Bob Doyle

Two statements by Sinn Fein

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has expressed her sympathy on the death of Bob Doyle, the last surviving member of the Connolly Column, the Irish section of the International Brigade which fought for the Spanish Republic 1936-1939.

The Dublin MEP said:

"On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to pay tribute to the late Bob Doyle and to express sympathy with his family, friends and comrades. As the last member of the James Connolly Column of the International Brigade, Bob's passing marks the end of an era. The heroic stand of the International Brigade in defence of the Spanish Republic against fascism has inspired generations of people across the globe, including the Irish people. Many of Bob's Irish comrades gave their lives in that struggle.

"Bob Doyle, a native of North King Street, Dublin, began his life of political activism as a member of the IRA's Dublin Brigade. His opposition to British imperialism in Ireland and his commitment to the cause of socialism and internationalism never wavered. He shared his experiences of struggle with young people and also his youthful enthusiasm. He will be greatly missed."

Published: 23 January, 2009.

Spanish Civil War hero remembered

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has expressed his sadness at the death of Bob Doyle, the last known Irish survivor of the Spanish Civil War.

Mr Boylan said:

"Bob Doyle will be remembered with great fondness and pride by socialists around the world. He set an example to everyone, by the courage that he had shown in the face of fascism in Europe.

"Bob left his native Dublin for Spain in 1937 to fight in the Connolly Column for the republicans against Franco's fascists; he was captured in March 1938 by Italian fascists and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to 10 years imprisonment.

"After 10 months of systematic beatings and close to starvation Bob was released in a prisoner exchange for Italian prisoners being held by the republican side in the war. Bob then returned to Ireland to continue campaigning against fascism and carried on his unrelenting resistance to this vile doctrine in World War 2.

"Throughout the remainder of his life he continued to speak out for his friends and comrades who had given their lives in the Spanish Civil War and against Franco's Government.

"One of Bob's last major public appearances was the unveiling of the memorial opposite Saint Anne's Cathedral in Belfast to those from all over the world who fought for the Republican side in Spain.

"Bob Doyle was an Irish hero who will be sadly missed by all those who knew him."

Issued January 26, 2009

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