Irish Republican News · March 29, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Parties struggle to mark Easter sacrifice
Parties struggle to mark Easter sacrifice

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The removal by British officials of a banner on the Falls Road in west Belfast advertising a planned 1916 commemoration on Easter Monday has recalled events surrounding the removal of an Irish tricolour flag almost fifty years ago, eirigi has said.

The banner promoting the commemoration has already been replaced, the party said.

In 1964, the then RUC police smashed down the doors of the Republican election offices and took possession of an Irish flag, carrying it away through a barrage of stones and empty bottles, to the prolonged jeers of crowds of locals. It is an event of great historical significance, marking for some the start of the ‘troubles’ in the North.

“While the removal of the Easter commemoration banner last week did not take place under the same circumstances, there are certainly questions to be answered,” the party said.

“The banner’s removal took place after several months of unionist protests, blockades and marches initiated by Unionist politicians in relation to the flying of the British flag at Belfast city hall. These have resulted in disruption to communities, sectarian attacks and street violence.

“In contrast, the commemoration banner had been erected in the middle of west Belfast and had not caused any adverse reaction from any quarter.

“What, then, prompted DRD staff to remove the banner even though they had been informed it would be taken down at Easter after serving its purpose?

“Who, if anyone, had made the complaints about the banner’s presence? Did a Stormont minister issue instructions for the banner’s removal?

“Whatever was the case, this week, the banner, like the tricolour in 1964, is back in place on the Falls Road.”

‘NO LILY IN DAIL’

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has clashed with Fine Gael over the wearing of the Easter Lily in the Dublin parliament.

The lily is traditionally worn around Easter to recall those who died on behalf of Ireland in the various phases of the struggle against British rule.

Cork North Central Sinn Fein TD, Jonathan O’Brien, has said that the objections raised by Fine Gael deputy Charlie Flanagan to the wearing of the Easter Lily in the Dail reflected is own “deep-rooted prejudices”.

In an outburst in the middle of Dail proceedings, the notoriously right-wing Flanagan challenged Sinn Fein TDs Brian Stanley and Michael Colreavy on the wearing of the Lily and called on the Ceann Comhairle [Speaker] to make a “ruling” on the matter.

Sinn Fein pointed out that no-one had objected to the wearing by Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan last November of the British Legion military charity’s Remembrance Poppy.

Deputy O’Brien said: “The outrageous attempt by Charlie Flanagan to prevent Sinn Fein Deputies from honouring Ireland’s patriot dead by wearing a commemorative Easter Lily reflects his own deep-rooted prejudices and his loathing of all things Republican.

“I would remind Deputy Flanagan that without the sacrifice of generations of men and women who fought British Imperialism, he would never have had the opportunity to stand here as a parliamentarian and make such ludicrous statements,” he said.

‘BRITISH AGENDA’

In Derry, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee has continued to condemn arrests which resulted in two of its leading members barred from attending Easter commemoration events.

In one of the most openly political court judgements seen in recent years, prominent republicans Gary Donnelly and Anthony Lancaster were told to stay away from the group’s events following their arrest in connection with last year’s event, at which an IRA statement was read out.

Leaflets and other publicity material were also seized by the PSNI and presented in court as “evidence”.

“The arrests were designed to criminalise the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and place bail conditions on members to restrict their ability to honour Ireland’s Patriot dead,” the group said in a statement this week.

“Political thinking is still driven by a British agenda in the occupied Six Counties,” they said.

“The same British agenda which censored the Republican voice in the 70s and 80s. This time however, the censorship is driven by the complicity of those previously affected.”

© 2013 Irish Republican News