Unionists unwelcome at our Easter Rising commemoration, says republican group
A hardline republican group has said that unionists won't be welcome at their event to commemorate the 1916 Rising.
While Sinn Fein has invited unionists to take part in a series of events to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, the organisers of a commemoration in Belfast said it would be an occasion only for republicans.
The Easter Rising Commemoration Committee said that while Sinn Fein had the right to invite unionists to events it was organising, the committee was taking a traditional republican stance.
In a statement, the group said: "We in the Easter Rising Committee would like to make it clear that we are unrepentant Irish republicans who uphold the right of those who took on the might of the British empire to do so by force of arms. We make no apologies for that.
"Those who fought and died for our freedom not only fought the British but also their colonial forces in Ireland, the RIC/RUC and the Black and Tans, these were mainly from the unionist community in Ireland.
"We will not be inviting unionists, loyalists or any manifestation of the British state to our commemorations." The committee said its event in West Belfast next April 24 would be "strictly Irish republican" .
Unionists have already rejected Sinn Fein's invitation to its events to mark the centenary.
Launching a programme of events in Belfast City Hall, former Sinn Fein Lord Mayor, Tom Hartley, said all "dimensions and perspectives on the insurrection against British Rule in 1916 in Dublin [would] be reflected in the anniversary programme".
But DUP MLA Nelson McCausland said republicans would be better desisting from acts such as naming children's play parks after IRA men than inviting people to "this farcical commemoration".