Belfast Telegraph

Falls Roads lined with spectators for Easter Rising parade in Belfast

Gerry Adams has accused the Irish Government of "betraying" the executed leaders of the Easter Rising as he marked the centenary of the event.

The Sinn Fein President make the claim during an address at Milltown Cemetery on Sunday.

The biggest parade in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising took place in west Belfast.

Thousands lined the Falls Road from Divis Tower at 12noon and along the route to Milltown Cemetery.

The parade included many in period dress, horse-drawn carriages, uniforms, memorabilia of the time and flute bands, passed by.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams addressed the crowd which gathered at the Republican Garden of Remembrance at Milltown Cemetery.

He used the speech to call for sectarianism to be tackled.

"The Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement marked a historic shift in politics on this island," he said.

"For the first time, the roots of conflict were addressed and a democratic route to Irish unity opened up.

"But there is much yet to be done. Hurts must be healed, divisions ended and the scourge of sectarianism must be tackled."

Mr Adams also criticised the Irish Government, accusing it of "betraying" the leaders of the Easter Rising.

"The southern state is not the Republic proclaimed in 1916," he said.

"Current efforts by the Dublin establishment to pretend that it is are an insult to the men and women of 1916.

"There are those who say that honouring the 1916 leaders might retrospectively justify violence.

"But they say nothing critical of John Redmond and Edward Carson's role in sending tens of thousands of young men to fight Germans, Austrians and Turks - with whom they and Ireland had no quarrel. 38 million people were killed in that imperial adventure. Were John Redmond and Edward Carson not 'men of violence'?

"A united Ireland means the unity of the people of this island, including those who see themselves as British.

"That is why Irish governments must pursue every avenue to promote all-Ireland co-operation and to build relationships between all our people.

"This must include genuine efforts to outreach to the unionists on the basis of equality."

Parades also took place in Londonderry, Coalisland, among other locations.

Speaking ahead of Easter Sunday, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers welcomed the Irish Government's efforts to ensure inclusivity

"I recognise the significance of this weekend for Irishmen & women across the world," she said.

"Whatever one’s perspective, I welcome and appreciate the efforts of the Irish Government to ensure that the centenary of the Easter Rising is marked in ways that are inclusive and designed to promote reconciliation."

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