Easter 1916 commemorations 2017: Ireland calls Derry to her flag
A huge turnout is expected when Derry republicans convene to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Easter Rising over the weekend.
Parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, speeches and orations are planned by various branches of the wider republican family on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD will be the main speaker at the Sinn Féin commemoration on Sunday.
Chairperson of Sinn Féin in Derry City Charles Lamberton called on local republicans to turn out in large numbers for a positive celebration of Irish republicanism.
He said: “Our annual Easter Commemoration will assemble this Sunday, April 16 at Westland Street for 2pm.
“It will proceed to the Republican Plot where we will honour our patriot dead and recommit ourselves to building an Ireland of equals.
“Last year’s centenary anniversary, Derry republicans came in their thousands to remember the men and women of 1916, and the continuity of struggle.
“It was the largest Easter commemoration in living memory.”
Mr. Lamberton said Sunday’s commemoration parade will build on the positivity of last year’s centenary celebrations and will be headed by hundreds of local young people clad in the colours of the national flag, representing youth and the future of the country.
“This year, the 101st Anniversary, our theme is the vibrancy of Republicanism in bringing about reunification, the building of a New Republic.
“We want this year to be commemorative, celebratory, colourful, and a positive public display of Irish Republicanism.
“The parade is to be led by hundreds of children and young people, wearing the colours of our National flag – green, white and orange. This can be their tops, jumpers or coats in any of these three colours.
“We would ask people to assist in this by encouraging, ensuring their family, extended family, friends and neighbours come along and be part of making Easter 2017, a positive dynamic display of vibrant Republicanism heading into the future. Be part of history, be there on Sunday,” said Mr. Lamberton.
The main Sinn Féin parade will follow local commemorations at republican monuments at Rose Court in the Waterside at 11am; in Shantallow on the Racecourse Road at 1pm; and in Creggan (Central Drive) and the Bogside and Brandywell (Lecky Road) monuments at 1.30pm.
Before that, on Saturday, the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) will hold its own Easter Rising wreath-laying ceremony.
Chairperson of the IRSP in Derry, Danny Morrison, said: “Those attending at the City Cemetery in Derry are asked to make their way to the Republican Socialist Plot where a short wreath-laying ceremony will take place in memory of all those who have given their lives in pursuit of Irish freedom, and this will be followed by the main oration.
“Those attending are asked to assemble at 2pm at the republican socialist plot.”
Republican Sinn Féin holds its annual Easter commemoration at the Republican Plot in the City Cemetery at noon on Easter Sunday.
RSF will also be holding separate wreath-laying ceremonies at The Loup Cemetery at 9am and in Dungiven at 10.15am shortly before the main ceremony in Derry.
The commemorations will continue on Easter Monday.
Saoradh, Ireland’s newest political party, will hold its main National Republican Commemoration in Derry.
A spokesperson confirmed: “Following on from last year’s successful event in Coalisland, this year’s Unfinished Revolution National Easter Commemoration will take place in Derry on Easter Monday, April 17.
“This follows the National Republican Commemoration Committee’s policy of rotating the Republican Movement’s venue every year, as we honour all those who have fought, died and assisted in the cause of Irish Freedom. Assembling at Free Derry Corner on Easter Monday at 2pm and making its way to the City Cemetery, this is an opportunity for all those who are working to achieve a 32 County Socialist Republic by any means to rededicate themselves to the Irish Freedom Struggle. For information on transport from your local area, contact your local Saoradh Craobh.”