FORWARD TO "SHOW ME THE MAN"
The Martin Meehan Official Biography By Joe Graham
“Joe, I want you to do something for me”, said Martin Meehan as he stepped into my wee ‘den’ at the back of my house where I write the “Rushlight Magazine.”I got up and shook hands with him, he then quickly side stepped me and stole my comfortable chair as he usually did when he visited. Laughing and forced to reach for the uncomfortable small stool that I keep there supposedly for ‘visitors‘, I sat down and said, “Yes, sure Martin, what is it?” He went on to say that if anything ever happened to him he wanted me to promise that I would tell his story. Naturally of course, we kidded each other and joked about it, especially as to why he thought I would out live him. One might wonder why he approached me in particular to undertake this task, I can only suggest that it was because, as Martin said, “You and I go back a long time, Joe!” There are many who knew Martin Meehan as a soldier, a comrade, and a champion of the people but there are few who had the privilege of calling him friend. Martin was right; we did go back a long way, right back to childhood in fact. He and I were boyhood friends and as we grew up we witnessed the injustices and struggles endured by the Catholic people at that time. By the mid 1960s we were both fired with youthful enthusiasm to challenge and confront the discriminatory and unjust laws of the British ‘puppet’ Government at Stormont. I am very proud to have been his comrade through an era when it could rightly be said that the groundwork for revolution was being laid.
I have not written this book to romanticise the hero that Martin Meehan undoubtedly was. It was to honour a request by a friend and as a historian I feel that his name is worthy to be recorded among the greatest of our Irish patriots. It is written from an unashamedly personal point of view as one who was an eyewitness to much of Martin’s life and his involvement in Irish Republican Socialism. The details of this book expose many of the draconian practices that were used against the Catholic working class and I make no apologies for my frank and honest commentary on those events. There are a number of people mentioned by name in this book but there are also many more that remain nameless whose personal stories, if written, would leave us a valued library.
Once I agreed to tell his story, Martin gave me his full co-operation and we spent many hours together where I videoed his conversations in an effort to record his memories and compile notes that allowed an authentic biography to be written. When Martin died in November 2007, I felt a sense of urgency to complete this work and was encouraged greatly by Martin’s widow, Briege, and his children, who were aware of Martin’s wishes regarding this book. I was further encouraged by the many messages of support and goodwill that were sent to my website once it became known that I was to write Martin’s story.
The reason I chose the title -“Show Me The Man”is that it was taken from Martin’s all time favourite song, “Show Me The Man Who Does Not Love The Land Where He Was Born”.
It would be my hope that my story of the heroic life of Martin Meehan would both remind and inform people everywhere of the exceptional Irishman that he was, and may it also be an inspiration to an upcoming generation to realise the dream that men like Martin fought for.