Large crowd at Derry republican Book of Remembrance launch

The Sinn Fein centre packed to capacity for the launch of the Book of Remebrance. (3006SL11)
The Sinn Fein centre packed to capacity for the launch of the Book of Remebrance. (3006SL11)

More than 400 people attended the launch of the new Republican Book of Remembrance in the city on Saturday.

The specially commissioned book contains the names of more than 500 people from Derry who played a significant role in republican activities in the city since the 1920s.

The names, together with the date each person died, were handwritten into the book, which will now be on permanent display in the Rath Mór Sinn Féin office.

It is a new initiative designed to replace the previous Roll of Remembrance, which contained 37 names. The new book was compiled in recent weeks following a public appeal for additional names.

It was launched by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who said it was a fitting tribute to those he described as “the real heroes of the struggle.”

Speaking to the large crowd, Mr McGuinness said; “We remember with great pride the volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann who gave their lives. But we also try to make no distinction between those volunteers who gave their lives and the massive contribution made by their familes, and those people who supported the volunteers at the height of the conflict in this city.

“The struggle that was mounted in this city was a very proud struggle, a very honourable struggle, a direct fight between the forces of Irish republicanism and the forces of the state. Those people who went forward did so in the knowledge that there was a level of support in this city.

“We are thinking about those people who made that amazing contribution and turned this city into a republican stronghold,” he said. Mr McGuinness said those commemorated in the new book made a huge contribution to the development of republicanism in Derry.

“The book is absolutely magnificant and I would be very honoured someday if my name is in there with the rest. I think it is a fitting tribute to everything that has happened in this city and all those people who played a role.

“They were the real heroes of the struggle; people who were prepared to take as many risks as the volunteers were taking to provide support for the republican struggle in this city. Those are the people we are honouring,” he said.

Derry Sinn Féin chairperson, Andrew McCartney, chaired the launch and thanked all those who were involved in compiling the book. The room it will be displayed in has been renamed ‘The Volunteers’ Room’ and a plaque dedicating it as such was unveiled by Derry republican Mickey English.