CLONOE MARTYRS REMEMBERED 30 YEARS ON
From Tyrone National Graves
Today we will honour with pride the memory and sacrifice of four young volunteers Vol Kevin Barry O’Donnell, Vol Patrick Vincent, Vol Peter Clancy and Vol Sean O Farrell, East Tyrone Brigade killed by SAS at Clonoe. On 16th February 1992, 30 years ago today.
Kevin Barry, Patrick, Peter and Sean on Active Service had taken part in an attack on the RUC barracks in Coalisland and had made their way to St Patrick’s churchyard Clonoe to make their getaway. After they had dismantled their weapons the hidden SAS soldiers opened fire from all sides and without warning. They fired over 500 rounds without reply killing the four Volunteers. This was part of British government’s policy of shoot to kill, a policy sanctioned at the very highest levels of the British state.
Kevin Barry, Patrick, Peter and Sean’s story is one that must be remembered, it is a story of bravery, friendship and commitment. Their belief in a free and united Ireland is as relevant today. These four young men will always be remembered as Irish men who fought to remove the British occupation of their country and who made the ultimate sacrifice for Ireland.
Vol. Patrick Vincent was born on the 17th July 1972. Patrick was the second oldest in a family of four. He had two sisters and one brother. Patrick grew up on the outskirts of Dungannon, he attended St. Joseph’s High School, Coalisland where he was very popular with all his classmates. After leaving school he became a crane driver, which was to be his occupation until the time of his death. Patrick Joined the IRA in 1991 and was an active member during this time. His security consciousness was extremely high, so much so , that at the time of his death his family were completely unaware of his involvement. The Crown Forces also had no idea of his activities, allowing him and his Comrades to move freely. Patrick, or Paddy as he was called by his friends, was well known for his love of the craic at the weekends and his ability to have a joke with anyone. He was game for a laugh at anytime.
He is buried in the family plot at Edendork Graveyard, between Coalisland and Dungannon, not far from were he lived.
Vol. Kevin Barry O’ Donnell was born on the 24th March 1970. Christened Kevin Barry on an Easter Sunday by his parents, Jim and Celine, he was known as Barry to family and friends. Barry, an avid reader, was interested in nature and this was evident in his choice of career. While he was studying in England, Barry was arrested in May 1990 and charged with possession with intent. After 10 months in Brixton prison, he was released and deported. He endured constant harassment and death threats from the R.U.C., British army and the U.D.R. on a daily basis and despite it all, he remained a dedicated volunteer fighting for a united Ireland. Barry was a popular lad who enjoyed a pint or two and the craic with his many friends and comrades. Barry was a fluent Irish speaker and enjoyed Gaelic football supporting his county team, Tyrone and also had played as a youth for his local teams. The last family occasion, and the proudest time for Barry was the christening of his son, Ruairí who was born a month before he died.
Vol. Sean O Farrell was born on 20th September 1969. Sean was educated at the local primary school and later at St. Joseph’s Secondary. When he left school he took employment as a fitter welder, later moving on to start work with a local building suppliers, but still continuing his trade. Sean enjoyed life to the full with a particular interest in music and Irish culture. He was a familiar and popular face at the local sessions, giving a tune himself in the back room of Mc Girrs. He had an active social life attending many dances and discos. From a young age, Sean had shown a keen interest in the political situation developing around him, and he played an active part in the struggle to free Ireland. In May 1991 Sean and Barry were arrested, and remanded in gaol, on a charge which was later dropped. He immediately returned to active service on his release from gaol, undeterred and more committed than ever. Sean is laid to rest in the Republican Plot in Coalisland alongside his comrades and life-long friends Tony Doris and Barry O’ Donnell.
Vol. Peter Clancy was born on the 31st October 1970. He first went to Aughamullan primary school and then attended St. Joseph’s High School, Coalisland. Peter worked for Masterscreen International where he was popular with his fellow workers. When Peter was six years old, raids on his family home by the state forces were a common occurrence. From an early age he was educated enough to know the struggle in which he became involved was morally right and justifiable, and he had no illusions about what joining the IRA might entail. All those he came in contact with held him in high regard. After sustaining an injury on active service he re-dedicated himself to full involvement in the struggle, proving his unfaltering commitment. An active participant in all sports, Peter especially loved Gaelic football and was a life long member of Clonoe O’ Rahilly’s G.A.A. club. Members of the club formed a Guard of Honour at his funeral. Peter is buried in the cemetery adjacent to Clonoe chapel.
Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.
Independent Republican Commemoration for Clonoe Martyrs 30th Anniversary.
Volunteers Peter Clancy, Sean O’Farrell, Barry O’Donnell and Patrick Vincent were killed on active service 30 years ago at Clonoe Chapel on 16th February in 1992. A commemoration will be held on Wednesday 16th February with the families at 6pm in the carpark at Clonoe chapel.
Followed by a graveside commemoration at Volunteer Peter Clancy’s grave in Clonoe and then to the Republican Plot in Coalisland to commemorate Volunteer Sean O’ Farrell and Volunteer Barry O’Donnell. We will finish at the graveside of Volunteer Patrick Vincent in Edendork.
Events are organised by the Eamonn Ceannt Society Coalisland/Clonoe and the Thomas J Clarke Society, Dungannon along with family and friends of the Volunteers.
All are welcome!
Fáilte roimh chách!