1 October 2009 Edition
Bogside and Brandywell Republican Monument rededicated
A large crowd attended the unveiling of a new commemorative stone and rededication ceremony at the Bogside and Brandywell Republican Monument on Sunday last organised by the Derry Republican Graves Association.
The ceremony started with young republicans from the area carrying portraits of the 16 local members of 1st Battalion of Derry Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann across the hill which overlooks the Lecky Road against the backdrop of a haunting ballad sung by Sarah Griffin
During the rededication ceremony Martina Anderson MLA and members of the local committee presented representatives from each of the families of the Volunteers whose names are on the local roll of honour with a new print in their memory. Martin McGuinness MP and Raymond McCartney MLA were also in attendance.
The new commemorative stone was unveiled by Charlie McSheffrey father of Volunteer Eddie McSheffrey and Conal McCool nephew of Volunteer Charles English
The event was chaired by Caoimhin McGettigan and the main speaker of the day was local republican William McGuinness. During the course of his oration, he said:
“The stones that we rededicate here today are in the form of the ancient dolmen. Dolmens date back to 3000BC and were erected by Celtic people to honour and commemorate their dead.
“Thus we use them to honour our fallen warriors. I knew most of these men and I remember them as freedom fighters who could have had an easy life but chose to fight injustice and oppression and to meet them head on despite the array of overwhelming might ranged against them and the personal hardships and suffering endured in their days to day lives
“They where ordinary people who lived in extraordinary times. People who sprang to the forefront of their communities in the Bogside, Brandywell and Bishop Street areas They were decent people and we grieve for them today as when they fell and we share the sense of loss with their families and friends And those who seek to vilify or criminalise them will never succeed.
Unbowed and committed
“These areas have suffered greatly as a result of British occupation but they still remain unbowed people committed to our republican objectives. Republicans are working hard in all areas of society to bring about justice and peace and to reach the ultimate aim of a 32 County Socialist Republic. We want to make these fitting communities for future generations and also ensure that our children don’t have to suffer the hardships many of us standing here today have known. We need to participate in this vital work
“We are under no illusions that there are those who are trying daily to wreck that good work. They must not succeed
“Republicans have made a long and painful journey over 40 years of struggle from the Battle of the Bogside in 1969.The sacrifices of these Volunteers and members of this community have brought us where we are today. After almost 30 years of armed struggle during which we fought the British war machine relentlessly, despite our enemy using harassment, repression, imprisonment, collusion and assassination, our resolve remains intact.”
Young Derry republicans carrying portraits of the 16 local Volunteers of 1st Battalion of Derry Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann