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27 April 2006 Edition

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1916-2006: Easter Commemorations

Republicans learn from history - Kelly

CORK

Hundreds of people gathered in Crossbarry, West Cork last weekend to mark the 85th anniversary of one of the biggest military engagements of the War of Independence between the British Army and Tom Barry's West Cork flying column.

The proceedings were opened by the Chair of the Kilmichael/Crossbarry Committee Con O'Callaghan and the main speaker was North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly. Pearse Gunn read the Proclamation. Sinn Féin Councillors Donnacha O Sé and John Desmond were in attendance.

Kelly met Tom Barry in Cork in 1972 as a young IRA Volunteer. "What I remember most about our conversations was that, despite our youth, he showed us respect and discussed the struggle in the North on an equal basis. As far as he was concerned it was the continuation of the struggle for Irish freedom to which he and his comrades had dedicated themselves."

Kelly said that republicans are not chained by history but that "They learn from it and use it. That is why important initiatives have been taken on so many occasions. While unionists are fixated with slowing down and frustrating change republicans want more change, want to move on from the past. But there will be a need for more discipline and a well of patience by republicans.

"More courage is called for. Those who have set their minds against change will be more provocative. The bigots and the securocrats dream of wrecking the structures of change. They want to destroy rather than build. Their tools are bigotry, mistrust, political policing and paramilitary attacks. They should be starved of anything that feeds their frenzy."

DUBLIN

Crumlin

A large crowd of around 400, headed by Crumlin‚s Logue/Marley Cumann and accompanied by republican bands from Liverpool and Dublin and cumainn in Dublin South Central, marched from Errigal field to Eamonn Ceannt Park (Sundrive Park) where Sinn Féin councillor Dessie Ellis delivered the main speech. The Proclamation was read out and wreaths were laid at the memorial to the 1916 Proclamation signatory Eamonn Ceannt.

Derry

Derry City

A huge crowd gathered at the Republican plot in Derry City Cemetery for Derry City's annual Easter Commemoration on Sunday 16 April.

Martina Anderson, a former political prisoner and Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle member said the IRA's announcement last July was a "development of huge significance for all of us". While acknowledging that some people "are still struggling to come to terms with the IRA's historic decision to end its armed campaign", she went on to say that the move had nevertheless provided an opportunity to advance the peace process significantly. "A new era of empowerment in Irish politics has been initiated. The Army, by their armed struggle gave power to people who were discriminated against. The people must now empower themselves to shape a new Ireland of equality which does not rely on carefully fostered discrimination".

Limavady

In an historic watershed Limavady Borough Council formally agreed to celebrate the 1916 Rising for the first time. A civic reception in the Chambers last Friday was addressed by Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor Marion Donaghy and veteran republican Brendan McHenry. On Easter Sunday an official wreath from the Council was laid a the Republican plot.

Galway

Galway City

The Easter commemoration in Galway city was held at the Liam Mellows monument, near the recently renovated Eyre Square. The event was chaired by Cllr Danny Callinan. Former editor of An Phoblacht and current leader of the Leinster House team Mícheál Mac Donncha was the main speaker.

Ballinasloe

A commemoration was held at Creagh Cemetary at the grave of Volunteer Neol McCann. The oration was given by Ard Chomharile member and ex-POW Vincent Woods.

Rosmuc

Bhailigh suas le céad duine taobh amuigh de theach beag ceann tuí, i gcroílár Chonamara, chun ceiliúradh a dhéanadh ar dhuine de cheannródaithe na réabhlóide cúltúrtha agus polaitiúla san aois se caite. Is sa teach seo a chaith Paraic Mac Piarais cuid mhaith dá chuid ám suas go dtí a mbás i 1916. Cuireadh i gcuimhne don slua a bhí I láthair gur anseo a fuair an Piarsach an ionsparáid do go leor dá shaobhar próis agus filíocht, agus gur sa teach céanna a scríobh an Phiarsaigh an óráid a tugadh ag uaigh Uí Dhonnabháin Rossa. Dhfreastal na sínitheoirí uilig, cé is moite de Seanus Ó Conflaola, ar an teach seo ag ám éigin.

Is é Mícheál Mac Donncha a bhí mar príomh cainteoir ag an ocáid lán Gaeilge seo. Labhair sé ar an ocáid saor stat a bhí i mBaile Átha Cliath ar na Domhnach. Cé gur chuir sé fáilte roimhe seo, dúirt sé gur bé an "cuimhneacháin is fearr is féidir linn a dhéanadh do na fir agus mná a fuair bás I 1916 ná phrionsabal de forógra na Cásca a chuir i bhfeidhim, sé sin Éire Aontaithe, atá fiúntach dá n-ainm."

Bhí Colm Ó Ceannabháin, urlabhraí de chuid Sinn Féin i nGaillimh mar cathaoirleach ar an ocáid. Labhair sé ar an tionchar a bhí ag an Piarsach ar stair na hÉireann agus stair Rosmuc. Bhí agóid in n-aghaidh an Rialtas ag an ocáid chomh maith a d'eagraith cúpla duine áitiúila, agóid a thug Sinn Féin tacaíocht dhó. Tá sé anois cheithre bliain ó thug an t-Aire Pobail, Tuaithe agus na Gaeltachta, Eamonn Ó Cuiv agus Síle De Valera gealltanas do maoiniú sa region 1.2 milliún chub ionad oidreachta a thógail I Rosmuc. Maoiniú é seo nár tháinig ariamh. Meastú ar gealltanas bréagach é seo a túgadh i rith feachtas toghcháin?

Agus é ag caint ar forógra na Cásca, dúirt an Ceannabháineach gur "forógra é seo atá chomh tábhachtach inniú is a bhi i 1916, go mór mór is go leor dá chuid ábhar imithe gan chomhlíonadh. Níl aon Éire Aontaithe again fós, níl aon cothromaíocht bainte amach again de paistí na tire seo fós. Tá dualgas orainn uilig na h-aidhmeanna seo a bhaint amach, tá dualgas orainn caidreamh níos fearr a bhaint amach do mhuintir na tire seo, bidís Caitliceach, Protastúnach, de religiún eile nó gan creideamh, saoránaí na tire seo nó pobail nua in ár dtír."

Ba é sea an triú bliain as a chéile a d'eagraigh Sinn Féin Chontae na Gaillimhe comóradh ag Teach an Phiarsaigh, agus na huimhreacha ag dul i méid chuile bliain.

Tuam

The annual Tuam Martyrs Commemoration was held on Sunday 9 April . The main speaker was Micheal O'Seighin of the Rossport Five. Councillor Jason Devlin from Ballinasloe spoke also. Other speakers were Seán Lynch, former OC in Long Kesh, Francie Molloy, MLA, Cllr Pearse Doherty from Donegal and a speaker from the Basque Solidarity Group in Belfast.

Oranmore

A commemoration was held in Oranmore that evening and wreaths were laid at the grave of Commdt. Micheal Joseph Howley who fought in the Rising.

Mayo

The 90th anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising was held in Castlebar on Easter Sunday. Local Sinn Féin councillor Noel Campbell chaired the event and was joined by party colleagues Councillors Gerry Murray, Peter Clarke and Dave Keating. Up to 100 people from across Mayo, carrying banners and flags, walked through the streets of Castlebar to the 1798 monument in The Mall where they heard speeches from Sinn Féin MLA for South Down, Caitríona Ruane and the party's general election candidate in Mayo, Councillor Gerry Murray.

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