[Sinn Fein]

10th April 2002

Adams announces details of Tírghrá Commemorative event

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP this afternoon announced details of a national tribute to the families of IRA Volunteers, Sinn Fein activists and other republican activists who were killed in recent times. Mr. Adams said:

We have arranged this press conference to give you information about a very special event which is taking place on Saturday evening in the City West Hotel this weekend.

It is a national tribute to the families of IRA Volunteers, Sinn Fein activists and other republican activists who were killed in recent times.

The idea for this event, which is called Tírghrá, is a few years old and arose out of the developing peace process. This process, like any conflict resolution process, highlighted the need to develop a healing process as part of the need to alleviate the suffering of the families of those who had been killed or injured during 30 years of conflict.

Combatants from all of the forces involved in the conflict have died in the service of their particular cause. The grief of all of the families, whether of British soldiers, IRA Volunteers or loyalist paramilitary groups is undoubtedly the same.

Republicans are also very mindful of the plight of the families of the civilian dead whose grief, bewilderment and sense of loss is undoubtedly different from any other section.

In republican communities there are regular commemorative events for fallen republicans. As we all know this time of the year, Easter time, is a special time marking as it does the anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

The Tírghrá event will the first and is intended to be the only national tribute of this kind to the families of the republican dead. It will also be a commemoration and a celebration of these patriots.

The event has been organised by a small group of people - friends, former comrades of those who died, including Joe Cahill who is Chair of the Republican Commemoration Committee, former H-Block hunger Striker Raymond McCartney and Deirdre Whelan who is here today.

They have spent months putting together this very special event. I want to thank them all for their efforts.

In total almost 2000 family members representing almost 450 republican families will be present.

The majority of these families are relatives of those who died in the last 30 years. But families from other phases of struggle, as far back almost as the 1920s will be represented as well.

This is intended as a tribute to these families. Their grief and loss and their sacrifice is very real. So too is their pride in their loved ones. As they are entitled to be.

I hope Tírghrá will give all of them some sense of the gratitude, esteem and respect in which they are held by other republicans and nationalists.

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