Easter commemorations scaled back

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A number of organisations have said that commemorations and wreath-laying ceremonies in honour of the 1916 Rising must again be restricted due the Covid-19 situation.

Sinn Féin is among the organisations who have moved local commemorative events online. Party leader Mary Lou McDonald has also marked the 105th anniversary of the Rising with an online conversation with James Connolly Heron, relative of 1916 martyr James Connolly, who has renewed his efforts to safeguard the legacy of the Rising.

However, plans for a public Easter Monday commemoration in Derry have been scaled back.

The Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee last week announced plans for a commemoration at the city cemetery. In a statement issued this week organisers announced that events would be sharply reduced.

It is understood numbers at Easter Monday’s commemoration will be kept to a minimum and there will be no march. Those attending have been asked to observe social distancing and to wear face coverings.

A spokesman for the organisers said: “The Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee having entered comradely talks with Saoradh have decided to alter our planned Easter Monday commemoration to a dignified wreath-laying ceremony.

“It is clear that there are those who are endeavouring to turn the worldwide pandemic into a political stick to deflect the attention and scrutiny that is at present focused on British Crown Forces after their attack on the Creggan community on the 18th of March.

“We as Republicans cannot allow this to happen. Our wreath laying ceremony will be fitting and dignified. We look forward to the day when once again we all can come together to hold a full commemoration,” the spokesman said.

Republican Sinn Féin has also announced that it is taking its commemorative events over the Easter weekend.

“Last year our members and supporters, acting in small groups or individually, ensured that wreaths were laid on monuments throughout Ireland,” they said. “The same can be done this year.”

“While we will be holding no large commemorations this year, members and supporters acting in small groups or individually will be laying wreaths at monuments throughout Ireland as well as England and Scotland. The safety of our members and supporters is first and foremost and hopefully next year we will be back to normality,” they said.

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