Commemoration to mark 40th anniversary of teenager Volunteer’s murder

October 13, 2014

A number of events are being organised to mark the upcoming 40th anniversary of one of the IRA’s youngest Volunteers, Óglach Michael ‘Sticky’ Hughes.

Michael was just 16 years old when he was shot by the British army on 18th October 1974, while on IRA active service.

Newry 1916 Association (CASCA), in conjunction with the Derrybeg Martyrs Sinn Féin Cumann, will mark his anniversary with the unveiling of the refurbished memorial.  This ceremony follows a street theatre performance recounting the journey of Michael Hughes, which gets underway at 2.30pm on Sunday 19th October at the entrance to Derrybeg Estate.

Michael Hughes grew up on the Derramore Road, Bessbrook before moving with his family to Derrybeg in the late 1960s. He attended St Peter’s Primary School, Cloughreagh, and later the Abbey Grammar and St Joseph’s, Armagh Road.

His sister Kathleen recalls her early memories of Michael at primary school: “Michael was quiet and was noted for being a bright pupil.  He was the type of person who made friends easily and was popular in Derrybeg and the wider Newry area. Most people knew him by his nickname ‘Sticky’.”

Michael was 14 years old when his father Patsy, an IRA volunteer, was killed in a premature explosion in August 1972.  Michael was the eldest in his family of five sisters and one brother, their mother was three months pregnant with their youngest sister at the time.

Michael had to grow up very quickly and would do his best to help out his mother and his younger siblings.   Kathleen recalled that neighbours and friends were very good to the family.

Just two weeks before he was killed, Michael left school and began work in the Nylon factory on the Armagh Road.

Speaking on the approach to the 40th anniversary of the young Volunteer’s death, local Sinn Féin Councillor Charlie Casey said: “Volunteer Michael Hughes will forever be remembered with pride by his loving family, friends and comrades in the Republican Movement. It is the memory of Michael and all those like him that we continue forward in pursuit of Irish freedom. I urge people to attend this event and show solidarity with the family and friends of this brave young man.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony commencing at 2.30pm on Sunday 19th October. Assemble at entrance to Derrybeg.