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Spanish Civil War hero remembered

26 January, 2009 - by Cathal Boylan

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has expressed his sadness at the death of Bob Doyle, the last known Irish survivor of the Spanish Civil War.

Mr Boylan said:

"Bob Doyle will be remembered with great fondness and pride by socialists around the world. He set an example to everyone, by the courage that he had shown in the face of fascism in Europe.

"Bob left his native Dublin for Spain in 1937 to fight in the Connolly Column for the republicans against Franco's fascists; he was captured in March 1938 by Italian fascists and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to 10 years imprisonment.

"After 10 months of systematic beatings and close to starvation Bob was released in a prisoner exchange for Italian prisoners being held by the republican side in the war. Bob then returned to Ireland to continue campaigning against fascism and carried on his unrelenting resistance to this vile doctrine in World War 2.

"Throughout the remainder of his life he continued to speak out for his friends and comrades who had given their lives in the Spanish Civil War and against Franco's Government.

"One of Bob's last major public appearances was the unveiling of the memorial opposite Saint Anne's Cathedral in Belfast to those from all over the world who fought for the Republican side in Spain.

"Bob Doyle was an Irish hero who will be sadly missed by all those who knew him." ENDS

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