Irish Republican News · December 15, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
‘Day of Reflection’ may become annual event

Sinn Féin mayors and council chairs held ceremonies to commemorate the dead of all wars last weekend.

The ‘Day of Reflection’ events were held in Omagh, Strabane, Fermanagh, Magherafelt and Derry to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

Derry Mayor Gearoid O hEara unveiled a plaque in a ceremony in the city while the chairs of Omagh and Strabane councils, Sean Clarke and Jarleth McNulty, took part and planted trees in their respective areas.

The chairs of Magherafelt and Fermanagh Councils, Patsy Groogan and Gerry McHugh also hosted civic ceremonies.

Mr McLaughlin said the initiative from Derry Mayor Gearoid O hEara was an extension of the work done by Sinn Féin’s former Mayor of Belfast, Alex Maskey, two years ago when ge held his own remembrance events and visited the site of the WWI Battle of the Somme on behalf of the city.

The Foyle MLA said: “Sinn Féin mayors and chairs throughout the six counties (Northern Ireland) have worked hard to build an initiative that reflects our commitment to providing civic leadership for the people we represent.

“The initiatives are not uniform across any of these council areas but are guided and shaped by the engagement that each has had with the people they represent as first citizens.

“It is built upon engagement with many representatives and organisations representing many of those who have suffered as a result of wars and conflict.

“I want to stress A Day of Reflection is not in any way intended as a replacement of existing commemorative events.

“Instead it is about something entirely new. It is in recognition of the need to validate and recognise the experiences of all equally, and together.”

Unionists have accused Sinn Féin of devising the day of reflection as an alternative to the British Army’s Poppy Day events.

Mr O hEara has called for yesterday’s ceremonies to be made an annual event.

The Mayor of Derry was speaking after around 300 people attended the Guildhall Square ceremony, where he unveiled a plaque on the city walls following a 30-minute ceremony.

“I thought it went very well. It is one small step and hopefully in years to come other mayors will build on this initiative and it will become an annual event.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News