This coming weekend hundreds of republicans in the city will gather for their annual Volunteer Sunday where they will remember their patriot dead.
Ahead of the annual volunteers Sunday commemoration the ‘Journal’ spoke to the chairperson of the Derry Republican Graves Association, Pius McNaught, about the organising that goes into the event and other events the association organises throughout the year.
“Like every commemoration or event we do, we always try to ensure that as much planning goes into it as possible and that they are carried out with dignity and respect. Apart from Easter, this weekend would be the next biggest event along with our annual presentations dinner and local commemorations,” said Pius.
The Derry Republican Graves Association would also tend to the republican plot in the City Cemetery.
“It’s a massive undertaking on an annual basis but it’s vital that it’s kept in pristine condition,” he added.
“Our primary objective is to honour the memory of all those who have given their lives for Irish freedom. Their selfless dedication and courage is an inspiration to us all and it’s very important that their memories are passed onto the next generation.
“I am heartened to see the amount of young people who have been become involved in the past few years with the association and are working away in their areas.”
Pius stressed the importance of organising ahead of next year’s plans to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising as well as the 35th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike.
“We are already planning for the centenary of the Easter Rising and the 35th Anniversary of the Hunger Strikes next year and the refurbishment work that has to be carried out there and at our monuments in the Bogside and Brandywell, Creggan, Shantallow and the Waterside. Both the Rising and Hunger Strike were watershed moments in Irish history and their impact resonates until the present day.
“We also have plaques throughout the city at locations where IRA volunteers were killed in action and H-Block Monument at Rossville Street. The local area committees are always very active doing commemorations, sporting competitions, murals and fundraising to carry out their work,” he said.
This year volunteer Sunday will commence outside the Creggan Shops at 2:30pm on Sunday June 28.