 brought people together from all corners of Ireland and from all political persuasions. It is generally acknowledged it was the biggest funeral ever seen in Ballinamore.
The parade, headed by the Mountain Road Pipe Band, will start from the Square at 8pm sharp on Saturday, 19 August. The general public and people who are in town for the Festival are invited to take part in the parade and commemoration. The night ends with ceol agus craic, appropriately enough, in McGirl’s Pub. Beidh fáilte roimh chuile duine a ghlacann páirt sa chomóradh stairiúil seo.
The annual event will be held during the Ballinamore Family Festival.