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Dissidents’ Easter Monday ceremony passes without incident

Around 30 people attended the event, uninterrupted by police, at the Derry City cemetery on Easter Monday.

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People lay wreaths and flowers during a ceremony at the Easter Commemoration in Derry City cemetery (PA)

People lay wreaths and flowers during a ceremony at the Easter Commemoration in Derry City cemetery (PA)

People lay wreaths and flowers during a ceremony at the Easter Commemoration in Derry City cemetery (PA)

A wreath-laying ceremony attended by dissident republicans has passed without incident.

Around 30 people attended the event, uninterrupted by police, at the Derry City cemetery on Easter Monday.

The Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee had originally planned a march for the event, which marks the anniversary of the Easter Rising.

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Saoradh National Executive members Paddy Gallagher (left) and Stephen Murney during a ceremony at the Easter Commemoration in Derry City cemetery (Liam McBurney/PA)

Saoradh National Executive members Paddy Gallagher (left) and Stephen Murney during a ceremony at the Easter Commemoration in Derry City cemetery (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Saoradh National Executive members Paddy Gallagher (left) and Stephen Murney during a ceremony at the Easter Commemoration in Derry City cemetery (Liam McBurney/PA)

But these plans were scaled back to a wreath-laying ceremony, amid appeals for the event to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Members of the Saoradh, the self-styled political wing of the New IRA, addressed the crowd from the graveyard.

Saoradh opted to hold its Easter commemorations online this year, for the second consecutive year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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It is now three years since such an event has taken place in Derry.

The Easter Monday event was also moved online in 2020 because of the pandemic.

And it was cancelled in 2019 in the days following the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.

The 29-year-old was shot dead by a New IRA gunman while observing riots in the Creggan.

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A note on a wreath laid at the Easter Commemoration (Liam McBurney/PA)

A note on a wreath laid at the Easter Commemoration (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

A note on a wreath laid at the Easter Commemoration (Liam McBurney/PA)

Monday’s wreath-laying ceremony had been branded  branded a “clear challenge to police by dissident republicans” by DUP MLA Gary Middleton.

He said the ceremony would be a breach of Covid-19 regulations, and that he would raise the issue with the PSNI.

Concerns had been heightened following a week of unrest in the Londonderry area.

But Monday’s 90-minute ceremony passed without incident or police intervention.

There were two further deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past two days and an additional 89 positive cases, the Department of Health said.


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