FERMANAGH and Omagh District Council has passed a vote of sympathy to the family of Tom Mitchell following the death of the veteran republican and former MP last week at the age of 88.
Mr Mitchell, who was from Dublin, had been a regular visitor to Tyrone over the past few decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, he campaigned in a number of elections, speaking at rallies throughout the Mid-Tyrone area.
The vote of sympathy was passed at the council’s meeting last week. But two Unionist councillors, Errol Thompson of the DUP and Bert Wilson of the UUP, expressed their opposition to the move due to Mr Mitchell’s involvement in the 1954 IRA raid on St Lucia Barracks in Omagh.
Omagh town Sinn Féin councillor, Barry McElduff, said he had grown up listening to stories about the 1950s IRA campaign and Tom Mitchell’s part in the raid on St Lucia Barracks and his subsequent election as an MP.
“In our house, my father always talked about the 1950s campaign and about the importance of Tom Mitchell,” the Carrickmore politician said.
“The people of Tyrone faithfully backed Tom in the 1950s and I was proud to get to know him in his later life.
“We compared notes on the political challenges of the 1950s and the era leading up to the Good Friday Agreement.
“Tom was a very decent, intelligent and mannerly man as far as I was concerned and I was proud to meet him. He was a leading republican figure of his time who did his very best and won the support of the people.”
Posted: 11:30 am August 1, 2020