Letters to the Editor

Rededication anniversary for Tyrone Garden of Remembrance

An Easter commemoration at the Garden of Remembrance in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone in 2014 

THE origins of the Garden of Remembrance, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone go back 93 years to 1928. It was the idea of a group of men, active in 1916 and as IRA men during the War of Independence, my father Bartley McElroy one of them. Seven of that group were the original trustees of the Garden of Remembrance and are as follows. Patrick Morrow, Bartley McElroy, Christy Meenagh, John Dugan, James Nugent, James Toal and Michael McCartan. 

Money for the ‘Memorial Fund’ was raised by the Tyrone Society of Philadelphia. However, due to legal proceedings taken against the trustees by then minister of home affairs, Dawson Bates, under the Special Powers Act, and financial difficulties associated, the monument was never fully completed. In the mid-1950s the granite base at the site was blown up amid the rising tide of republicanism in this era marked most notably by the campaign, election, internment and release of Saor Uladh’s Liam Kelly and later by the IRA ‘border campaign’. From this point until the late-60s the monument at the site remained both damaged and incomplete.

In 1968 the surviving 1928 trustees legally transferred their position to a new generation of republican trustees. This group formed a committee to rededicate the, site which included the following members: chairman James McElduff, Merchanstown, Loughmacrory; vice-chairman, Brian Mallaghan, Tremogue, Pomeroy; secretary Paddy Joe McClean, Beragh; treasurer Michael Ward Brackey, Sixmilecross; assistant treasurer Brian McMahon, Clare, Carrickmore; ex-officio members: John Paddy Mullan, Strews, Rock; Dessie Gourley, Moveagh, Rock; Frank McElroy, Carrickmore; Peter John Monaghan, Coravanaghan, Kildress; Eugene Quinn, Slate Quarry; Jim McGuckin, Ardboe. Monies for the new project were provided by the National Graves Association (Tyrone Branch) who raised them through a 200-member, monthly subscription draw. The design of the new garden was the work of architect Patrick Haughey.

On Easter Monday April 12 1971 a uniformed colour party led a parade to the garden in open defiance of a ban on such by the British colonial parliament at Stormont. Paddy Joe McClean and James McElduff presided over ceremonies. The crowd was addressed by Nora Connolly O’Brien, daughter of 1916 leader, James Connolly, and fellow Republican Tom Mitchel previously elected, on an abstentionist ticket, as MP for Mid-Ulster in 1955. Also on the platform were Greencastle republican Frank Morris, Tyrone GAA chairman Paddy Corey and Tyrone Gaelic League chairman Art McCaughey

We are fast approaching the 50th anniversary of the rededication of this famous site. Today the Garden of Remembrance is in law still the property of its present trustees. As recently as 2015 the trustees legally gave permission to the Tyrone National Graves Association, ‘upon trust’, to use the site ‘for the purpose of remembrance in accordance with the objects of the Tyrone National Graves Association’. Such permission in no way compromises the standing of the trustees.     

Frank McElroy
Trustee, Garden of Remembrance
 Co Tyrone



Silence over concerning breach of Good Friday Agreement is deafening

THE silence from the Irish government and Sinn Féin concerning the British government’s continued breach of the Good Friday Agreement, through its imposition of abortion on demand on Northern Ireland, is deafening.

Abortion is one of the issues that was devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Despite this fact, during the period that the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended, the British parliament voted in 2019 to impose wide-ranging abortion on the north. 

The British government has followed this up by recently publishing regulations to compel the northern executive to implement this horrific abortion law.

Regardless of one’s views on abortion, the failure of the Irish government, which is co-guarantor of the international agreement, and Sinn Féin, which is a signatory of the Good Friday Agreement, to demand that the British government respects all the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, not just the ones that suit their agenda, should be a matter of grave concern to all of us.

Nicola Daveron
Galway For Life


We should bring down the Northern Ireland Executive

THE unelected Secretary of State Brandon Lewis is preparing to impose a further horrific abortion regime on the north, riding roughshod over the wishes of the vast majority of the population here who wish to save the lives of both mothers and their unborn babies from this murderous onslaught.

Abortion is exclusively reserved for the assembly. This means the secretary’s actions amount to nothing less than a coup d’etat, effectively making redundant ministerial positions, neutralising my vote, and throwing democracy into the waste bin.

Further, it means any decision taken by the assembly can now be disregarded according to the secretary’s latest whims.

As a pro life voter, I ask your readers to write to their MLAs and demand they stop this genocide of, and discrimination against, the unborn by withdrawing their parties from the executive in response to this unconstitutional power grab. 

Bringing down the executive will mark a return of democratic accountability and power restoration to elected ministers answerable to the people of Northern Ireland. It will also save the lives of the – as yet – unconceived children now at risk of abortion and prevent the well-documented traumatic post-abortion effects on mothers.

John Austin 




Saddened by opinion piece on abortion 

I WAS saddened by Fionnuala O Connor’s opinion piece (March 23) on abortions. I don’t want to stop women having abortions to protect my conscience, I want to protect the babies, do they not deserve the same chance Fionnuala and I got when we were conceived? We should be giving a voice to these little ones who can’t speak for themselves.

Patsy Turbitt

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access