Republicans across Ireland marked the calendar anniversary of the Easter Rising on Friday.
Sean Cahill, who is involved with the 2016 Commemoration Committee, said the events had been organised to raise awareness of the 1916 Rising which took place 99 years ago on Friday
“A lot of people take it that the Easter Rising happened on Easter Sunday and commemorate it on Easter Sunday,” he said.
“With next year being the 100th anniversary we are saying by all means commemorate Easter Sunday but on the 24th republicans should come together in Belfast for one mass commemoration.
“It’s an attempt to get it into people’s heads that the rising happened on April 24.”
Events have been organised across Belfast to draw attention to what has become known as ‘Republic Day’.
Mr Cahill. who is an ex-republican prisoner and nephew of former IRA leader Joe Cahill, said the 2016 Commemoration Committee was made up of individuals who represent a “cross section of people from different organisations”.
Wreaths were laid at the graves of people in Milltown Cemetery connected to the rising.
The proclamation was also be read out at different locations across the city while copies of the historic document was also posted in various places. A ‘Republic Day’ flag also went on display outside Milltown Cemetery.
Organisers also took part in an independent republican commemoration at Milltown Cemetery at which veteran republican Billy McKee was among the speakers.
Events organised by the 1916 Socieities also took place in Drumree, County Meath, and in Coalisland, County Tyrone. The day was also marked by 1916 Societies with a ‘twitterstorm’ on social networks to raise awareness of the anniversary.
‘DISTORTING THE PAST’
At a Fianna Fail event in Dublin, however, there was controversy when the leader of the 26-County party, Micheal Martin, declared Sinn Fein Fein had attempted to ‘falsify’ history by claiming a link with the 1916 Rising.
In an attack on Gerry Adams’ party, Mr Martin said the present day Sinn Fein has “no historical continuity with 1916 or the War of Independence”.
Mr Martin told the 1916 commemoration at Arbour Hill that Sinn Fein has never accepted that the actions of the Provisional IRA were “always wrong” and that it was not supported by the people of Ireland.
Mr Adams dismissed Mr Martin’s remarks as an “hysterical rant”.
“Micheal Martin’s claim that Sinn Fein is not fit for democratic government is a matter which the electorate will decide,” he said. “His remarks are a clear sign of desperation at the growth of Sinn Fein and the stagnation of his own party.”
Mr Adams said Mr Martin was a key figure in the Fianna Fail government which “destroyed” the economy.
“Micheal Martin is clearly facing huge internal and external pressures over his leadership and the failure of Fianna Fail to make any headway with the public in recent years,” he said.