27 March 2008 Edition
1916 Easter commemorations 2008
Large crowds celebrate 1916 Rising and declare support for Irish unity
IN Milltown Cemetery, Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy described himself as honoured to be speaking at the graveside of some of the finest Volunteers this generation or any other generation has produced to serve the cause of Ireland’s freedom.
Thousands attended the parade along the Falls and the participation of pikemen from Wexford and a contingent dressed in the uniforms of 1916 highlighted the centuries-old struggle for Irish freedom. Pipe, drum and flute bands from Belfast, the Glens of Antrim and Scotland accompanied the march, which included republican activists, Sinn Féin politicians, former POWs and members of the National Graves Association.
Delivering the oration Conor Murphy said republicans may be closer than ever to Irish unity but our opponents in Ireland and Britain continue to try and frustrate and sidetrack us.
Republicans need to organise by building alliances, work to expand the all-Ireland institutions and force the Irish Government to begin the practical preparations necessary for Irish reunification.
“Instead of handing over our sovereignty to the European Union, the Dublin Government should work to resolve the national question and return the ownership of Ireland to the people of Ireland,” said Murphy.
Murphy said that while republicans had defied the critics to reach agreement with the DUP, the sight of Ian Paisley working so readily with Martin McGuinness had excited the rejectionists within the DUP.
“In recent times, senior DUP figures have become increasingly hostile to the prospect of agreement around things like the transfer of powers on policing and justice, the Long Kesh project and the Irish Language Act.
“But let me make it clear to the DUP: if you think by being belligerent and abusive republicans will simply shrug our shoulders and give up on things important to this community then you had better think again. If you want to do battle over these issues, then so be it. We are well used to lengthy struggle. We will not allow the agenda for change to be halted.”
HUNDREDS of republicans from the New Lodge Road area of North Belfast turned out on Easter Monday, 24 March.
Relatives of the dead, including republican activists from the area, and the many civilians killed by pro-British elements, carried portraits of their loved ones in the parade as it made its way to the Memorial Garden at Donore Court.
As Frances Stroud read the Roll of Honour – reciting the many names from this small district of the people who lost their lives in the war – it brought home to the crowd the reality of British occupation.
Lisburn Sinn Féin Councillor Sam Baker delivered the main oration and commended the people of North Belfast in general and the New Lodge in particular for their fortitude over the years.
THE annual Ardoyne Easter commemoration parade saw a large crowd turn out on Tuesday, 25 March. Among the crowd were many former prisoners who, to this day, still play a central role in the politics of the area.
In Ardoyne, as with the other Easter parades in North Belfast, the commemoration encompasses the civilian dead of the area as well as those who were involved in the Republican Movement who gave their lives for the cause of Ireland’s freedom.
The Roll of Honour for Ardoyne has up to 100 names on it, many of whom were slaughtered by pro-British death squads as the British state carried out a murder campaign aimed at breaking the will of the people to resist.
The parade went from Elmfield Street through the district and down through the Oldpark to the memorial stone there.
Sinn Féin assembly member Jennifer McCann delivered the main oration. She commended the people of Ardoyne for their courage and fortitude over the years. She called on the republicans of Ardoyne to “mobilise the mass support that exists across the island in favour of unity and to draw in people and groups who are not connected to our movement,” adding:
“We are the only party that is capable of single-mindedly pursuing the goal of a united socialist Ireland and of providing the leadership for the Irish people.”
KATE McLaughlin and Phil Duffy unveiled the rebuilt memorial stone in New Barnsley on Tuesday, 25 March sending out a message that if the British Army and their loyalist surrogates could not break the will of the republican people of the greater Ballymurphy area then the criminals wouldn’t either.
Caral Ní Chuilín was the main speaker of the day and she reflected that not so long ago we were commemorating the anniversaries of Volunteers such as Seán Savage, who was gunned down by the SAS in Gibraltar, and Volunteer Kevin McCracken. Kevin was killed by the British Army as he prepared to ambush soldiers who were laying siege to the Savage household to intimidate Seán’s family.
Ní Chuilín also commended the family of Volunteer Pearse Jordan, killed while unarmed in 1992. The family are still carrying on their fight to force the British to hold a proper inquiry into Pearse’s death.
As a reminder that republicans still have to contend with police driven by politics rather than the wish to deliver a public service, the PSNI turned up before the parade ended and warned the participants they were attending an illegal parade.
It seems that the parade went on longer than scheduled, so the PSNI sent in a number of armoured Land Rovers and a helicopter to monitor proceedings.
AT THE Mullaghbawn commemoration on Easter Saturday night, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly told the several hundred people gathered:
“As we look back across a century of struggle, we see that each phase on the journey has been different. Each has required different strategies and tactics. Republicans required courage to survive, resourcefulness to find new ways forward, and determination to persist with their course of action. We need all of those qualities in abundance if we are to continue to advance our peace project for Irish independence.”
ADDRESSING the Cullyhanna commemoration, Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Declan Kearney said:
“We are a proud people. We are proud of our history. We make no apologies for our struggle against British occupation, oppression, murder and discrimination in our country. We are proud of our role in the Peace Process and our work in bringing about Irish reunification.”
SINN FÉIN MLA Francie Molloy addressed the Easter Sunday morning commemoration in the South Armagh village of Camloch and said that there was a need for everyone to renew the campaign for Irish re-unification
“We are closer now than at any other time to bringing about Irish reunification. But none of this will happen by chance. We need to organise, build support for unity, expand the all-Ireland institutions and force the Irish Government to begin practical preparations for unity.”
FRANCIE also addressed the Ballymacnab commemoration on Easter Sunday afternoon where he said:
“We must not underestimate the challenges that lie ahead but I am confident that republicanism will continue to grow and that we will succeed.
“We will go away from here confident of the success of our peace strategy to date and in the knowledge that there is much work still to be done to bring the Peace Process to a successful conclusion and to build towards a different Ireland, a new Ireland, a united, free and independent Ireland.
AT the Armagh City commemoration on Easter Monday, Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill told those present:
“It is important to pay tribute to all of those brave men and women who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom but we also need to deliver on the promise of the Proclamation.
“As we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, we should make this decade the decade of Irish unity. I want to call on all those who are committed to Irish reunification, regardless of party political affiliation, to work together for that worthy and achievable goal.”
NEWRY/ARMAGH MP Conor Murphy addressed the Belleek commemoration on Easter Monday.
“As Irish republicans we have a responsibility to look at where we want to be – a free and independent Ireland – and set about the task of getting there. Guided by our peace strategy, this will inevitably mean more hard choices, more hard decisions for Irish republicans as we push ahead with our political project and as we seek to achieve a united Ireland.”
REPUBLICANS at the Killeen commemoration heard Newry/Armagh MLA Mickey Brady say:
“We must always be vigilant and cognisant of the fact that the stronger we get politically, the more we threaten the cosy cartel that has abused its grip on the levers of power in this state since partition.”
Wreath-laying ceremonies also took place in Ballymacnab, Keady, Lislea and Tullysarran.
COUNTY CLARE’S Easter commemoration was held in Clooney Cemetery.
Chairperson Harry Duggan gave a brief biography of the three republicans buried there – Con McMahon and Paddy Hennessy, who were shot in Limerick Prison by Free State forces, and Patrick O’Mahony, who died defending the Four Courts in Dublin at the start of the Civil War.
Harry also introduced Patricia Hayward, whose grandfather had owned the safe house from which McMahon and Hennessy were attempting to escape when they were captured by an enemy raiding party. He also collected their remains when they were released a year after their death and brought them back to Clooney.
The main address was given by Limerick’s Maurice Quinlivan, who praised the dedication of the Volunteers and all who fought for the cause, particularly singling out the women whose role is so often overlooked.
He called for the release of republican POWs and sent them solidarity greetings.
Maurice also outlined the great strides made by Sinn Féin in recent times and called on all present to redouble their efforts to achieve the united Ireland of equals. He finished up with a call for the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.
SEVERAL HUNDRED republicans gathered in Cork on Sunday for the annual Easter commemoration.
Led by the Youghal Republican Flute Band and the Cork colour party, those assembled marched from the National Monument to the Republican Plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery.
Chairperson Councillor Jonathan O’Brien extended sympathies to the families of two young republicans who passed away in the last year, James Murphy and Siobhan Gough.
The main oration was given by Alex Maskey, who said Easter was a time when republicans not only commemorated the sacrifices of our patriot dead but rededicated themselves to achieving a 32-county socialist republic.
Much had happened in the last year. The DUP signed up to power-sharing and Sinn Féin was determined not to let that achievement be undermined by rejectionists within unionism. He urged everybody present to join Sinn Féin and assist in building the republican struggle in Cork.
The commemoration concluded a busy three weeks for republicans in Cork as Sinn Féin activists made a major effort to encourage people to wear the Easter Lily. In addition to selling Lilies door-to-door, over 3,000 were distributed free in Cork City Centre on St Patrick’s Day, and Ógra Shinn Féin held a series of very successful Sinn Féin stalls giving out Lilies at University College Cork. Over 20,000 cards explaining the meaning of the Lily were also distributed in the run-up to Easter.
DAMIAN McCABE chaired the commemoration in Bandon. Wreaths were laid by local republican Noel Harrington and Lou McCarthy.
South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey gave the main oration, outlining the history of republicanism in West Cork. Encouraging unity of purpose, he said:
“Republicanism is not the preserve of any one political party and I encourage you all to ask yourselves what you can do to realise the ideals enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation and to get involved in proactively pursing that goal.”
Maskey also spoke about Sinn Féin’s position on the Lisbon Treaty and urged everyone to get involved in the ‘No’ campaign.
EASTER SATURDAY saw republicans assemble at The Square in Bantry on a cold night for the annual 1916 Easter commemoration.
A lone piper opened proceedings with a lament, followed by the reading of the Proclamation.
An Phoblacht editor Seán Mac Brádaigh said Sinn Féin’s adherence to the 1916 Proclamation did not contradict the republican peace strategy, as some media commentators contended.
Commitment to achieving Irish unity is at the core of everything republicans are doing and it remains their central objective.
Republican strategy is leading to a new relationship with unionism which will undermine what the Proclamation referred to as “the differences carefully fostered by an alien government which have divided a minority from the majority in the past”, Mac Brádaigh said.
AT THE Clonakilty commemoration on Easter Sunday, Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hayes reminded people that 2008 also marks the 20th anniversary of the assassination by the British undercover soldiers of three unarmed IRA Volunteers in Gibraltar and the subsequent attack on their funerals in Milltown Cemetery.
Ann McKiernan, a first cousin of one of those killed in Gibraltar, Mairéad Farrell, laid the wreath.
Léigh Eolan deBúrca, ball Sinn Féin Cumann in Ollscoil Chorcaí an Forógra 1916 as Gaeilge.
Guest speaker Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member and An Phoblacht Editor Seán Mac Brádaigh drew attention to the proud republican history of West Cork – ‘The Battle of the Big Cross’ in 1798, Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, locals involved in the 1916 Rising, the battles of Kilmichael and Crossbarry, West Cork people’s involvement in the 1950s Border Campaign and, from this generation, IRA Volunteer Diarmuid O’Neill, who is buried at nearby Timoleague.
Mac Brádaigh pointed out that, 40 years since Ian Paisley led opposition to civil rights in the North, he is now leading a power-sharing executive on equal terms with leading republican Martin McGuinness.
Concluding, he said it is up to the current generation of Irish republicans to make the 1916 Proclamation “more than a document” and called on all those present who are not involved in Sinn Féin to join the party.
SENATOR Pearse Doherty addressed the Derry City commemoration on Easter Sunday. He said:
“Walking into this cemetery here today, you cannot but be struck by the visual image of the 125 Tricolours marking the graves of republicans included in those 125 republican activists are 42 Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army from this city who lost their lives on active service and who are on the national republican Roll of Honour and four Volunteers who are on the national roll of remembrance.
“The imagery tells us of a story that we all know: a story of a city which has been at the centre of the struggle for Irish freedom; a story of courage, bravery and selflessness; a story of lost loved ones and sadness. And the large crowds that have gathered here today this Easter Sunday to commemorate, to remember and to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price in the pursuit of Irish freedom tell us that republicanism in this city is strong, vibrant and confident.”
He said republicans were unapologetic about the right of the Irish people to be free.
“It is what we are about. It is not negotiable. It is not a bargaining chip. It is a live political project to which we have dedicated our lives.”
The Donegal senator said republicans need to make partition history.
“We need to make and win the case for Irish unity and independence. We need to continue to work the all-Ireland institutions and all other institutions we are in. We need to continue, bit by bit, to undo the damage caused by partition and make the artificial border irrelevant.
“We need now to seize this moment and build the sort of political movement which will make partition history.”
SOUTH MONAGHAN Sinn Féin Councillor Matt Carthy addressed the 1916 Rising commemoration in Swatragh, South Derry, on Easter Monday. Speaking to over 600 republicans, Carthy called for republicans to redouble their efforts to see a united Ireland.
Carthy stated that Ireland still needs heroes.
“Thanks to the efforts of the IRA, we can now hope with confidence that we no longer need martyrs. We have too many already. But heroes we certainly need. Today’s heroes are those who will do what is necessary today. They will become politically active and they will ensure that those, from whatever quarter who wish to undermine our party, movement and struggle fail.”
SPEAKING at the annual Drumboe Easter commemoration, Junior Minister Gerry Kelly said that the reunification of Ireland has never been closer. He was addressing 1,000 people gathered to commemorate the execution of the four Drumboe martyrs, Charlie Daly, Seán Larkin, Daniel Enright and Tim O‚Sullivan, in 1923.
Kelly also commended Sinn Féin activists in Donegal for the tremendous work they have put in over recent years that led to the party’s vote being doubled across the county in the general election last year.
The senior republican from North Belfast said:
“On St Patrick’s Day, 150 years, ago the Irish Republican Brotherhood – or the Fenians – were founded. Ninety-two years ago, the men and women of 1916 went out and took on the might of the British Empire. And in every generation since, republicans have advanced the cause of Irish freedom and independence.
“Despite the historic achievements of the last year, the business of Irish freedom and independence is not complete. We need to organise, build support for unity, expand the all-Ireland institutions, and force the Irish Government to begin practical preparations for unity. Gerry Adams announced a major task force on Irish unity to drive forward the roadmap to Irish unity. This needs to be replicated in every county in Ireland. This needs to be a nationwide effort.”
Gerry Kelly said that, even though elements within the DUP have been “increasingly offensive and abusive” on a range of issues, including the transfer of powers on policing and justice, “We will not allow those opposed to change to stop the agenda of change.”
He went on to assure unionists “republicans are totally committed to Equality – equality for everybody”, adding:
“Despite the objectionable behaviour of some bigots, good work is being done at grassroots level by some local unionist and republican leaders in areas in the North. Sinn Féin commends this work.”
In the 26 Counties, he said, the Lisbon Treaty referendum is a key priority for the party in the coming months. “Every single activist should be involved in the referendum campaign,” Gerry Kelly said.
Calling on people who have not been in Sinn Féin or have been past members or supporters to sign up, including ex-prisoners, Gerry Kelly made a special appeal for more women to join Sinn Féin, he said:
“Let women like Constance Markievicz, Máire Drumm and Mairéad Farrell become your inspiration.”
SINN FÉIN Ard Chomhairle member Declan Kearney, in his address to those gathered at the Newry Easter commemoration, paid tribute to all of the Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army and members of Sinn Féin in every generation who gave their lives for Irish freedom. He also praised those republicans who down through the lean years have kept the flame of freedom alive.
ASSEMBLY member Willie Clarke was the main speaker in Downpatrick on Easter Monday.
Boosted by the attendance of the Belfast Martyrs Republican Flute band and the Coatbridge RFB from Scotland, the well-attended parade marched from the Sinn Féin office on St Patrick’s Avenue to the Republican Plot in Thomas Russell Park, where IRA Volunteer Collie Marks was shot dead by the RUC in 1991.
Clarke paid tribute to the Volunteers from South Down who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom and who are commemorated on the memorial in the park.
The South Down representative reflected on the lessons of last year’s disappointing election result in the 26 Counties, saying that the 26-County Establishment “combined with a very hostile media, fear us because we strive to implement a radical agenda that at it’s core promotes equality and an Ireland of equals”.
THE main Dublin Easter Commemoration, on Easter Sunday, attracted in the region of 2,000 republicans to Parnell Square. Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan welcomed the crowd and introduced Dublin band Clann Kearney, who kept the crowd entertained before the march moved off. The crowd at Parnell Square was also treated to an excerpt from Seán Cronin’s Our Own Red Blood which was read by Muireann Speed as well as Padraig Pearse’s poem, The Mother, which was read by Áine Downes.
Led by the Dublin Republican Flute Band and the Joe McDonnell Republican Flute Band the march made its way to the GPO where proceedings were chaired by Seán Crowe. The Proclamation was read as Gaeilge by Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh. The Dublin Roll of Honour was read by Tony Duncan, and the Easter statement from Óglaigh na hÉireann was read by Seán O’Donnell. Jer O’Leary read an account of James Connolly’s last statement written on the eve of his execution.
The main speaker, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP spoke about his own love for the City of Dublin and its history. He made a special appeal for unity amongst people, groups, organisations and parties who say they cherish the goal of a united Ireland.
“I want to call on all of those parties who espouse the cause of Irish reunification, to set aside our political differences and to find common cause, around an agreed programme, to achieve the historic goal of reunification and independence and to win unionist support for this.”
“We are living in a time of hope and opportunity for republican ideals and objectives. Irish reunification is no longer a far-off dream but a work in progress. And that work must intensify now and in the time ahead. Republicans must repopularise the ideals of 1916.
“We need to especially engage with unionism about the benefits of unity and how we build a shared future based on respect for all traditions. We need to secure the practical backing of the Irish Diaspora that has been so important in the peace process. That support is there for the asking.”
The Sinn Féin president also said that the party will be playing a leading role in seeking a ‘No’ vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum.
“There is no doubt that Ireland’s place is in Europe but that does not mean that we have to accept everything coming from the EU regardless of the consequences.”
SINN FÉIN MEP Mary Lou McDonald urged all parties to unite around a campaign to achieve a united Ireland and she challenged European Affairs Minister Dick Roche to a public debate on the Lisbon Treaty.
Accusing the Fianna Fáil minister of hiding behind rhetoric and failing to debate the facts of what the Lisbon Treaty actually means for people, Mary Lou McDonald said on Easter Monday:
“It is time for him to stop hiding behind rhetoric and to start debating the facts.
“We believe that the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Ireland. It gives too much power to EU institutions – why should we accept the loss of a permanent commissioner, why should we accept a 50 per cent reduction in our voting strength while bigger countries like Britain and Germany almost double theirs?
“Why should we accept a document that doesn’t even mention the word neutrality but has a lot to say about NATO? The simple fact is that you can support Europe and be against the Lisbon Treaty. You can support Europe and still believe that the Government should have negotiated a better deal for Ireland.
“EU leaders should be sent back to the drawing board and the Irish Government should do what they are being paid to do – defend Ireland’s national interests.”
THE Arbour Hill Commemoration on Good Friday morning saw proceedings chaired by Dublin Sinn Féin Organiser Michael O’Brien.
Sinead Ní Caolain read an account by Nora Connolly O’Brien of her last visit with her father, James Connolly, on the evening of his execution.
The Proclamation was read by Noeleen O’Reilly while wreaths were laid on behalf of Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement by Paul Lynch and Councillor Louise Minihan.
The main speaker, Councillor Larry O’Toole, paid tribute to the work done by Sinn Féin activists across the city in the past year.
South-East Inner City
THE inaugural Elizabeth O’Farrell commemoration was held on Easter Saturday morning beside the Elizabeth O’Farrell statue in City Quay Park.
The crowd heard readings from Dublin Ógra Shinn Féin members Áine Downes and Oisin Dolan as well as a statement from Jim Monaghan on behalf of the Republican Movement. The main speaker was Councillor Daithí Doolan.
A CROWD of about a hundred people attended the Easter commemoration in Ballyfermot, west Dublin, on Saturday morning.
The march was led by a colour party of women to Markievicz Park and two bands were in attendance. Councillor Louise Minihan gave the oration. She paid special tribute to the contribution Countess Markievicz made to republicanism and the inspiration she is to republicans today, particularly women.
THE annual Asgard commemoration saw the crowd presented with Irish dancing and account of the events surrounding the Asgard landing by Micheál Mac Donncha.
The main speaker, Councillor Paul Donnelly from Mulhuddart focused on the need to build and grow the party presence across north County Dublin in the year ahead to ensure that the 2009 Election sees the return of a substantial Sinn Féin team to Fingal County Council.
COUNCILLOR Ray McHugh addressed the Crumlin commemoration on Easter Saturday.
Speaking at the Eamonn Ceannt Memorial, McHugh called on those present to get involved in campaigning against the Lisbon Treaty.
CAVAN/MONAGHAN Deputy and Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin addressed the commemoration at the Liam Mellows memorial in Eyre Square on Easter Sunday.
Ó Caoláin said:
“The Irish Government was mandated by the people in this jurisdiction in 1998 to work for Irish unity. The constitutional amendment adopted then states that it is ‘the firm will of the Irish nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland in all the diversity of their identities and traditions’.
“There is a constitutional obligation on the Irish Government to pursue Irish unity. This includes requiring the British Government to facilitate unification, to persuade unionist opinion of the benefits of Irish unity and to prepare the ground for unity in all aspects of Irish life.”
Republican commitment and hard work are assets, he said, but there is one above all others.
“Our greatest asset is the rightness of the republican cause. We are but custodians of that cause. Through the sacrifice of those who have gone before us, and through the work we do today, that cause will triumph. We will achieve the Irish Republic.”
COUNCILLOR Brian Stanley addressing the commemoration in Mountmellick stated that, alongside the Volunteers of Easter Week and the Tan War and those who took part and lost their lives in subsequent phases of the freedom struggle, right up to the present day, Laois republicans were honouring the 11 United Irishmen who were captured after a battle outside Monasterevin with crown forces and who were hanged in Mountmellick in June 1798.
He noted that the Sinn Féin vote in Laois increased by 60 per cent in last year’s general election and “the work of Sinn Féin members and supporters will determine how far and how fast we move” in building a society of equals.
THE Easter Rising was marked in Leitrim by a good crowd who gathered on a cool but thankfully dry day at Bárr na Cúile and marched from Johnston’s Bridge to the graveyard at Barnacoola, where they paid their respects to local Volunteer Jim Joe Reynolds.
The crowd was addressed by Antrim MLA Daithí McKay.
Leitrim Sinn Féin thanked the Kilturbid Pipe Band accompanying the parade and sent greetings to the comrades from the Belleek’s/Whitecross Bennett/Boyle/Cleary/Toner Sinn Féin Cumann, South Armagh, who made a fraternal visit on this important day for republicans across Ireland.
ON Easter Sunday, upwards of 100 people attended the Limerick City commemoration.
The march assembled outside the main gates of Mount St Laurence Cemetery and proceeded to the Republican Plot, where the ceremonies were chaired by Tom Collopy, vice-chair of Limerick City Sinn Féin.
A wreath on behalf of the Republican Movement was laid by Maurice Quinlivan, the Proclamation of 1916 was read by Jenny Loughman, and the Easter statement from the Republican Movement was read by Pat Kerley.
The main speaker on the day was Cathal Boylan MLA, from Newry/Armagh.
While his address covered republicanism, the Peace Process and the upcoming Lisbon Treaty referendum, he had a special plea for the undocumented Irish in the United States.
Following the main commemoration a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the grave of Seán Glynn, an IRA Volunteer who died in Arbour Hill Military Prison in September 1936.
THE commemoration at the memorial in the Cathedral Car Park began with a reading of the 1916 Proclamation by Edel Kelly of the Leo Casey/Matt Devlin Sinn Féin Cumann, Ballymahon. Mick Keown laid a wreath of behalf of the Republican Movement, Tina Keown on behalf of the Martin Hurson/Joe MacManus Cumann, Pat Clyne on behalf of Leo Casey/Matt Devlin Cumann, Athlone Mayor Paul Hogan laid a wreath on behalf of Athlone Sinn Féin, and Geraldine Ryan on behalf of Longford/Westmeath Chomhairle Ceantair. Ciaran Grimes laid a wreath on behalf of the party leadership.
Local Sinn Féin Councillor Brendan Farrell introduced the guest speaker, Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member and Leitrim Councillor Martin Kenny.
Councillor Kenny’s wide-ranging speech outlined the strategy of Sinn Féin’s opposition to the Lisbon Treaty. He dwelt on the present state of the Peace Process and also gave a historical briefing on Sinn Féin’s impact on society and our place in the 32 Counties.
Tadhg MacEoin, a student of Longford Gaelscoil brought proceedings to a conclusion by singing Amhrán na bFhian, accompanied by the piper.
A wreath was laid earlier in the day at the Martin Hurson memorial in Lanesboro.
Quay Street, Dundalk
AT Quay Street on Saturday morning, wreaths were laid at the monument to brothers John and Patrick Watters, who were shot by the Black and Tans on 17 June 1921.
Pat McVeigh, chairperson of the Watters Brothers Sinn Féin Cumann and Louth Chomhairle Ceantair, chaired the proceedings. Colm Hegarty laid a wreath on behalf of the Republican Movement, Jane Martin laid the wreath from Louth Sinn Féin, and Claire O’Hanrahan laid the wreath on behalf of Ógra Shinn Féin and the Watters Brothers Cumann.
Sinn Féin Dundalk Town Councillor Ian Dooley gave the oration, which was followed by a minute’s silence.
IN Knockbridge, also on Easter Saturday morning, a wreath was laid on behalf of the Republican Movement at the monument to the members of the 4th Northern Division IRA.
The oration was given by Sinn Féin County Councillor Pearse McGeough, which was followed by a minute’s silence.
ON Easter Sunday, the main Dundalk commemoration assembled at Market Square and, led by the Dundalk colour party and the Kieran Doherty Band from Scotland, marched to the Republican Plot in St Patrick’s Cemetery.
Proceedings were chaired by Councillor Pearse McGeough. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Republican Movement, Louth Sinn Féin, the Commemoration Committee, and the Halpenny/Worthington/Watters Sinn Féin Cumann.
The Proclamation was read by Geraldine Cassidy. Daulta Mulvenna read a message from Ógra Shinn Féin and John Jameson read the Easter message from Óglaigh na hÉireann. There followed a minute’s silence and the bugler played The Last Post.
The main speaker, Barry McElduff, Sinn Féin MLA for West Tyrone said:
“The commitment from Sinn Féin is very clear-cut. We will continue to press ahead in the battle of ideas, building support for Irish unity and identifying the practical preparations that are needed. We are about finishing the work of the 1916 Easter Rising.”
COUNCILLOR Peadar Tóibín, speaking at the Meath Easter commemoration in Ardbraccan Cemetery on Easter Sunday morning, said:
“Go hairithe táimid an seo i reilig Ard Breacáin chun honóir agus ómós a thabhairt do George McDermott atá curtha os ar gcomhair. Is e an dara rud chun slí a fháil amach chun Eire Aonta
Before the parade through Monaghan Town which included the Seán McIlvanna Band from Scotland made its way to Latlurcan Cemeteries, a wreath was laid at the O’Hanlon Memorial by Councillor James Cunningham.
Councillor Matt Carthy chaired the proceedings at Latlurcan. Senan MacAoidh and Brona Murphy read a statement from Ógra Shinn Féin.
Cathaoirleach of Monaghan Town Council, Padraigín Uí Mhurchadha read the Proclamation. Carrickmacross Town Councillor Rose McMahon read the Monaghan Republican Roll of Honour. Wreaths were laid on graves of Volunteers interred at each of the three cemeteries at Latlurcan.
The annual Easter statement from the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann was read by Councillor Jackie Crowe from Castleblayney.
The oration was delivered by the MEP and former Health Minister Bairbre de Brún who made special mention of Bernard MacCartan Ward (1917), Michael Kelly (1920) Fearghal O’Hanlon (1957) and Jim Lynagh (1987) who are buried in Latlurcan churchyards.
“We also remember this Easter the many other lifelong republican activists buried in these churchyards, people like former Sinn Féin Councillor Vincent Conlon and scores of others who made a considerable contribution to the Irish freedom struggle”, she said.
The MEP noted the presence of Padraigín Uí Mhurchadha, “Sinn Féin’s longest-serving woman councillor, and who this year is the honorary first citizen of her home town and Cathaoirleach of Monaghan Town Council”.
She commend all those in Cavan/Monaghan who were part of the effort to return Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin as a Sinn Féin TD.
“Maidir leis an Ghaeilge, tá Sinn Féin chun tosaigh i gcur chun cinn na teanga ag leibhéal áitiúil, leibhéal náisiúnta agus ar ndóigh ag leibhéal idirnáisiúnta gus muid ag éileamh go gcuirfear stádas na Gaeilge san Aontas Eorpach I bhfeidhm go héifeachtach.”
SOUTH DOWN MLA Willie Clarke, addressing the commemoration in Innsikeen on Easter Saturday said:
“If we are to wait for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour or the PDs to deliver unity we will be sorely disappointed. Republicans have to be the engine that drives the united Ireland train. We need to be innovative, adventurous and persuasive in our approach as well as our thinking.”
Wreath laying ceremonies took place on Easter Sunday morning at cemeteries throughout the county including at Annyalla, Carrickroe, Castleblayney, Clara, Clontibret, Corcaghan, Raferagh, Trinity (Rockcorry), Tyholland and Urbleshanny while commemorations were also held at Scotshouse and Clones on Easter Monday.
A COMMEMORATION and wreath-laying ceremony was held in Castlerea on Easter Monday.
Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy, Sinn Féin MLA for Mid Ulster, addressed the crowd following two separate wreath-laying ceremonies at the graves of comrades James Monds and Patrick Conroy, who both lost their lives on 6 April 1921.
The main commemoration assembled at City Hall in Sligo on Easter Sunday afternoon and was led by a colour party accompanied by a lone piper through the streets of Sligo to the City Cemetery.
Pausing to pay tribute by the graveside of Volunteer Joe MacManus, the colour party proceeded to the Republican Plot where the crowd assembled.
The main speaker was Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD.
Ó Snodaigh reflected that the vision that inspired the 1916 Rising continues to motivate hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world but he emphasised that it is vital that people take a more active role in ensuring that we complete this work in the near rather than the distant future.
Before concluding, Deputy Ó Snodaigh reminded the crowd of the significant loss of sovereignty threatened by the impending Lisbon Treaty. He urged local activists to mount a vigorous campaign opposing the treaty and reminded everyone that Sinn Féin can defeat all the other political parties in this campaign.
AT 12 noon on Easter Sunday there was a wreath-laying ceremony by the graveside of GPO veteran Volunteer Martin Savage, who died for Ireland on 19 December 1919 during the course of an ambush on Lord French.
A large crowd, accompanied by several generations of the Savage family, recalled the heroism of Martin Savage and his comrades.
The oration was delivered by Thomas Healy of the Martin Savage/Kevin Coen Sin Féin Cumann.
A LARGE crowd met at Nenagh Post Office to parade with the Dunloy Fallen Comrades Republican Flute Band to parade through the town to the Republican Monument at Bamba Square, where the proceedings were chaired by Councillor Seamus Morris.
Eamon Carroll laid the wreath. The Proclamation was read by Aaron Looney.The Roll of Honour was read out by Jane McLoughlin. Councillor David Doran read out the Easter message from Óglaigh na hÉireann.
The main oration was by Councillor John O’Dwyer, from New Ross. He said:
“If we just come here, year after year, and walk away, patting our backs for a nice day out but do nothing in between then we are doing a disservice to the men and women we commemorate – we will not be honouring them, their memory or the cause to which they gave their lives. So I urge each and every one of you to get active in whatever way you can.”
THROUGHOUT the Easter weekend, there were 25 graveside commemorations in County Tyrone, culminating in the main county commemoration in Carrickmore. Many homes in Carrickmore flew the national flag.
On Easter Sunday afternoon, a republican colour party emerged onto the main street in Carrickmore to lead the parade. This was followed by seven young people each carrying a painting of the signatories of the Easter Proclamation of 1916. There were a number of marching bands in attendance, including the Martin Hurson Memorial Flute Band, Gortin/Greencastle; the Pomeroy Accordion Band; The Sons of Éire Flute Band, Rasharkin; and the Coatbridge Republican Flute Band, who travelled from Scotland for the commemoration.
After the traditional parade through Carrickmore, the crowd of several thousand attended the proceedings at the Tyrone Garden of Remembrance. Brian Cawley of the Tyrone National Graves Association chaired proceedings.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of Tyrone Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann, Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin and various family wreaths were also laid.
A member of the colour party read the Proclamation of Easter 1916. This was followed by a female member of the colour party who read the Tyrone Roll Of Honour and Roll of Remembrance. Stephen McGahan, of Ógra Shinn Féin, then delivered the youth organisation’s Easter address.
Pat Doherty, MP for the area, was the guest speaker. He said:
“It is the task of Irish republicans to establish the 32-county republic for which the men and women of 1916 gave their lives. It is the cause that many people dedicated their lives to and very many paid a fatal price for their dream to see freedom in Ireland. However, in our efforts to establish freedom we require the assistance and participation of many more people. Freedom in Ireland is the greatest monument we can build to our republican dead. A 32-county democratic socialist republic, free from British rule or interference, is where we are going but we require your help and assistance to bring it about.”
The ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance was brought to a close by the Martin Hurson Flute Band who played Amhrán na bhFiann.
Reflecting on the week of commemorative events, Tyrone National Graves Chairperson Brian Cawley said:
“A very successful weekend of events has taken place to pay tribute to and remember with pride all of those who gave their lives for Irish freedom. But the message was sent out loud and clear this weekend that the task of building freedom in Ireland is not complete. In order to truly honour the men and women of 1916, and indeed those republicans who have given their lives since, is to establish and build a 32-county democratic socialist republic in Ireland.”
WATERFORD CITY saw a commemoration led by the Youghal Republican Flute Band march from the Glen to John Roberts Square.
The event was chaired by Davy Lane. Joanne Bermingham of Ógra Shinn Féin read out the 1916 Proclamation. The main oration was given by Seán Oliver, an Ard Chomhairle member from Belfast.
Seán paid tribute to all those who fought in the long struggle for Irish freedom. He reminded people that this year was the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He commended the leaders of the 1916 Rising for their courage and bravery. He said Sinn Féin will continue to work towards an independent united Ireland.
ON Easter Sunday, a commemoration in Portlaw was led by the Carrick-on-Suir Republican Pipe Band to the Republican Plot. Pauline Humphreys gave the main oration.
Martin Ferris TD gave the main oration at the West Waterford Easter commemoration at An Rinn. This event is organised by a broad-based committee organised throughout West Waterford. Ferris commended all involved as this was the 85th consecutive Easter commemoration held in West Waterford. Addressing a crowd of over 400, Ferris said the struggle for a united Ireland was not over. He said people must continue to work for Irish unity and he called on all political parties to do so.
THE annual Westmeath commemoration was held in Mount Temple, outside Athlone.
Wreaths were laid at the grave of James Tormey, Joe Tormey, George Adamson and Patrick Sloan of Drumraney. Gossy Hogan laid a wreath on behalf of the Republican Movement. Mo Smith laid a wreath on behalf of the Longford/Westmeath Sinn Féin Chomhairle Ceantair. A number of other wreaths were laid on behalf of local cumainn.
The Westmeath Republican Roll of Honour was read out by Paddy Duggan, Tang.
Micheál Mac Donncha delivered the main address in which he said :
“We are proud to remember all those who fought and died for Irish freedom in every generation from 1916 until our own time. We make no distinction between those like the Volunteers remembered here in Mount Temple – James Tormey, Joe Tormey, Patrick Sloan and George Adamson – and those of the 1940s such as Peter Barnes and James McCormack, executed in England, or Paddy Dermody, shot dead by the Special Branch. We honour equally the men and women who died for freedom since 1969 and remember in particular hunger striker Martin Hurson, who stood for election in the constituency of Longford/Westmeath.”
Referring to the current political situation he stated:
He said Sinn Féin does not want a society “in which health is determined by wealth and where a two-tier health system makes a mockery of the Proclamation’s promise to ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’. Nor are the children cherished equally in a society where pupils are taught in cloakrooms and are denied education for special needs”. He concluded:
“We are determined to make the all-Ireland Republic a reality in our own time and the work of republicans here in Contae Iarmhí is as vital as that of any county in the country in moving forward to that goal. An Phoblacht abú!”
A wreath was laid at the monument in Athlone Town on Easter Sunday.
ABOUT 150 people attended the Wexford Town Easter commemoration on Sunday.
Proceedings were chaired by Wexford Town Councillor Anthony Kelly while County Councillor Maurice Roche was the main speaker. Maurice said:
“Sinn Féin is the voice for change in the 26 Counties. Huge work has been done over the last 12 months and especially since the elections. People have dusted themselves down and come back with more determination than ever. They are to be commended for that.
“But Republicans have a lot more to do. We need to broaden our appeal. We need to be actively involved in campaigns, locally and nationally and we need more people to be involved in our party.”
Small ceremonies were also held in Ballymore on Easter Saturday and Murntown on Easter Monday morning.
SEVERAL HUNDRED republicans gathered in Enniscorthy on Easter Monday. Led by the Ed O’Brien Republican Flute Band, the procession paraded from Seamus Rafter Bridge through the town before arriving at St Mary’s Cemetery and the grave of Edentubber Martyr George Keegan and his family.
Sinn Féin Councillor Noirín Sheridan chaired the proceedings and announced that numerous wreaths had already been laid at graves and sites connected to the struggle for independence across the county that morning.
Chairperson of Enniscorthy Sinn Féin, Martin Sheehan, read the Proclamation. Long-standing republican Mick ‘Avic’ O’Leary read the Easter message from the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann.
The main speaker was Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan. The Louth TD drew a link in the struggle for independence between his county and Wexford. He cited the fact that he was speaking at the grave of Enniscorthy man George Keegan, who was killed in a premature explosion with four other comrades, including fellow Wexford man Paddy Parle, at Edentubber in County Louth in 1957.
He reminded his audience that the struggle for Irish reunification and independence is not over but has entered a new phase. He urged all republicans, especially ex-POWs who had drifted away or those people who in the past would ‘do the IRA a turn’ by holding weapons or making their homes available as safe houses - to recommit themselves to today’s struggle. He urged people to join Sinn Féin if they weren’t already members and to actively work towards Irish reunification.