8 April 2010 Edition
1916 EASTER COMMEMORATIONS 2010
The oration delivered by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams at the Republican Plot in Milltown cemetery on Easter Sunday was one of the most inspirational speeches delivered at the graves of our fallen comrades in a long time.
That was the view of many of those who attended the annual Easter Commemoration on Sunday past.
The defiant mood of the speech was the message that many wanted to hear.
Those who marched, numbering in their thousands, and the many hundreds more who lined the parade route from Beechmount Avenue to Milltown, were sending a signal to our enemies that the spirit of republican resistance, which has brought us to where we are now, will outlast the present campaign of vilification that is being directed at the party leadership.
Sunday’s parade was led by a colour party of women dressed in the period uniforms of Cumann na mBan and the reception they received from onlookers along the road was uplifting.
The now customary ‘Flying Columns’ were also greeted warmly by the crowds as they paraded along the Falls.
As the huge crowd made its way to the republican plot, where the solemn ceremony of commemoration was held, it was encouraging to see that among the crowds were many young people.
Here we carry Gerry Adams’ speech in full.
Peace, Equality, Jobs and Unity
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams’ Easter Speech 4 April 2010, Milltown Cemetery, Belfast
" A chairde,
Tá mé lán sásta seasamh anseo libh inniu ar Domhnach na Cásca seo le smaoineadh ar ár gcomrádaithe a chuaigh romhainn agus a caint faoi an todhcaí.
Is cuimhin linn an méid a thug ár laochrai cróga ar son saoirse na tire seo, an méid a chaill siad.
Cuidíonn seo linn nuair a bhíonn fadhbanna againn nó nuair a bhíonn muid traochta.
I want to welcome you all here today.
Easter Sunday is a special day. Especially here in Belfast.
It is a day to remember, to honour, and to celebrate all those republicans of our generation and other generations who gave their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom and justice.
Belfast republicans are proud of our patriot dead; we are proud of their families; we are proud of our struggle and we are proud of our history.
Belfast is where the United Irish men and women committed to ending the connection with Britain.
This is the city where James Connolly organised the working men and women, and particularly the women against sweat shop exploitation.
In 1916 he went from the Falls Road to join with the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna to take on the might of the British Empire.
This is the city where Sean MacDiarmada joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
This is the city where Countess Markievicz founded Na Fianna hÉireann.
This is the city visited often by Pádraig Pearse and the leaders of the 1916 Rising as they worked with County Antrim gaeilgeoirí and home rulers before going on to become republicans.
This is the city of Maire Drumm and of other brave Sinn Féin activists.
The city of Mairéad Farrell and Dorothy Maguire and all the other patriotic women of our time.
Sa chathair seo a lásadh splanc na saoirse. Tá sé beo, briomhar ann go foill.
This is the city of Bobby Sands and Joe McDonnell and Kieran Doherty and all their brave freedom fighting comrades of the Irish Republican Army.
We honour them all.
In particular we honour those who lie in these republican plots and in this cemetery.
They are not just heroes and heroines. They are our friends, our comrades, our neighbours, our family members.
Like the men and women of 1916 they knew the dangers they faced; the military capacity of the British state, and the subservience of sections of the Irish political establishment and media.
But they were determined to bring about change.
To end centuries of British involvement in Ireland and to construct a republic in which citizens would be treated fairly and equitably.
That goal is not yet achieved.
Ireland is still partitioned. Economic recession north and south means that nearly half a million citizens are out of work.
But the Irish government, as we saw again this week, continues to bail out its friends and cronies in the banking system and the golden circle of property developers and speculators.
NAMA gets precedence over citizens while our public services are slashed and poverty and emigration increases.
There is no more urgent time than this to promote our republican politics of equality and respect and dignity.
Tá muintir na fiche sé chontae feargach, tuigeann muid sin.
Tá muid feargach fosta mar is pháirthí muidinne a bhfuil lonnaithe I measc na ndaoine, sna phobail ar fud na tire seo.
There is no better time to be demanding that citizens have the right to a home; to a safe environment; to good quality education and health care; and to a job.
There is no better time than this to campaign for a united Ireland.
Republican Belfast and this generation of Irish republicans is stronger, more experienced and better supported than at any other time in the history of our city.
And Irish reunification and republican politics have never been more clearly in demand to advance and defend peoples’ rights.
I believed that when I joined the Republican struggle in the 1960s.
I believe it today.
Over 40 years ago, in the summer of 1969, progressive citizens of Belfast made a stand against the Orange state and in support of the beleaguered people of Derry. I was there.
I was also in Ballymurphy in 1970 when citizens there engaged in one of the first acts of mass resistance since partition.
And in all the time since then many ordinary people made extraordinary sacrifices and displayed great courage in pursuit of freedom and justice and Irish unity.
I am proud to have been part of all that.
During this phase of the struggle some of us had to leave our families and homes, go on the run, adapt many ruses, go under false names.
We relied totally on the support of the people to protect us.
And we, in turn, protected the people as best we could.
We did not divulge their names, their roles, their actions.
That is still my position. That was the bond of comradeship and loyalty which was forged between us.
And let no one think that I will bend to the demands of anti-republican elements or their allies in a hostile section of the media on this issue.
I am also very conscious of the human cost of the war and the great hurt inflicted by republicans.
I have acknowledged this and my regret for this many times. And I do so again today.
There are victims and citizens who want to know the truth about what happened to loved ones during the conflict.
That is their right. I cannot demand truth for victims of British terrorism, collusion or unionist error without supporting the same right for victims of republican actions.
That is why Sinn Féin supports the establishment of an effective independent and international truth recovery process.
I certainly would be prepared to be part of such a process and I would encourage others to participate.
I am glad the war is over.
Any post conflict phase – any transition is bound to be difficult.
For all survivors, victims, former combatants.
The war should never be glamourised or repeated.
But neither should the republican involvement in it – the Army’s involvement, the involvement of our patriot dead - be permitted by us to be criminalised or retrospectively delegitimised.
This is bigger than me. This is about us as a republican community, especially in this city of Belfast.
This is about our integrity and the just nature of our cause.
That is why the Irish Republican Army – Óglaigh na hÉireann – was known as the people’s army.
I am proud of that Army and my association with it.
I am not a militarist and I never have been but without the IRA the nationalist people of this state would still be on our knees.
We would still be second class citizens.
So bear in mind that this relentless campaign against me is not really about me at all. It’s about trying to defeat the struggle.
Tá muid cleachtaithe leis na h’ionsaithe seo. Níl rud nua é. Ach I gcónai seas muid an fhód na cúise le chéile.
During the war the might of British militarism and its unionist allies in the death squads could not defeat the republican people of this city.
The millions spent on black propaganda, the lies and smears and disinformation and the efforts to criminalise our struggle all failed.
Republicans stayed focused and strong and united.
We stuck with our republican principles.
We perservered. We strategised and planned.
And the people’s army – the IRA – was an undefeated army when it took brave decisions to support the Sinn Féin peace strategy and to create the present opportunities for a new future.
This society, the citizens of this island would not be in the new place, a better place particularly here in the North, but for the dedication and determination of republicans.
So this campaign against me, against us, by the Irish News and Sunday Times, Tribune and others is not new.
They did it during the hunger strikes; they did when I first stood for election and in every election since; they did when I was involved in talks with John Hume; they did it constantly throughout the negotiations and the Peace Process.
It is about stopping our development.
So our immediate focus as republican activists is to mobilise and win the biggest republican vote in the Westminster election next month.
Building political strength and winning more and more people over to Irish republicanism is the best way to ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreement and in particular of their all-Ireland elements.
The key to this is leadership.
And Sinn Féin has a tried, experienced and trusted leadership. In early March we demonstrated that by concluding an agreement at Hillsborough with the DUP.
We did this by making the two governments and the DUP face up to their political responsibilities.
Under this Agreement powers on policing and justice will be transferred next week.
There will also be the transfer of powers from London to Belfast to deal with the issue of parades.
More powers are moving from England to Ireland.
Irish language rights will also be delivered on and there is additional funding for the language.
Tá níos mó le déanamh againn ach tá Sinn Féin go h’iomlán dírithe cearta na nGael a chuir chun tosaigh in achan rud a dhéanann muid.
This Agreement is a staging post.
More change is necessary but it is proof that change is possible and that the process is ongoing.
And that change is also evident every day in the efforts of our activists across this island to get investment in public services, in education and roads and rural communities.
In our defence of the elderly, our efforts to secure jobs, and houses and environmental improvements and much more.
Sinn Féin is doing all this by standing up to the governments.
By standing up for the rights of citizens.
And by making clear to the unionist parties that while we are a partner in government we are no push over.
We want to work with unionists.
This party is more active on grassroots issues in working class unionist areas of this city than at any time in my lifetime.
We take seriously our republican heritage which embraces the radical Presbyterian tradition of the United Irish Society.
And we are serious also about wanting to make friends with unionists based on tolerance, respect and equality.
This great, proud party believes that a free, independent and United Ireland makes political and economic sense.
We have embarked on a national and international campaign to bring this about.
We are determined and resolute and confident of success.
This year’s Ard Fheis cleared the way for everyone who wants to, to join Sinn Féin on your own terms.
So I am appealing to everyone here to become a Shinner and to take a stand for freedom, peace and justice.
Join Sinn Féin and build a new Ireland, an Ireland the signatories of 1916 and those republicans we remember today, would be proud of.
Join with us in the fight for jobs, for peace, for equality, for unity.
Join with us as we make peace with former enemies, and as we seek to achieve our primary goal of Irish unity and freedom.
And finally my friends let us send a message of solidarity to the people of Gaza.
Let us send a message to the Israeli government.
Stop the war against Palestine. Build the peace.
A large crowd turned out for the annual County Cavan Easter Commemoration, organised by County Cavan Sinn Féin, in Ballinagh on Easter Monday. The bad weather held off as the crowd marched through Ballinagh town to gather at the gravesides of Captain Thomas Sheridan and Commandant Thomas Fitzpatrick in the local cemetery. The chairperson of the commemoration committee, Cormac Brady, offered a special welcome to the families of both men. The oration was given by a local young republican, Kathryn Reilly, parliamentary assistant to Arthur Morgan TD.
On Saturday last, republicans from across the South East gathered in Mooncoin, South Kilkenny for the annual Easter Commemoration.
The event was chaired by Councillor Kathleen Funchion, who welcomed the large attendance to the grave of Jo Foran, a staunch Mooncoin republican who passed away in 1984.
The main speaker for the day was Councillor David Cullinane of Waterford City. The commemoration concluded with the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann by the Carrick on Suir Republican Flute Band.
Ag labhairt in Inis ar an Domhnach, dúirt Cathaoirleach Shinn Féin i gCiarraí Thuaidh agus Luimneach Thiar, Risteárd Ó Fuaráin, go gcaithfimid a bheith dílis do chuimne na ndaoine a fuair bás i 1916. Ní amháin go gcaithfimid teacht le chéile chun comóradh a dhéanamh ar eachtraí ar nós Eirí Amach na Cásca 1916 ach tá dualgas orainne iarracht a dhéanamh tír níos daonlathaí a dhéanamh a thabharfaidh cothrom na Féinne do gach duine agus do gach grúpa sa tír.
Speaking at Drumcliff Cemetery in Ennis on the occasion of the commemoration of those who died in 1916, Chairperson of North Kerry/West Limerick Sinn Féin, Risteárd Ó Fuaráin said that simply remembering those who died will not bring about an Irish Republic. This will be achieved by continuing the struggle in which they so selflessly engaged.
A large crowd turned out on Easter Sunday in Bandon to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. They were led to the republican plot of St. Patrick’s cemetery by the Bandon District Pipe Band. D.J. O’Driscoll chaired the proceedings and the guest speaker of the day was Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald.
The annual Clonakilty Easter 1916 Commemoration was held as usual at the Tadhg an Astna Monument on Easter Sunday. Cathaoirleach Séamus deBúrca in his introduction stated that the men and women who went out to strike a blow for freedom on Easter Week didn’t do so “for corrupt bankers and politicians. The main oration was delivered by Skibbereen Town Councillor Donnchadha Ó Seaghdha. After the Cathaoirleach thanked everyone for their participation and attendance, the commemoration concluded with local town councillor, Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, leading the crowd in Amhrán na bhFiann. The Easter Commemoration Committee also expressed their thanks to all who supported their collection on Saturday which saw them distributing Easter Lilies. A permit had been granted by the Gardaí, which was welcomed.
Several hundred republicans gathered in Cork City on Sunday for the annual Easter Commemoration. After assembling at the National Monument in the city centre, the crowd marched to St Finbarr’s Cemetery behind the Youghal Republican Flute Band. The ceremonies at the Republican plot – the resting place, among others, of Terence McSwiney and Tomás Mac Curtain – were chaired by Cork City Councillor Thomas Gould. Pat Coughlan laid a wreath at the monument in memory of all those who died on hunger strike, which includes five Cork men, Terence Mac Swiney, Joe Murphy, Michael Fitzgerald, Joe Murphy and Donnacha de Barra. John Stanton laid a wreath at the grave of Tómas Mac Curtain, whose 90th anniversary occurred recently. The main oration was given by party Vice President, Mary Lou McDonald.
Over 1,000 people attended the Easter Sunday commemoration in Derry City. Dozens of families lined the route as the parade made its way through the Bogside, Brandywell, and Creggan to the Republican plot in the city cemetery.
Large crowds also attended the four area monument commemorations earlier that morning. Before proceedings began at the main parade, Foyle MLA Martina Anderson, along with Paddy Hegarty, unveiled a headstone for his wife Jan, who passed away earlier this year after a short illness. Jan worked tirelessly on behalf of the prisoners and the Derry Republican Graves Association for over 20 years. She also made sure that the flags in the cemetery were ready for every Easter Sunday and Derry Volunteers march and that each and every grave had a Tricolour flag worthy of our republican dead. Anderson delivered the main address at the commemoration.
About a thousand people attended this year’s Drumboe commemoration, which is held annually in Stranorlar Co Donegal, and they were accompanied by many cumann banners and by the Tirconnail Martyrs Flute Band.
The commemoration particularly honours Charlie Daly, Daniel Enright, and Timothy O’Sullivan, all from Kerry, and Sean Larkin from Derry, who were executed by a free state firing party.
Councillor Cora Harvey, this year’s chairperson, praised the four martyrs for not signing up to the British imposed Treaty but choosing instead to come to Donegal to continue the fight for freedom. The men were captured at Dunlewy in November 1922 and faced a military court in January 1923 and were sentenced to death. They were subsequently executed by a Free State firing squad on 14 March 1923.
Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty delivered a rousing main address, in which he said that now was the time for Irish people to stand up for themselves, to stand up for each other, to stand by the Republic. Earlier, republicans from the Strabane area had gathered at local commemorations in Aghyaran, Cranagh, at the Republican Plot at Strabane Cemetery and at wreathlaying ceremonies at Castlederg and Magherakeel to remember all those listed on the West Tyrone Rolls of Honour and Remembrance.
Letterkenny Sinn Féin held its annual Easter Commemoration at the graveside of Volunteer Timothy Megarry at Aughanshinan Graveyard.
Councillor Gerry Mc Monagle chaired the proceedings. He began by welcoming Timmy’s family and friends who had gathered at his graveside to commemorate Timmy and all those who have sacrificed so much so that Ireland might be free.
Councillor Mick Quinn delivered the main oration.
South Down Sinn Féin Assembly Member, and the party’s Westminster candidate, Caitríona Ruane, was the main speaker at the Easter Sunday commemorations in Downpatrick and Castlewellan and she also attended the parade in Newcastle.
Emphasising the importance of the 1916 Rising, she paid tribute to the dedication of those involved with the South Down Republican Graves Association, who organised the day’s events in the county, and she said the day was one to take time to reflect on the ten Volunteers who lost their lives in the county during the recent conflict.
Speaking at the GPO in Dublin on Sunday at the city’s main annual Easter Commemoration, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the 26 County State has been brought to the point of collapse by the actions of a small golden circle in what he described as corruption worse than that of the Haughey era.
He called on Sinn Féin supporters to become more active and to join the party.
“This is a state in crisis,” he said “People just can’t understand how things could have got to this point. People are furious that €18.3 billion can be found to put into the black hole that is Anglo Irish Bank when they were told that there was no money for health or education. They are asking how €32 billion can be found to re-capitalise the banks when no money can be found for a jobs stimulus package to get people back to work.
“This state has been brought to the point of collapse by the actions of a small golden circle who for years have enjoyed a position of privilege and influence at the expense of ordinary citizens. The reality is that this is even worse than the corruption of the Haughey era.
“This chaos for which ordinary people are now expected to pay is the result of almost 90 years of government by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who fostered and pandered to the interests of people like Sean Fitzparick, Michael Fingelton and Liam Carroll. They cannot now distance themselves from them.
“We need political change. We need a United Ireland with a very different set of values at its core. The values which are represented in the 1916 Proclamation and in the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil. The values of Irish Republicanism.
“In recent weeks we have radically changed our party structures to make joining Sinn Féin easier. We want you to be a party member by working in what ever way you can. If you want a real Republic, make a stand. If you believe in a better way, in a just society, in a United Ireland make that stand as an activist. This Easter we are putting to you to support Sinn Féin by becoming a member.”
re-enactment: Noel Hughes is pictured outside Liberty Hall in Dublin on Easter Monday for the North Inner City Folklore Project’s re-enactment of the hoisting of the Green Flag outside Liberty Hall by the Citizen Army in 1916. A plaque was also unveiled at Sean McDermott Street to Captain Sean Connolly of the Citizen Army, who was killed on the roof of the City Hall
Speaking at the annual Easter Sunday Commemoration in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, to a crowd of over 400 people, Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew used her address to criticise the southern government for their failure to protect the ordinary citizens of the state and for devoting the majority of its attention to bailing out rogue bankers and corrupt developers. She said that this was all taking place at the same time when thousands of jobs within the Quinn Group are now at risk. Gildernew revealed that she would be in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon, along with Sinn Féin TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Fermanagh councillor, Phil Flanagan.
The minister also outlined how her party colleagues are always pushing the All-Ireland and equality agendas in the Executive and how, only last, week she chaired a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council where an All-Ireland Animal Health Policy was agreed.
Also addressing the crowd was Ciaran Leonard, brother of Louis Leonard, who was murdered by British agents in December 1972 and who is commemorated in the monument in Derrylin. Leonard urged all republicans and nationalists to unite behind Sinn Féin political strategy and to ensure that Michelle Gildernew is returned at the forthcoming election.
On Easter Sunday around 70 people attended the annual 1916 Commemoration organised by Limerick City Sinn Féin. 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 Chairperson of Limerick City Sinn Féin.
The main speaker on the day was local Cllr Maurice Quinlivan. Following the main commemoration a wreath laying ceremony was held at the grave of Sean Glynn, an IRA volunteer who died in Arbour Hill Military Prison in September 1936.
The Sinn Féin organised Easter Rising 1916 commemorations throughout County Monaghan were hugely successful. Hundreds of people participated in the county parade in Monaghan town on Easter Sunday afternoon. Commemorations were also held in Inniskeen on Easter Saturday and at Scotshouse and Clones on Easter Monday.
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.
The 94th anniversary of the 1916 Rising was marked in Monaghan by the traditional parade through the town and ceremony following at Latlurcan cemeteries.
The assembly point was the Feargal O’Hanlon Memorial on the town’s Clones Road.
South Monaghan councillor Matt Carthy chaired the proceedings at Latlurcan. Wreaths were laid on graves of volunteers interred at each of the three cemeteries at Latlurcan. The oration was delivered by the senior Sinn Féin member and Tyrone Assembly member, Francie Molloy, following which the parade re-assembled and marched back through town to Park Street, where the Seán McIlvanna band played Amhrán Na bhFiann to conclude the commemoration programme.
There was a large gathering at the Easter Saturday commemoration in Inniskeen which took place at St. Mary’s cemetery, where local Sinn Féin councillor Noel Keelan delivered the oration.
On Easter Monday morning at Scotshouse a large crowd gathered for the annual commemoration. Roger Carey chaired the event which was attended by around 100 people.
In Clones the 150strong group was led by a colour party and a piper. Councillor Pat Treanor chaired the event and the main oration was delivered by senior West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA Clare McGill. She urged republicans to remain focused on the goals of Irish unity and independence. She described the current phase as ‘transitional’ and stated that there was a need for patience and dedication, as only the strategy advocated by Sinn Féin would deliver on the ideals of Easter 1916.
Sligo republicans assembled at Sligo City Cemetery on Easter Sunday afternoon for the main county commemoration. The parade, led by a well-drilled colour party, paused and paid their respects at the graveside of Volunteer Joe MacManus before parading to the main ceremony at the Republican Plot.
Following the reading of the Proclamation and the Sligo Roll of Honour, and the laying of wreaths the main oration was delivered by Sinn Féin’s National Director of Publicity, Seán Mac Brádaigh.
He recalled in particular those republican soldiers, popularly known as Sligo’s Noble Six, who are buried in the cemetery – Brigadier Seamus Devins TD, Div. Adj. Brian McNeill, Capt. Harry Benson, Lieut. Paddy Carroll, Vols. Tommy Langan and Joe Banks – who were gunned down on Benbulben Mountain in September, 1922 while defending the republic against the forces of counter-revolution.
Earlier in the day a wreath-laying ceremony took place in Ballisodare at the graveside of Sligo 1916 veteran Martin Savage, killed at Ashtown Road, Dublin, in 1919.
Thousands of republicans mobilised over the weekend in Tyrone to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The following reports are from local and county commemorations throughout the county.
Approximately 60 people attended the Easter Commemoration at the graveside of veteran republican Charlie Ferris in Killyclogher graveyard on Saturday evening. Liam Coyle, chair of the Murray/Mc Aleer SF Cumann, Killyclogher, led the proceedings. During his address, Liam reflected on Charlie’s lifelong participation in the struggle from first volunteering in 1936 and remaining faithful until his death in 2005.
Drumragh (Old graveyard)
On Saturday, republicans assembled at the graveside of poet, playwright and republican Alice Milligan. The Cathaoirleach of the Milligan/Harte Sinn Féin Cumann, Sean Donnelly, chaired the commemoration. During his address, Donnelly reflected on the life of Alice Milligan, who was born into the unionist tradition but became a strong advocate for Irish republicanism. Donnelly also gave a special welcome to members of the Harte family who lost their mother, Winnie, and sister Kathleen during the year. The Milligan/Harte Cumann is named jointly in memory of Alice Milligan and brothers Gerard and Martin Harte who were killed in action with Volunteer Brian Mullin in August 1988.
This year’s commemoration was held at the graveside of Colm Grimes. The ceremony was chaired by Ógra activist, Barry McColgan. The main address was given by Sinn Féin representative Glenn Campbell
Several hundred republicans braved the rain to take part in the County commemoration in Coalisland. A colour party made up of Ógra Shinn Féin members led the parade. At the Republican plot, local Councillor Dessie Donnelly chaired the proceedings. The main address was given by Derry MLA and former Blanketman Raymond Mc Cartney.
New Republican Museum
Following the Easter parade, the crowd then moved to the entrance of the new Republican museum. The museum houses a huge variety of memorabilia and artifacts related to the different phases of struggle for Irish freedom. One of the people central to this project was Hugh Quinn from the Coalisland and Clonoe Republican ex-prisoners group. According to Quinn: “This museum and exhibition is the culmination of tireless work by a group of dedicated volunteers, all determined that important material relating to our struggle is collated and preserved for future generations.
“We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of material that was collected when the call went out requesting people to share their information and artifacts with us.
“The museum is an important part of our local history. It can be used for educational and research purposes and undoubtedly will grow as the project unfolds”. The official opening was performed by ex-POW Raymond McCartney, accompanied by fellow MLAs Michelle O’Neill and Francie Molloy.
On Saturday evening, a graveside commemoration was held at the Republican plot in Edendork. Jimmy Taggart chaired the proceedings, and the main address was given by Francie Molloy.
Local people gathered at the Republican plot in Galbally graveyard for a wreath laying ceremony on Easter Saturday evening.
In one of the largest mobilisations for many years, hundreds of republicans descended on Carrickmore for the main County commemoration.
This year’s proceedings commenced with a historical re-enactment of the events that unfolded at the GPO on Easter Monday 1916. A troupe of Ógra Shinn Féin volunteers in full 1916 attire took control of the GPO, while their leader, Padraig Pearse, read the Proclamation from specially constructed steps at the front of the Patrician Hall. The re-enactment was choreographed by Gerry Cunningham and concluded with a mock execution of the 15 leaders of the Rising.
The commemoration was attended by four marching bands – the Martin Hurson Memorial band, Pomeroy Accordian band, Strabane Flute Band and a band who travelled from Coatsbridge in Scotland.
The proceedings at the town’s Garden of Remembrance were chaired by Cllr Sean Begley of the Tyrone Sinn Féin Commemoration Committee. The main oration was delivered by Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin MP, Martin McGuinness.
During his address, McGuinness reflected on the pivotal role that Tyrone played during the freedom struggle and the years of hardship and suffering experienced by the families of the patriot dead and those who have spent many years in prison.
Republicans assembled on Easter Sunday morning at the graveside of Volunteer Dan Mc Anallen to mark the 94th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The proceedings were chaired by Ogra Sinn Féin member Laura Gildernew and representatives of Dan’s family, including his wife Bertha, joined in the commemoration. The main speaker was Sinn Féin Councillor Declan Mc Aleer from Loughmacrory. During his speech Cllr Mc Aleer paid tribute to Dan Mc Anallen and the volunteers from Tyrone who lost their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom. He also reflected on a recent conversation with a former comrade of Dan’s, who spoke of his cool-headedness, quick thinking and leadership qualities.
Dromore and Trillick
On Easter Sunday republicans from the Dromore and Trillick area gathered at the graveside of Volunteer Cathal Quinn. Proceedings were chaired by Stephen McCann, chairperson of the Patsy Kelly Sinn Féin Cumann. Wreathes were laid on the grave of by Cathal Quinn’s widow, Ann Quinn and daughter Zenia. The large crowd of local republicans then proceeded to the graveside of Volunteer Seamus Donnelly in Dromore Old Graveyard, for a short wreath-laying ceremony. On Easter Monday, Republicans from Dromore and Trillick gathered at the graveside of Patsy Kelly for the annual wreath-laying ceremony.
A hundred-strong crowd of local republicans from the Aghyaran and Castlederg area assembled in Spring sunshine in Aghyaran graveyard on Easter Sunday. It was the first commemoration since Easter 2008 because of the postponement of last year’s ceremony as a mark of respect due to the death of Mrs Shanaghan, mother of murdered Sinn Féin activist Patrick Shanaghan.
The crowd assembled at the graveside of Volunteer Seamus Harvey alongside members of the Harvey family for the ceremony. The ceremony was chaired by Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Mc Hugh.
Earlier in the day wreaths were also laid on the graves of Gerard McGlynn, Francie McHugh, John Phillip O’Donnell, Robert Barclay, Patrick Shanaghan, Kieran Fox and Charlie McHugh. West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff gave the main oration. He made reference to the sad passing of Sinn Féin stalwart Charlie McHugh as well as Anna Connolly, mother of the late Volunteer Josie Connolly.
In one of the biggest crowds witnessed in recent years, several hundred people attended the annual Loughmacrory commemoration at the graveside of brothers Gerard and Martin Harte. Gerard and Martin were shot while on active service with their comrade Brian Mullin on Tuesday 30 August 1988. The commemoration commenced at the Memorial garden in the centre of the village for a brief wreath-laying ceremony before the crowd moved to the graveyard. The proceedings were chaired by local Councillor Sharon O’Brien, who reflected on the fact that Gerard and Martin’s mother Winnie and sister, Kathleen had passed away during the last year. The main address was given by South Armagh Republican, Sean Hughes.
Several hundred people gathered at Dunamore graveyard on Easter Sunday afternoon for the Easter commemoration and unveiling of the newly constructed republican monument, erected by the Eoin McNamee SF Cumann and dedicated to everyone from the local area who has played their part in the struggle for freedom.
The commemoration was chaired by Louise Mullin and the guest speaker was MP for the area Martin McGuinness. He congratulated the local cumann for taking the initiative of erecting the monument and thanked the local people for their current and ongoing support for the republican struggle. The proceeding drew to a close with the playing of Amhran na bhFiann on the pipes by members of Cloghfin pipe band.
The annual Easter commemoration was held at the graveside of Vol. Gerard O’Callaghan, who was killed in action at Loughgall on 8 May 1987. The proceedings were chaired by Cllr Paul Corrigan and the main Oration was delivered by Gerard’s friend Stan Corrigan. During his speech Stan emphasised how proud he is to have been a friend, comrade and neighbour of Gerard’s in every aspect of republican struggle in Tullysaran and East Tyrone during his involvement over the past 43 years.
On Saturday evening, Tyrone Republicans gathered at the Republican plot in Moy. The proceedings were chaired by local Sinn Féin activist Dominic Molloy. Veteran Republican, Stan Corrigan delivered the main oration. He paid particular tribute to the father of Vol. Eugene Martin, who recently passed away and is buried beside the Republican plot.
Local Republicans gathered at Strathroy Republican monument in the Omagh town republican estate to mark the 94th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The monument was erected in 2005 by Ógra Shinn Féin and the Billy Reid Sinn Féin cumann in memory of three IRA volunteers, Patrick Carty and Sean Loughran from Tyrone and Dermot Crowley from Cork, who were killed in an accidental explosion not far from the monument on 25 June 1973. The wreath-laying ceremony was chaired by Omagh Town Sinn Féin Councillor Martin McColgan.
Easter Uprising remembered in Toronto
Over 125 people attended the Greater Toronto Commemoration of the 1916 Easter Uprising on Easter Sunday at the Brampton Irish Centre. The event, organised by the Emerald Isle Social Club, has been a fixture on the Irish Canadian calendar for over three decades.
This year, the guest speaker was Sinn Féin Belfast City Councillor and former Lord Mayor Tom Hartley, who focused his remarks on the Proclamation itself and the role of the Irish diaspora.
He paid tribute to “all those exiles who through the generations of struggle worked to support the democratic struggle for national independence”.
He spoke of “the enormous contribution of those millions who fled the famine and came to North America in the late 1840s”. He was particularly reminded in Canada “of those horrendous times in the monuments to be found on Grosse Isle and on the wharfs of Toronto. The Famine Irish never forgot their birthright or the reasons they crossed the wide Atlantic.”
He urged support for the Irish Unity Pledge in Canada and commended the various groups and individuals involved in the campaign.
Navan Town Council remembers 1916
Navan Town Council last week formally commemorated the Easter Rising of 1916 by raising the Tricolour and reading the Proclamation.
The Mayor of Navan, Sinn Féin’s Joe Reilly, officiated at the ceremony and encouraged others to follow his lead.
This is an historic occasion for Navan Town Council to formally remember the men and women who struck a blow for Irish freedom,” he said. “At that time they were ridiculed by the establishment media and many of their compatriots. How we could do with such visionary leadership now.
“Our current ‘leaders’ are not striking a blow for freedom or treating all of the children equally; instead they are shackling this generation and children for the next number of generations with debt. This will manifest itself in more cuts to essential public services. Teachers will go, class sizes will get bigger. Less Gardaí, fewer hospitals and higher taxes.
“I encourage other local authorities to follow Navan’s lead and pay homage to our patriot dead. All our public buildings should fly the national flag throughout Easter Week. I also encourage every citizen to wear an Easter Lily, to be proud of our past and look forward to our future based on the real values of the Proclamation.”
The full text of Easter speeches delivered by Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Declan Kearney, Gerry Kelly, Mary Lou McDonald and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin are available online at: www.sinnfein.ie