18 May 2006 Edition

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Connolly honoured on 90th anniversary of execution

Sinn Fein's newly formed Belfast Trade Union Department last weekend commemorated the 90th anniversary of the execution of 1916 leader James Connolly.

On Friday 12 May local Sinn Féin activists joined with other republican socialists for a commeorative ceremony at the house where Connolly lived in Belfast. Jim McVeigh chaired the proceedings while local MLA Fra McCann spoke about Connolly's legacy.

Veteran Republican, Martin Meehan recited a speech by Connolly and the proceedings concluded with a rousing rendition of the ballad James Connolly by Andrea Rice.

On Sunday, May 14 several hundred people gathered at Rockmount Street where Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams unveiled a new mural in honour of Connolly.

Adams described Connolly as "the foremost Irish political thinker of his time, whose teachings are as relevant to Ireland in 2006 as they were in 1916.

The mural is only a short distance from where the Connolly family lived on the Falls Road at the time of the Rising.

A small plaque was unveiled by Bridie Crossan, a 92-year-old woman who still lives in the house where she was born and who was there when the Connolly family were neighbours.

Gerry Adams told those assembled: "Connolly was an avowed internationalist and socialist who saw the two sides of the Irish struggle- the struggle for freedom from Britain and the creation of a socialist republic- as two sides of the one coin. In his own words; 'the struggle for Irish freedom has two aspects: it is national and it is social'."

He said Connolly was instrumental in the struggle for worker's rights when he came to Belfast from the US in 1910.

"James Connolly was anti-sectarian and anti-imperialist, not just in Ireland but towards the nature of struggle all over the world. He understood the need for core values and principles which still guide us today".

Adams urged people to join Sinn Féin: "As our party changes we would like more women to be part of the process".

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1