In Memory Of Two IRA Volunteers Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, from Magherafelt, County Derry and Ciarán Fleming, who had broken out of Long Kesh prison in the Great Escape of 1983
In the early hours of Sunday morning on 2 December 1984, in cold sleety conditions, Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde and Ciaran Fleming stole a Toyota van in Pettigo, County Donegal. The van was then loaded with 9 beer kegs, each containing 100lbs of low explosives. They then crossed the border and travelled to Kesh, County Fermanagh. At the Drumrush Lodge Restaurant just outside of Kesh they then planted a landmine in a lane leading to the restaurant and wired up a device which was connected to an observation point. From there a hoax call was made in order to lure the British Army to the restaurant on the pretence that there was a firebomb planted within the restaurant. Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde observed a RUC patrol car approaching the restaurant and gave the detonation code word "one", however, the mine failed to explode. There was another car parked in the car park which Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde believed to contain civilians, and he got out of the van from which he was observing the scene to warn the civilian car to leave the area.
when he approached the car, two Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers got out and commanded him to halt and drop his gun. Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde, who was unarmed, informed the SAS of this and then one of the SAS men stepped forward and shot him on his left side. He was then handcuffed and shot dead. After Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde was shot his comrade Ciaran Fleming drowned in the swollen Bannagh River as he tried to get away. At the funeral of Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, the RUC, wielding batons, tried to remove the Tricolour from the coffin. They insisted on putting Land Rovers in the centre of the cortege and rammed the family car to get behind the hearse. The family then stopped the funeral until the RUC removed themselves from the cortege. After 20 minutes, the RUC pulled out of the cortege and the mourners made their way to St Mary's Church, where Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams delivered the oration.
Ciarán Fleming's body was not found until 21 December. His funeral took place on Christmas Eve and, despite further attacks by the RUC, he was laid to rest by his comrades with military honours.
The Republican Sinn Fein party branch in Glenade, County Leitrim is known as the Kieran Fleming/Tony McBride Cumann after Kieran Fleming and Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde. On 29 January 2007, Sinn Féin member Lughaidh Mac Giolla Bhrighde, a younger brother of Mac Giolla Bhrighde, voted against giving the leadership the power to participate in the province's policing and justice structures at the extraordinary conference, or Ard Fheis, in Dublin.