The annual John Joe McGirl Commemoration will take place this Saturday evening in Ballinamore, commencing at 8pm.
The parade will be led by the Mountain Road Pipe Band through the town to the McGirl Monument at the bridge where the main oration will be delivered by Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh from Galway.
John Joe McGirl died in 1988 after a lifetime of service to republicanism, including two periods of internment without trial North and South, and five terms of political imprisonment. He was elected TD for Sligo-Leitrim in 1957 and was a key figure in the rebuilding of the republican struggle in 1969 in Leitrim and across the country.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer this week, Cllr Martin Kenny said, “John Joe McGirl helped to ensure that not only did republicanism survive but that it thrived. He understood the need to adopt new tactics and strategies to suit new political circumstances.
“He had the foresight to realise that republicans would have to adapt themselves to the terrain through which they would have to travel on the long journey to their ultimate goal of a democratic All-Ireland Republic.
“This was because, as Gerry Adams said in his funeral oration, John Joe was “of the people and he was with the people’’.
“John Joe knew that if the republican struggle was not a people’s struggle it was nothing.
“The fine monument to John Joe at the bridge in Ballinamore describes the republican people of Leitrim as much as McGirl himself with its inscription ‘An unbroken and unbreakable Fenian’.”
The Mountain Road Pipe Band will lead the parade from the square at the top of the town where people assemble at 7.45pm to the Monument at the bridge.
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