Lifelong Derry republican, Bobby Kelly, has become the first person in Derry to receive the new centenary bond to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.
Mr. Kelly was presented with the centenary bond at his 80th birthday party by Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA.
“Bobby has been stalwart in this area (Galliagh/Carnhill) for many years and we felt we wanted to do something special for him on his 80th birthday,” explained Sinn Fein Councillor, Tony Hassan.
“After the weekly Cumann meeting, family and friends gathered for the surprise presentation and we were pleased Martin (McGuinness) was able to attend and carry out the presentation of the centenary bond,” he added.
Mr. McGuinness described republicans like Mr. Kelly as “an example” to younger generations.
“I have known Bobby Kelly for more than 40 years. For all that time I have known him to be a loyal supporter and activist. In fact I know that Bobby has been a republican for all of his adult life, at 80 years of age that’s a long time to give to the pursuit of Irish freedom. It is people like Bobby Kelly that’s has made the Republican movement what it is, he is an example to the generations that have followed after him,” said Mr. McGuinness.
The centenary bond is an homage to the way in which republicans raised money to finance the fight for Irish independence and then united Ireland in the 1800s and 1900s.
The centenary bonds cost £100 and the buyer gets a prize draw ticket, with a top prize of a trip for two to New York with €5,000, a letter of authenticity and the framed personalised Centenary Bond.
The Bond is issued by Ireland 1916 Commemorations Ltd, a not for profit company and has no redeemable value.
The prize draw will take place on April 3, 2016.