40th Anniversary Commemoration

Thank you to all who attended the event and for making it such a special day for the family, it was great to see such a big turn out of republicans of all hues and indeed to see so many of the ‘Old Brigade’, from ‘Operation Harvest’ veterans onward. All remembered Big Joe with such fondness and spoke very highly of him as a friend and comrade.

Thanks to all who came to us and shared their personal experiences of Joe, it was uplifting to hear how much he meant to everyone he helped within the community. It confirmed to us that Joe was much more than a great IRA commander, he was a true humanitarian and socialist and thought more about others than he did about himself and he would have it no other way. ‘A struggle by the people for the people’


I will attach some photo’s and links to reaction etc. below.






Joe McCann – Anniversary parade


In the late 1960s and early 1970s Joe McCann tried to counter the divisions in the Belfast working class, attempting to bring all together through tenants associations and trades unions. He resisted the brutality of the British Army and Special Branch, especially following the Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday massacres. Earmarked for this opposition to “divide and rule”, he was shot dead – unarmed and in the back – by British paratroopers and Special Branch in Joy Street on 15 April 1972.

Last month the 40th anniversary of his death was marked by a dignified and well attended parade which filled the streets of the Markets area. With no placards and no slogans shouted and with the extended family members, four colour flags and a solitary piper leading, the march proceeded to the spot where he had fallen, aged 24.

The platform was confined to his two daughters and two sons, who welcomed the parade, gave an oration and a song and poem specially written in his memory. His widow then laid a wreath in tribute.

With much music, song and poetry inspired by his short life, it is a name that will be remembered as an Irish Che Guevara by a new generation.

Colour Party at graveside.

Colour Party Hamilton Street 15th April 2012.