An article by Sean Bresnahan.
Today marks the 40th Anniversary of IRA Volunteers George McBrearty and Charles ‘Pop’ Maguire — Derry Brigade, Óglaigh na hÉireann — who made the ultimate sacrifice while engaging enemy forces, defending the Irish Republic and the right of the Irish people to be free, ‘on the slopes of the Creggan’, 28th May 1981.
Exceptional soldiers both, they took the war to the British state and more, leading the fight from the front without fear. The continuing respect with which they are held, by those who with them stood on the line, is testament not only to their courage and dedication but to their leadership abilities as well — for as leaders they are remembered above all else.
Every day must carry sadness for their families, who have lived the last decades without the one they called brother, father, son. But the anniversary itself must be doubly so, as their trauma will no doubt be magnified. I want them to know that they are in the thoughts of Republicans today.
Thinking on these brave men, and what they gave, there is surely one thing that needs said. While we will hold them up for the heroes that they are, yes, rightly, this alone will not suffice. This generation of Irish Republicans must work in campaign to advance the object for which they gave their lives, the Republic. That is the only action we can set towards worthy of all that those young men gave up. The Irish Republic will stand as our monument to George and Pop.
When the story of Ireland’s freedom is then told, among the names of the gallant will be Charles Maguire and George McBrearty. Rightly, they will be to the fore. We will speak of you for what you were — brave and principled Irish soldiers who stood in the gap of danger, that others might know a better future.
While the struggle to carve that better future for our people and our country has not yet ended, we who remain will continue on the path set by these magnificent Patriots. In their name and in their memory, let us win that Republic for which they fought and died. Always remember — don’t ever forget; they died for our freedom, we owe them a debt. An Phoblacht Abú.