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2017 Hunger Strike Commemoration to take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo

13 June, 2017 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

The 2017 National Hunger Strike Commemoration will take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo on Sunday, 13 August and will feature former Hunger Striker and Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly as the main speaker.

Details of the commemoration were announced at a launch in Castlebar today.

Chairperson of the 2017 Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee and former Sligo County Councillor Sean MacManus said preparations were advanced for a large turnout to remember the Hunger Strikers in Ballina in August and he outlined a list of commemorative events in Mayo and neighbouring counties in the run up to the rally.

Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway Walsh said she was delighted that this year’s event was taking place in the home county of Hunger Strikers Seán McNeela, Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg.

Gaughan and Stagg died on hunger strike in English jails in the 1970s, while another Mayo republican, Seán McNeela, also died on hunger strike in 1940 along with his friend and comrade Tony D’arcy from neighbouring Co. Galway.

This year’s Commemoration will remember McNeela, D’arcy, Gaughan and Stagg alongside the ten men who died on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh in 1981 - Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Mickey Devine.

At today's launch Senator Conway Walsh read out a statement of support for the commemoration from George Stagg, brother of Frank Stagg. He called for as many people, especially young people, to turn out and salute the bravery and to celebrate the lives of all the republican Hunger Strikers.

The Commemoration march and rally will take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo on Sunday, 13 August beginning at 3pm.

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