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.
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.
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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