Hundreds of Irish Republicans from across County Derry assembled at republican plots in local churchyards in remembrance of Ireland’s Patriot Dead and in celebration of the men and women who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Local republicans, young and old, rededicated themselves to the achievement of the political objectives of Irish Unity, Independence and Equality as enshrined in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic which was proclaimed on the steps of Dublin GPO on Easter Monday, 1916.
The main County Derry commemoration was held at The Loup on Easter Sunday where a large, colourful, youthful and vibrant parade assembled on the Ballyronan Road before making its way in bright Spring sunshine to the grave of Brigadier Seán Larkin who was executed by Free State forces at Drumboe, Co. Donegal during the Irish Civil-War.
The commemorative parade was led by South Derry Martyrs Flute Band.
Sinn Féin MP, Francie Molloy who was guest speaker at the event said: “The women and men we are remembering here today were not war mongers. They were proud republican volunteers who took up arms against a massive military machine when there was no other option. Today as a result of the efforts of these republicans there is a peaceful and democratic path to a united Ireland.”
Pointing to the large numbers of young people assembling for the commemorative march, Mr Molloy added: “Today we are sending out a clear political message. We are getting stronger by the day, across all 32 counties...
“I came away from our recent Ard Fheis in Derry knowing that our future is in good hands, after listening to a volume of young activists speaking with great clarity, dedication and enthusiasm. One of our greatest strengths as a party is in our mix of generations.”
The hundreds of republicans assembled at The Loup were also addressed by young Ballinascreen woman and secretary of Queens’s University Sinn Féin cumann, Claire Sheerin on behalf of her party’s youth section.
The young revolutionary leader said: “As we approach and prepare for next year’s centenary of the 1916 Rising, we have yet to see the fulfilment of the Proclamation. But we have those in Fine Gael and the Irish Times who say: “We will write a new proclamation, a modern proclamation!” For this we say nonsense, we don’t need a new proclamation. We need to fulfil the vision and values of the 1916 Proclamation. There is nothing wrong or outdated with: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty and equal opportunities to all its citizens.”
The annual Swatragh Easter 1916 Rising Commemoration takes place Easter Monday, local Sinn Féin councillor, Kate McEldowney said: “As always we are looking forward to our Easter Monday 1916 commemoration in Swatragh when we will parade to Granaghan Churchyard for a wreathlaying cermemony in memory of Ireland’s Patriot Dead before returning to the village for an oration to be delivered by H-Block hunger striker and Sinn Féin MLA, Raymond McCartney.”