Republican News · Thursday 4 September 1997

[An Phoblacht]

Historic nationalists rally in Lurgan

by Michael McCracken

Nationalists achieved a historic first last Sunday 31 August when hundreds of people, young and old, defied the miserable weather and years of RUC and unionist bigotry to march into Lurgan town centre for the first time ever.

The theme of the march was `Peace, Justice and Equality', and featured music and craic, as a carnival atmosphere attracted a broad range of people.

This significant victory was achieved despite a hostile RUC presence, a bomb hoax and a loyalist band who tried to ruin the day for the families. Hundreds of people swamped the streets along the route, despite soaking weather, led off by Lurgan Martyrs Republican Flute Band.

The rally was addressed by veteran Republican Martin Meehan, who said equality and justice had been achieved by the march.

Derry Sinn Féin councillor Mary Nelis and Damien Duffy, brother of Colin Duffy, also addressed the crowd, who heard Duffy call for the immediate release of his brother, being held on remand for the murder of two RUC men in Lurgan in June.

Lurgan Sinn Fein representative Bernadette O'Hagan emphasised the significance of the march. ``We seek no more or less than what has been afforded to others living in Lurgan. For too long nationalists have bee coerced into a second class role in this statelet. Fundamental changes on equality and justice are required throughout the Six Counties if peace is to be really secured.''

In a statement Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness described the importance of the march and rally to Lurgan nationalists, ``seeking entry to their own town centre as a democratic right which had been denied by the British Government.''

Contents Page for this Issue
Reply to: Republican News