31 March 2005 Edition

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A young republican holds an Easter lily, as Annie Cahill addresses the crowds

A young republican holds an Easter lily, as Annie Cahill addresses the crowds



As with all the republican commemorations in Belfast over the Easter weekend, the attendance at the Ardoyne parade was magnificent.

The parade's organisers had put a lot of work into bedecking the area with flags and bunting through the week, however, in the early hours of Tuesday morning these were removed.

Marie Louise Glover reads the proclamation as Gaeilge in Ardoyne

"We don't know if it was loyalists or the PSNI", said local councillor Margaret McClenaghan. "But they came in the dead of night and took the bunting off the lamp posts".

But the setback didn't dampen the crowd's mood.

At the commemoration itself, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly gave the main address.


Thousands of republicans from across Belfast gathered on Sunday for one of the biggest Easter parades seen in the city in years.

As well as those parading along the Falls Road, hundreds of people waving tricolours lined the route from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown Cemetery.

Stewards from the National Graves Association marshalled the crowds, ensuring that the day passed off without incident.

Led by Píobairí na Meirleach, and a well turned out colour party, it took the huge parade almost an hour to cover the short route.

Relatives of dead Volunteers carrying Easter Lilies had a special place in the parade. Their presence added weight to the message being sent out by the republican leadership that the movement will not be criminalised.

Liam Shannon, chair of the National Graves Association, oversaw the proceedings at the Republican Plot.

Annie Cahill, widow of Joe, recited a decade of the Rosary. Sadly, Annie took the place of Gerry Campbell, who died last year on 29 September.

Kerry TD Martin Ferris gave the main oration and received a massive welcome. He praised the many Volunteers who had fallen in struggle and called on people to remember their sacrifices during difficult times.

Seán Oileabhair gave the main oration at the Greencastle commemoration


Easter Saturday saw the annual parade in the Greencastle area, with hundreds of republicans gathering on the Whitewell Road. The presence of the newly formed First Battalion Martyrs RFB from Andersonstown in Belfast and the Dan Darragh band from Ballycastle, North Antrim added to the great atmosphere at the parade.

However as the crowds made their way down the Whitewell Road to its junction with the Shore Road, loyalists, who had gathered at the bottom of Gray's Lane, bombarded it with cans and bottles of beer and other missiles.

The presence of republican stewards and North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly ensured that the republican procession was kept moving and no one was injured.

The commemoration took place at Bawnmore Memorial Garden.

Seán Oileabhéar, the Sinn Féin local government candidate for the Greencastle area in May's election, was the main speaker.


Up to 100 republicans gathered at the Republican Mural on Atlantic for a brief Easter ceremony on Sunday. Sam Porter, a local Sinn Féin activist, read the Proclamation while Tierna Cunningham, who is standing for the party in the Castle Ward in May's local elections, read the local Roll of Honour.

New Lodge

Sinn Féin Councillor Carál Ní Chuilín delivered the main oration in the Memorial Garden at Donore Court at the Easter Monday Commemoration in the New Lodge Road area.

Hundreds of people who had followed the parade from its starting point at Carlisle Road gathered at the impressive memorial garden, which lists the names of the dozens of people from the area who lost their lives in the struggle.

Upper Springfield

Up to 150 people gathered at the Upper Springfield Memorial Garden for this year's Easter Commemoration.

Local election candidate Janice Austin was the main speaker at the event.

Councillor Marie Moore, now 12 years in Belfast City Hall, chaired the proceedings.

The local committee went out of its way to give a special place to the area's youth in this year's ceremony and had a colour party made up of young teenagers in position around the memorial garden.

Among the wreath bearers were the mothers of Volunteers Kevin McCracken and Pearse Jordan, two Volunteers killed by crown forces while on active service.


Barry McElduff from Tyrone was the main speaker at a well attended Roddy McCorley commemoration in Toomebridge.


The annual Easter commemorations throughout the Newry and South Armagh areas attracted large attendances.

On Easter Saturday afternoon, Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy gave the main speech in Inniskeen.

On Easter Saturday night in Mullaghbawn, Sinn Féin Slieve Gullion area candidate Mary Campbell chaired proceedings and Sinn Féin MLA Davy Hyland gave the main address.


A large crowd attended the commemoration at Ballymacnab graveyard in Armagh on Easter Sunday. Siobhan Vallely, the local candidate in the forthcoming council election, chaired the commemoration. Dundalk Sinn Féin Councillor Tomás Sharkey delivered the main oration.


Easter Sunday saw the biggest annual commemoration for many years take place in the village of Camloch.


At the annual commemoration in Crossmaglen, Councillor Terry Hearty, who chaired proceedings, stated that the large attendance reflected the huge anger about the attempts to demonise and criminalise the republican struggle. The main speaker at this commemoration was Monaghan Councillor Matt Carthy.


The Cullyhanna commemoration took place on Easter Sunday evening and it attracted another huge attendance. Newry and Mourne Sinn Féin Councillor Colman Burns chaired proceedings and Armagh MLA Pat O'Rawe gave the main address.


At the Killeen commemoration, Councillors Packie Mc Donald told the huge attendance of visitors and locals: "It is vital that everyone plays their part-no matter how small — in the weeks ahead. There is certainly plenty of work for everyone" whilst his fellow Sinn Féin representative Anthony Flynn demanded the removal of the British military war machine from South Armagh.


Hundreds of Cork republicans turned out to hear Dublin TD Seán Crowe make the annual Easter Sunday commemoration address. Crowe told the crowds that it is "never a crime to pursue the independence and freedom of Ireland."


One of the biggest crowds in recent years attended the annual commemoration at Astna Square, Clonakilty, on Easter Sunday.

Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin introduced his fellow Town Councillor, Paul Hayes, as Cathaoirleach of the ceremony. In remembering all who had died for Irish freedom, Hayes also asked people to remember those who had passed away during the year. He mentioned in particular local woman Kay Campbell, whose son, Seán, was one of the hundreds imprisoned during internment.

Poll-topping Town Councillor from Bantry, Anne O'Leary delivered the main oration.


Upwards of 2,000 republicans from Donegal and the Strabane area of Tyrone attended the main annual Easter Drumboe Commemoration on Sunday.

Earlier in the day Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey, who was guest speaker at the main event, laid wreaths in honour of the Drumboe Martyrs at the monument in the woods of Drumboe, and local commemorations also took place throughout both counties including well-attended ceremonies at Aghyaran, Cranagh and Strabane.

On Sunday afternoon, the Drumboe Martyrs parade made its way from Johnston's Corner through Stranorlar and Ballybofey and back to the Tírconaill Monument, where the main commemoration proceedings commenced.

Gráinne Mhic Géidigh, Donegal Sinn Féin Úadáras na Gaeltachta Candidate, read the 1916 Proclamation as Gaeilge, before Maskey took to the platform.



The heavy show of strength by the PSNI on the streets of Downpatrick on Sunday was, "an attempt at intimidation", Sinn Féin Councillor Eamon McConvey said last weekend.

PSNI Land Rovers and cars were parked at various places along the route of the parade from Scotch Street to the Republican Memorial at Thomas Russell Park.

At the memorial, which is on the site where Volunteer Colum Marks was shot dead by an undercover RUC squad in 1991, Sinn Féin's Caitríona Ruane gave the main oration.

She quoted Nehru, India's first Prime Minister after the end of British rule, who said he was inspired by the struggle against the British waged by the Irish: "It is a brave and irrepressible country and not all the might of the British Empire has been able to crush its spirit or cow it into submisson."



On Easter Monday, over 150 people attended and participated in the annual Easter Commemoration in Mountmellick. Led by the Mountmellick Pipe Band, the Mountmellick Pikemen, Sinn Féin members and supporters from all over Laois and Offaly made their way to St Joseph's Cemetery to the grave of IRA Volunteer Patrick Phelan, who was killed on 2 August 1922 by Free State Forces.

Cathaoirleach of Mountmellick Sinn Féin, John Nelson, chaired the event.

The main speakers were Laois County Councillor Brian Stanley and Monaghan Councillor Matt Carthy.

Portlaoise Jail

Republican POWs in Portlaoise also held a commemoration on Easter Sunday.


On Easter Sunday, Leitrim republicans gathered in Drumshanbo. Over 200 people made their way to the grave of Jim Vaugh in Drumshanbo Cemetery and proceedings there were chaired by Brendan Barry. The main speaker was Dara O'Hagan from County Armagh.


Over 70 people attended the Easter Sunday commemoration in Limerick City, held in Mount St Laurence Cemetery, where the main speaker was Dublin Councillor Killian Forde.

After the commemoration, there was a brief wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of IRA Volunteer Séan Glynn, who died in Arbour Hill Prison in 1936.

Forde also spoke at a commemoration in Athea later on Sunday afternoon.



Drogheda Sinn Féin commemorated the 89th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and the 84th anniversary of the murder of party members Thomas Halpin and John Moran.

Chairperson of the event, Councillor Imelda Munster, welcomed the crowd to the recently renovated Halpin/Moran Monument on the Marsh Road.

A Republican colour party led the march down the Mornington Road past the spot beyond the Viaduct where Alderman Thomas Halpin and John Moran were murdered by crown forces in 1921.

The main oration was delivered by Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Martina Anderson.


Dundalk's Easter Saturday commemoration saw its largest crowd to date, when hundreds gathered to attend a wreath laying ceremony at the memorials to brothers John and Patrick Watters, who were taken from their home and shot by Auxiliaries in 1921.

On the same day in Knockbridge, just outside Dundalk, a ceremony was held at the memorial to members of the 4th Northern Division.

On Easter Sunday a large, colourful parade assembled at Market, headed by a Dundalk Colour party.

At the republican plot in St Patrick's Cemetery, Ian Dooley chaired proceedings and Martina Anderson was the main speaker.


Sinn Féin co-ordinator in the USA, Rita O'Hare, was the speaker at this year's Easter commemorations in Mayo. Large crowds took advantage of the sunny weather and turned out at Achill on Sunday and at the revived commemoration at Castlebar on Monday. But the largest crowd was to found at the main commemoration at Kilkelly on Easter Sunday, where more than 70 republicans gathered to honour and remember the men executed in 1916 and Mayo's fallen patriots.


Commemorations throughout County Monaghan were well attended, with more than 800 people participating in the county parade in Monaghan town on Easter Sunday afternoon. Wreath-laying ceremonies took place on Easter Sunday morning at cemeteries throughout the county.

The afternoon assembly point was the Feargal O'Hanlon Memorial on the town's Clones Road. Led by a colour party and wreath bearers, the parade included the William Orr Flute Band from County Antrim.

Carrickmacross Sinn Féin Councillor Eamon Conlon chaired the proceedings at Latlurcan. The guest speaker on the day was North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly.

On Easter Monday, Sinn Féin Cavan and Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin gave the main address in Clones.


Sligo republicans assembled at Sligo City Hall on Easter Sunday afternoon for the county commemoration. The march to Sligo Cemetery was led by a colour party, which paused and paid its respects at the graveside of Volunteer Joe MacManus before parading to the main ceremony at the Republican Plot.

The main oration was delivered by Sinn Féin National Organiser Councillor Pat Treanor from Monaghan.

Earlier in the day, a wreath laying ceremony took place in Ballisodare at the graveside of Martin Savage, killed at Ashtown Road in 1919.



Sinn Féin Vice President and West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty addressed the huge crowds that gathered at Carrickmore for this year's Easter Sunday commemoration. Doherty pointed out that every part of the county was represented by Sinn Féin MPs, and that no other county could say that. He praised Tyrone republicans for their hard work and sacrifices through the years.


Hundreds of people made their way towards Brackaville cemetery in warm spring sunshine for Coalisland's Easter Saturday commemoration.

Belfast MLA Alex Maskey was the main speaker at the event and he was accompanied on the march by fellow Assembly member Francie Molloy.

In his oration at the republican plot, Maskey paid special tribute to the Volunteers who are buried both in the plot and in family graves in the cemetery.


The County Wicklow Easter commemoration was held for the first time in Arklow, where it was hosted by the newly formed Liam Mellows Sinn Féin Cumann. This was the first republican parade in the port town since the 1981 Hunger Strike and over 100 people took part.

The main speaker at the event was Ard Chomhairle member Mícheál Mac Donncha. Referring to the call by Defence Minister Willie O'Dea for a boycott of republican commemorations, Mac Donncha said: "A few miles from here is the little town of Woodenbridge where in 1914 John Redmond pledged the lives of Irishmen to the British Empire, inducing thousands to die in the Great War. Minister O'Dea is a worthy successor of Redmond, both in his anti-republicanism and in his collaboration with the imperialist powers who are waging war in Iraq."


Over 100 people attended the Easter Monday commemoration in Bray. Councillor John Brady chaired the event, with Dublin Councillor Daithí Doolan giving the main speech.

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