Ceremonies to mark the 90th anniversary of the execution by Free State forces of legendary West Belfast republican Joe McKelvey (right) will take place this weekend.

A service will be held this Saturday (December 8) in the Joe McKelvey Memorial Garden on the Grosvenor Road at 2.30pm  when a brief wreath-laying ceremony will take place followed by a lecture by West Belfast historian Jimmy McDermott on the life and times of Joe and the circumstances surrounding his execution.

At the time of his death Joe was Assistant Chief of the IRA and was being held in Mountjoy Prison after having been captured after the bombardment of the Four Courts in Dublin during the Civil War. On the morning of December  8, 1922, Joe, along with Rory  O’Connor, Liam Mellowes and Richard Barrett, were taken from their cells and executed in reprisal for the killing of Seán Hales.

A native of Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Joe McKelvey lived with his family in Cyprus Street, having moved to the city when his father, a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, was posted to Springfield Road station.

In November 1924 Lieutenant McKelvey’s remains were returned to Belfast for burial in the Republican Plot in Milltown Cemetery. Hundreds of RUC men and B-Specials were also present and attempted to remove the national flag covering the coffin. They failed to do so.

For more details, you can contact Mickey McCorry on 90 246743.

Also on Saturday, the Andersonstown Historical Society and the National Graves Association will combine to hold a wreath-laying ceremony in tribute to Joe McKelvey and his three comrades at Milltown Cemetery.

The wreath-laying will get under way at 12.45pm and later that evening a function will be held to mark the anniversary in the Andersonstown Social Club.