John Joe Hoey: an obituary

Anthony Coughlan and Jim Savage pay tribute to veteran left-wing republican John Joe Hoey who died recently in America

THE IRISH Democrat is saddened to hear of the death of John Joe Hoey, Republican Congress veteran from the 1930s, who passed away in New Jersey, USA, on 19 May, aged 91 after a brief illness.

Mr Hoey, whose roots were in the west of Ireland and who had lived in the USA for many years, was one of the last surviving individuals who attended the famous Republican Congress meeting in Athlone in 1934.

At the onset of World War II he was interned for his republican views by the De Valera Government, along with Jim Savage, Derry Kelleher, Michael O'Riordan and others in the Curragh camp, Kildare.

After emigrating to New York he suffered harassment for years from the FBI for his republican and left-wing associations.

He made a modest living as a cemetery worker, and raised a family in Woodside, Queens, a New York Irish immigrant community. He remained active in Irish republican circles and in the NICRA support group which sought to raise money for the Northern civil rights movement in the early 1970s.

Several representatives of Clan naGael attended the funeral and provided a guard of honour near the coffin, which was draped in the Irish tricolour.

During his years in the USA, Hoey supported many progressive causes such as trade union organising and anti-war activities. He often expressed appreciation of the work of the Connolly Association and Irish Democrat in Britain and used say that the cause of a united independent Ireland would be much nearer attainment if the Irish community and friends of Ireland in Britain were as organised as they were in the USA.

He was a great friend of the Gralton family, Co.Leitrim. With little formal education, he In his last years John Joe lived quietly in Verona, New Jersey, near his children, Sean and Maura. He was the salt of the earth. His wife, Elizabeth, survives him.(AC)

Jim Savage adds:

It was with great sorrow that I heard of the death of my friend John Joe Hoey in New Jersey.

We first met in the Curragh internment camp around 1940 and both of us attended the internees’ Connolly study group.

After leaving the camp we kept in touch by post as John Joe left to live in the USA a short time after his release.

All through the years he received the Irish Democrat and often commented on how much he looked forward to receiving the paper.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2003-07-17 14:21:48.
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