CANCER charity Marie Curie has distanced itself from an event being held memory of a dead IRA man and which purports to donate its proceeds to the charity.
A resident from Pomeroy contacted the News Letter to express serious concerns after flyers appeared in Tyrone advertising the “Seamus Woods Tug-of-War Annual Tournament” to be held in Pomeroy on Saturday, August 13 at 1pm.
What appears to be the logo of the Marie Curie charity also appears on the poster, with the words, “Proceeds Towards”.
“Flyers promoting this event have gone up all over Pomeroy and Dungannon in memory of Seamus Woods,” said the resident.
“But Seamus Woods was an IRA member who was killed when the bomb he was transporting to Pomeroy police station exploded prematurely in 1988.
“These flyers are in many of the shop windows in Pomeroy, saying all proceeds will be given to Marie Curie.
“But I had 13 friends from the Pomeroy area killed by the IRA and I know many people would not be keen to see this charity associated with such an event.”
Marie Curie distanced itself from the event.
“We were not aware of this event, have no involvement and were unaware that our logo was being used to promote the event,” a spokeswoman said.
“Members of the public often create their own events to benefit Marie Curie or decide to donate proceeds from an existing event without advising us.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said Marie Curie was being “abused” by the organisers of the event.
“Woods was an IRA terrorist killed when mortars he was preparing for an attack on Pomeroy RUC station prematurely exploded,” he said.
“Marie Curie is a very worthy charity which does a great deal of good work. It should not be abused in an attempt to bring a veneer of respectability to a celebration of terror.”
However, Cookstown Sinn Fein councillor Cahal Mallaghan defended the tug-of-war tournament.
“It will come as no surprise that republicans commemorate their dead all over Ireland,” he said.
“Seamus was a member of the Pomeroy community and it is important for his friends and family to remember him every year.”
Mr Mallaghan said the event was organised by the Seamus Woods Commemoration Committee. He had helped run the event at Pomeroy Plunketts GAC for a number of years as a steward. Although not able to attend the event this year, he said his party, fully supported it. Mr Mallaghan said he could not comment on the use of the Marie Curie logo on posters.
Ulster Unionist MLA for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, branded the flyers “disgusting and insensitive”.
She added: “If republicans wish to commemorate the evil deeds of Seamus Woods then I for one do not believe that the good name of Marie Curie Cancer Care should be sullied by being used to publicise the event,” she said.
“Furthermore, if the GAA is trying to de-politicise itself and make meaningful efforts to engage with other communities, then it would need to ensure that terrorist commemorations are not permitted in GAA premises.”
The secretary of the Tyrone GAA county board, Dominic McCaughey, said he was not aware of the event and directed questions to the secretary of Pomeroy Plunketts GAC. When contacted by the News Letter, the club secretary declined to comment.