Belfast Telegraph

Thousands attend Easter Rising commemoration parades

Dissidents denounced in speeches by SF's leaders

The annual Sinn Fein Easter commemoration parade takes place on the Falls Road in west Belfast
The annual Sinn Fein Easter commemoration parade takes place on the Falls Road in west Belfast
The annual Sinn Fein Easter commemoration parade takes place on the Falls Road in west Belfast
Gerry Adams at the event
The Easter parade in Londonderry
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking at the parade in west Belfast
The Easter parade in Londonderry
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Thousands of republicans attended commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising in Belfast and Londonderry yesterday.

In Derry, families of IRA members killed during the Troubles carried photos of their loved ones while others bore wreaths en route from the Bogside estate to the City Cemetery.

The parade, organised by Sinn Fein, was addressed by the party's deputy leader, Michelle O'Neill. She urged the killers of murdered journalist Lyra McKee to disband and end their "futile actions" which she said "are a barrier to achieving Irish unity".

She added: "The people who brought guns on to the street, and those who organised them, do not represent any version of Irish republicanism.

"They have no politics, no strategy and no popular support amongst the vast number of ordinary people from this city, or anywhere else in the country."

That message was echoed by Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald at the Easter Rising commemoration in west Belfast.

The parade started around Beechmount before making its way up the Falls Road to the republican plot in Milltown Cemetery.

Ms McDonald told the crowd, which included former party president Gerry Adams, that it was time for dissident republicans "to pack up" and end their campaign of violence.

In Dublin, Irish President Michael D Higgins led the commemoration to mark the 103rd anniversary of the rising.

He was joined by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish defence minister Paul Kehoe at the ceremony outside the GPO on O'Connell Street, which served as the headquarters of the 1916 rebels.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill makes a speech during an Easter commemoration parade in Londonderry (Joe Boland/PA)
Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill makes a speech during an Easter commemoration parade in Londonderry (Joe Boland/PA)

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