1 July 2004 Edition

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O'Donnell marks Somme anniversary

Joe O'Donnell (right) pictured at Belfast City Hall with party colleagues Gerry McHugh, chair of Fermanagh District Council and former Belfast Mayor Alex Maskey

Joe O'Donnell (right) pictured at Belfast City Hall with party colleagues Gerry McHugh, chair of Fermanagh District Council and former Belfast Mayor Alex Maskey

On Wednesday, Joe O'Donnell outlined his plans for this year's annual Somme Commemoration events. Joined by the former Mayor of Belfast Alex Maskey, O'Donnell explained that as Deputy Mayor of Belfast he would attend the special meeting of the Council in the Chamber this morning, Thursday, where a minute's silence will be held for those from the 36th Ulster Division who lost their lives.

"I believe this level of direct participation to mark the Somme anniversary is appropriate for me as Deputy Mayor of Belfast," said O'Donnell. "It is building on the initiatives taken by Alex Maskey during his term as Mayor to reach out to the unionist and Protestant people of Belfast.

"It clearly shows that republicans are committed to engaging with the unionist and Protestant people and that we are prepared to meet them on common ground no matter how difficult it is for us as republicans to do so. This is what making peace is all about.

"I also believe as part of this ongoing commitment by republicans with civic responsibility to mark occasions like the Somme, councils need to establish all-inclusive ceremonies where everyone can participate."


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