The Blanket

In Remembrance
Gary Delaney • 25 February 2004

On February 7, 2004 was the third anniversary of the death of Thomas "Big Jack" Kelly, of Loughrea, County Galway. Too often is the passing of the rank and file ignored, much like the death of "Big Jack". His obituary was in the May 24, 2001 edition of An Phoblacht.


He was born in Ahascragh, the son of the local school principal, and was a lifelong republican. He worked for many years in Tynagh mines and had a big interest in Gaelic games, playing hurling in his youth. Throughout his life, he held republicans and the republican cause in the highest esteem. He admired the unselfish sacrifice of republican families and held regular collections for An Cumann Cabhrach. As an outspoken critic of British occupation in Ireland, he was a regular recipient of the unwanted and unwarranted attentions of the Free State police but he never wavered in his republican beliefs, despite this regular intimidation. In the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, Tommy led a walkout of Tynagh Mines and a closedown of production as a mark of respect to the victims and also to highlight the situation in the occupied Six Counties.


Galway republicans are much the poorer for the passing of this committed activist whose contribution to Ireland's freedom struggle will be fully chronicled in the fullness of time. Tommy Kelly died suddenly in February 2001. He will always be remembered by his comrades in Ahascragh, Loughrea and Óglaigh na hÉireann. A dhia saor Tomas O Cellaigh.





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