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Letter signatories a who's who of the well-known

Peter Canavan is among those who signed the letter sent to Taoiseach Leo Vardkar
Gareth McKeown

THE list of signatories urging taoiseach Leo Varadkar to protect the rights of nationalists in the north includes figures from sports, arts and the worlds of legal and academia.

Leading GAA figures include former All Ireland Tyrone winning captain Peter Canavan and current county star Ronan McNamee among the huge representation from the GAA fraternity.

They are joined by former Down manager Ross Carr, former Armagh goalkeeper Benny Tierney, former Down all-star and Irish News columnist Danny Hughes and ex-Armagh manager and current Irish International Rules manager Joe Kernan.

Peter Quinn, a former GAA president and well-known businessman is also among those to sign the letter.

Republic of Ireland football star James McClean is also a signatory along with Belfast boxers Paddy Barnes and brothers Michael and Jamie Conlan.

Within the arts notable signatories include Co Antrim novelist and screenwriter Rónan Bennett and Oscar-winning director Terry George, while in the media contingent Irish News columnist Brian Feeney features.

Brian McCartney, QC heads a weighty legal sector, alongside prominent Belfast solicitors Kevin Winters, Peter Madden and Westminster Sinn Féin candidate John Finucane.

Notable signatures in the community sector are former Holy Cross priest Fr Gary Donegan and Eugene Reavey.

Mr Reavey spent years fighting to clear his name after former DUP leader Ian Paisley used parliamentary privilege to wrongly name him as being involved in the murder of 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmill in 1976. The attack happened a day after Mr Reavey's three brothers were fatally wounded in an attack on their family home at nearby Whitecross, carried out by the Glenanne gang.

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