Thousands of people took part in an Easter Rising commemoration held in Derry on Sunday afternoon.
The event was organised by Sinn Féin and also marked the centenary of the founding of Cumann na mBan, the women’s revolutionary movement established in 1914.
The commemoration involved a parade from the Bogside to the republican plot in the City Cemetery which was led by more than 100 women dressed in white shirts and black ties. They were led by a colour party dressed in vintage Cumann na mBan uniforms from 1914.
Other marchers carried blue flags to recognise the colour of Cumann na mBan.
At the commemoration at the republican plot, which was chaired by Sinn Féin councillor Elisha McCallion, the platform party was made up entirely of women.
Colr. Bridget Meehan read the 1916 Proclamation while Joanne McDaid read the Derry Roll of Honour.
Philomena McLaughlin, sister of the late IRA volunteer Ethel Lynch, read the national Cumann na mBan Roll of Honour.
Bernie McDaid, a sister of the late vol. Gerard Craig, lowered the flag while a minute’s silence was held before Sara Griffen sang a lament.
The main speaker at the commemoration was Sinn Féin vice president Mary Lou McDonald TD.
In her oration, Ms McDonald urged local republicans to prepare for the centenary of the Easter Rising in two years time.
“The 98th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic and the Easter Rising is being marked in an Ireland that is still partitioned, that is still divided by deep social and economic inequality, in which elite groups of the privileged few still determine the quality of life for the many, and in which poverty and disadvantage marginalises huge swathes of our people.
“Is this unequal Ireland to remain unchanged up to and beyond the centenary of the 1916 Rising in two years time?
“It is up to us in Sinn Féin to ensure that the centenary will be marked by a people’s celebration, by education and politicisation and mobilisation.
We need to make the Centenary another step forward on the journey to a united Ireland of equals. Sinn Féin nationally has already begun to prepare for the centenary. I urge republicans in this city to develop their plans and preparations also,” she said.
The Dublin TD also paid tribute to the role of women in republican history. “The women of Cumann na mBan were once dubbed the unmanageable revolutionaries – and they wore it as a badge of honour. Well, the unmanageable revolutionaries haven’t gone away you know. The women of
“Sinn Féin are the unmanageable revolutionaries of today. A record number of them are standing for Sinn Féin as candidates in local and EU elections. And what better woman to lead them than Derry’s own Martina Anderson who is carrying the Sinn Féin flag in the European elections in the Six Counties,2 she said.
The commemoration ended with Sara Griffen singing Amhrán na bhFiann.