Newry solidarity with Garvaghy Road
Last Saturday, 8 July, Newry republicans organised an hour-long vigil in the town's Hill Street to highlight the ongoing siege of the nationalist community of Portadown's Garvaghy Road.
Local activists and supporters were joined by a contingent from London's Connolly Association, in Newry to lay a wreath at the grave of Irish patriot John Mitchel in the local burial ground of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church. Mitchel was a Unitarian who was exiled following his involvement in the Young Irelanders' rebellion of 1848.
The vigil attracted huge local interest on Newry's busy market day and served to remind people that despite the Parades Commission's ruling that Orangemen will not walk down the Garvaghy Road, the residents living there are still under 24-hour siege.
Councillor Davy Hyland thanked those who attended. ``We must not forget that the siege of the Garvaghy Road has been in place for over three years,'' he said. ``Constant vigilance and alertness has been required at all times to repel the threat of invasion and intimidation. The message received at this vigil in Newry today is loud and clear. Nationalists from throughout this district are concerned and angry that fellow nationalists are still being denied equality and freedom from sectarian intimidation and harassment. We call upon the British government to end this nightmare once and for all.''
For his part, Jim Redmond, general secretary of the Connolly Association, paid tribute to Reverend Norman Hutton, minister of the Newry Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church, for meeting with the group and showing them around his church. Redmond paid tribute to ``the democratic and radical Presbyterian tradition that has contributed strongly to the development of Irish republicanism. The Connolly Association's visit, by focusing on the life and times of John Mitchel and the contribution that this Unitarian made to Ireland's struggle for freedom, will assist in the development of constructive cross-community contacts.''