Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein 'hijacking' 1916 commemorations with sale of bonds

By angela rainey

Centenary bonds marking the 1916 Easter Rising and bearing leading republican Bobby Storey's signature have been put on sale by Sinn Fein.

The framed certificates, which cost £112.24, or €100, are being sold from Parnell Square in Dublin, through the website Revolution 1916, with proceeds "funding 1916 commemorations".

Specifics are not given as to what the "commemorations" will entail or whether the proceeds will fund events in Northern Ireland or the Republic, but buyers can have the bond personalised in English or Irish complete with Mr Storey's signature.

Senator Mairia Cahill has blasted the product as a waste of money, saying those who buy one must be mad.

She said: "I didn't know Bobby Storey was in the GPO, but given Sinn Fein's penchant for rewriting history, I suppose they'll try to claim he was.

"On a serious note, Sinn Fein has a track record on shamelessly making money from the dead to swell party coffers and this is the latest example.

"They once sold my uncle's funeral for £5 on DVD so I'm not surprised that they've hijacked the Easter Rising for their own ends.

"This is more a case of 'the dead, the dead, they have left us our Fenian fools' - and anyone who buys one of these needs their head examined."

Buyers are entered into a prize draw which includes the chance to win a trip for two to New York with thousands of dollars spending money. The second prize is a trip to Dublin for the Easter Rising commemorations, again with spending money.

The marketing seems to be aimed at the Irish-American population, plus other expatriates around the world.

Online Revolution 1916 is marketing the product, saying: "The bond is sure to be displayed with pride and will become an item of interest in the future."

The group behind the bonds claims it wants to preserve 1916 sites.

Its website says: "We are a non-profit organisation set up by a group of people who are passionate about the preservation of one of Ireland's most important heritage sites, the 1916 Battlefield Site at Moore Street.

"We have come together with the relatives of the 1916 leaders to provide an innovative scheme to sell Centennial Bonds at €100 each in order to put a bid to NAMA to purchase the 1916 Battlefield Site.

"The Bonds for Moore Street will be offered nationally and internationally."

The idea of selling bonds to fund republican causes harks back to the days of the Fenians who also used them to raise cash for their activities.

Such bonds today, along with some issued after 1916, are worth a lot of money, given their rarity.

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