Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Derrylin hunger strike parade: Thousands march to republican rally, as Sinn Fein say 'it was never our intention to offend'

Michelle Gildernew MP tells crowd Peter Robinson had 'sectarianised' the commemoration

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -  3rd August 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

 National Hunger Strike Rally 2014
Republicans take part in the National Hunger Strike Rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh organised Êby Sinn Fein.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
National Hunger Strike Rally 2014 Republicans take part in the National Hunger Strike Rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh organised Êby Sinn Fein.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 03-08-2014:  Bands parade down the Main Street in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh  during yesterday's Hunger Strike commemoration. 
Picture By : Ann McManus/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press Belfast 03-08-2014: Bands parade down the Main Street in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh during yesterday's Hunger Strike commemoration. Picture By : Ann McManus/Pacemaker
Ahmad Abdelrazek, the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland

Thousands of republicans have marched through the Co Fermanagh village of Derrylin in a controversial commemoration of the 1981 hunger strikers.

There was unionist anger and frustration from IRA victims' families in the run up to the huge parade on Sunday, which saw 27 bands and their supporters march along the main street of the village.

Six members of the security forces were killed by the IRA in the area during the Troubles, with First Minister Peter Robinson saying the march – organised by Sinn Fein – was obnoxious, intimidating and offensive.

Michelle Gildernew MP, who gave the keynote speech, said republicans acknowledged the ongoing pain of those "saddened, offended or angered" by the event, adding "that was never our intention".

She said Mr Robinson and other unionist leaders had "sought to sectarianise it" and then criticised how they had recently handled cross-party talks at Stormont.

"As unionism has created an axis to oppose the Good Friday Agreement, those who support it, including the governments, need to build a pro-Agreement axis," she said.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone representative told the crowd the day was a celebration of the courage of the ten H-Block hunger strikers - "noble, selfless and decent" role models for republicanism.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and deputy first Minister Martin McGuinness were present, as well as the Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, Ahmad Abdelrazer.

Palestinian flags had been waved by many during the rally and Mrs Gildernew said it sent a message "that the vast majority of the Irish people reject the aggression of Israel and support the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and justice and national rights".

 

Further reading:

Gerry Adams hits back at criticism of Derrylin parade 

Republican march that sparked loyalist riot in Belfast last year is given the go-ahead 

Parades Commission rules on controversial hunger strike march in Derrylin - IRA clothes and flags banned

Palestine official invited to Fermanagh hunger strike event  

Hunger strike parade in Derrylin an affront to IRA's victims: Elliott 

IRA victim hits out at 'sick' hunger strike parade through Derrylin 

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