Republicans to mark anniversary of murder

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Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill is to be guest speaker at the commemoration for murdered Magherafelt councillor John Joe Davey.

Councillor Davey was murdered by loyalists as he drove home from the monthly meeting of Magherafelt District Council on February 14 1989.

The 61-year-old was found slumped behind the steering wheel of his car in the laneway of his home at Gulladuff.

Lavey Sinn Féin have organised a special graveside commemoration to take place on Sunday, February 17, at 2pm. Several hundred republicans from counties Derry and Tyrone are expected to attend the event.

Announcing details of the commemorative event, Councillor Sean McPeake said: “Gerry Adams in the introduction to a special commemorative booklet states that John, was for a generation, the heart and soul of our republican community in south Derry.

“John was one of those iconic republican leaders who in the bad times stood firm and resolute and who led from the front. He never allowed the threats or violence of the British or the unionists to prevent him from doing his duty and pursuing republican objectives.

“On Sunday, February 17, we will gather in Lavey’s old graveyard, at John’s final resting place, to remember this courageous and remarkable man who was born into difficult times.

“We will remember John as a freedom fighter, a political activist, a founding member of the civil rights movement, a political prisoner, a negotiator, an elected representative, a Sinn Féin leader, a loving husband, father and a grandfather.”

Councillor Davey was elected as a Sinn Fein councillor to Magherafelt Council in May 1985.

Before his death Councillor Davey was named by the then DUP MP, Rev William McCrea, in the House of Commons, as being involved in an IRA murder. After his death some Unionist councillors refused to stand for a minute’s silence.