Graveside oration for Derry Republican Jim (Hilter) Breslin

The death occurred on Saturday 12th May of Jim (Hilter) Breslin a lifelong and  committed republican  from Shantallow area of the city.

Jim A lifelong republican was one of the founding members of the Sinn Féin cumann in the Shantallow area and for years was the party’s organiser in the area.

At the City Cemetery graveside oration, former Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan said that Jim was a great inspiration to young republicans in Derry City and to the people of Shantallow, evident by the hundreds who attended the mass and at the city cemetery

Tony Hassan said of his “friend and comrade”:

Jim will always be remembered as someone who led from the front and for the hard work and dedication he gave to the republican cause “Like many other republicans in the early 1970s, Jim was at the forefront of protests and opposition to internment and British rule in Ireland, and when other work needed to be done Jim was never found wanting and because of that  dedication Jim was interned in 1974.

“He was very much seen as an ‘old hand’ back in the early 1970 and 80s, he was the man that the people of Shantallow went to for advice and guidance.

“His Carnhill home in Shantallow was always open to republicans no matter what their problems were and his work for the political prisoners and their families was always at the top of his list and ensured that those on the run had a bed for the night.

Jim never shied away from his responsibilities and ensured that the republican struggle continued at a time when many might have faltered. He took a leading role in protests during the Hunger Strikes and worked in the first election in 1982 when the late Martin McGuinness won a seat in the first Assembly, He supported the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement, and he worked for Sinn Féin right up until he fell into bad health.

“As we lay Jim to rest I could not but think that on many occasions he could be seen at the graves of soldiers of Óglaigh na hÉireann, tending the graves and ensuring they had the respect they deserved.  Jim never forgot his fallen comrades. In fact, he believed that their sacrifice should be a catalyst to spur us on in the pursuit of Irish unity.

“We will never forget the role he played in our struggle. He was in life an inspiration to those around him and in death people will look back on a man who was an example to us all.

“On behalf of Sinn Féin in Derry, I offer my deepest sympathy to Mary sons Michael, Seamus Paul and Eammon.

 Tony Hassan