‘The Great Escape’ comes to Ballymacnab

Newry Times News Posted by
Monday, May 7th, 2012

The dramatic story of how 38 IRA prisoners escaped from the H-Blocks of Long Kesh in September 1983 is to be told in Ballymacnab Hall on Friday 8th June by three prominent Republicans who were involved in its planning.

At the time the H-Blocks were labelled by the British as the “most secure prison in Western Europe”.  The IRA escape in 1983, the largest ever in British penal history, was a major embarrassment for the British government and the Ministry of Defense.

The presentation in Ballymacnab Hall will feature prominent Belfast Republicans Bobby Storey, Gerry Kelly and Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane who will reveal in an exciting and entertaining way how the escape plan was devised over many months by Republican prisoners in Long Kesh. A function will be held immediately after the event featuring local group, Paddywagon.

Speaking during a recent launch of the event, local Sinn Féin Councillor Mary Doyle said,

“The 1983 Long Kesh escape is a powerful and uplifting story of how Republicans used innovative and pioneering methods in their bid to secure freedom and it acted as a massive boost to Republican morale in the aftermath of the 1981 hunger strike.

“It is also interesting that we have a local link to the story as Keady Republican Eddie O’Connor was part of the operation, some of the escapees also passed through the local area in the aftermath of the escape. I would encourage people to come along to what will be a most entertaining and enjoyable night.”

The event takes place on Friday 8th June at 8pm in Ballymacnab Hall and tickets are available from the Armagh Sinn Féin Office: 02837511797.

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