On a beautiful summer’s day, 13th July just past, republicans from across Tyrone and beyond turned out in their hundreds to mark the anniversaries of IRA Volunteers Martin Hurson and Willie Price. Paying tribute to the immense sacrifice of both men in the struggle for Irish freedom, those assembled made their way to their gravesides in Galbally and Brocagh to stand in solidarity with their families and loved ones.
The days proceedings began in Galbally at the grave of H-Block Hungerstriker Martin Hurson, with the PH Pearse Society Galbally/Cappagh holding their annual commemoration. The reading of the Proclamation and the Tyrone Brigade Roll of Honour, the lowering of the national flag and Amhrann na bhFiann, all formed part of a poignant ceremony, with wreaths laid on behalf of the Hurson family, the 1916 Societies, Friends and Comrades and Tyrone National Graves. Upon concluding proceedings those gathered made the short journey to the tiny hamlet of Brocagh, not far from Ardboe and the shores of Lough Neagh in East Tyrone, the resting place of Volunteer Willie Price.
Assembling on the main street, a short parade led by the John Brady Memorial Flute Band made its way to the nearby chapel grounds and the graveside of Willie Price. In a dignified commemoration to mark 30 years from his death on Active Service wreaths were laid on behalf of his family, the 1916 Societies, Friends and Comrades and Tyrone National Graves. As in Galbally, the Proclamation and Tyrone Brigade Roll of Honour were read aloud, followed by a touching, heartfelt tribute by Willie’s sister and a beautiful poem, ‘The Price of Freedom’, written and performed in his memory by Dunganon singer/song-writer Tony McNally. The lowering of the national flag and Amhrann na bhFiann rounded off a fitting day’s events.
The commendable efforts of Tyrone republicans demonstrate a commitment to ensure those who took up the cause of Irish freedom are remembered with honour and pride and that those who paid the ultimate sacrifice remain at the forefront of our thoughts going forward. They remain an enduring testament to the spirit of freedom that exists to this day among the Irish people and an example to those who hope to see the free Ireland for which they gave up their lives. Fuair siad bhas ar son saoirse na hEireann.