MCGUINNESS – UNIONISM MUST ‘SHOW POSITIVE LEADERSHIP’

25 April 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Several hundred republicans from across Co. Monaghan attended the annual Easter Rising Commemoration in Monaghan town on Easter Sunday when the Six Counties Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, who was in attendance, challenged Unionist leaders, including his co-First Minister, Peter Robinson, to show real leadership and to re-engage in talks designed to finally resolve the vexed issues of flags and emblems and the remaining small number of contentious parades.

Minister McGuinness, who recently joined the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, at events organised in Britain to mark the first State visit of an Irish President to the neighbouring island, was warmly applauded following his address at Latlurcan Cemetery.

Easter Parade
This year’s parade route was shorter than in previous years with assembly at the Convent Lake View Car Park at the junction of Park Street and Broad Road.

A colour party, including seven flag bearers, led the parade along Park Street, Market Street, Church Square, The Diamond, Dublin Street and Old Cross Square and on to the cemeteries at Latlurcan.

Pipers from Mid-Monaghan were new participants this year and were warmly greeted by marchers and the many onlookers gathered along the parade route.

A flute band from Strabane in neighbouring Co. Tyrone also attended and were equally well received.

A number of banners were carried by marchers, including one bearing a portrait of James Connolly, who was himself of Co. Monaghan parentage.
Gardaí and stewards co-operated in the safe marshalling of the parade which was up in numbers from recent years.

Platform Ceremony
The Commemoration proper was chaired by Monaghan County Council Sinn Féin leader Cllr. Brian McKenna.

Cllr. McKenna was joined on the platform by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Cavan/Monaghan Dáil Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, as well as Monaghan County Mayor Cllr. Seán Conlon and Councillors Pat Treanor, Cathy Bennett, Jackie Crowe and Noel Keelan and North Monaghan election candidate Siobhán Cheung.

Ms. Cheung read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.

Cllr. Cathy Bennett read the Co. Monaghan Republican Roll of Honour that was followed by the laying of wreaths on the graves of republican dead in all three adjoining cemeteries. A minute’s silence was observed when a drum roll was sounded and the flags were lowered as a mark of respect.

Increased Turn-Out
In his opening remarks Cllr. Brian McKenna complimented the increased turn-out, recording special appreciation to the bands who participated, with particular thanks to the Pipers of Mid-Monaghan. He said:
“It is great to see a good turnout for this, the 98th anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising of 1916. We are but two years away from the Centenary Event in 2016.

“It is our hope that, irrespective of what divides us today, people of all political viewpoints will join us in 2015 and 2016 to pay tribute to our heroes of a shared past and to those who have sacrificed their all in the cause of Irish freedom.

“We are here today to salute the memory of those men and women whose names appear on the Republican Roll of Honour of every county across this island.
“I am especially thankful, on behalf of all gathered here today, to our marching bands, the Pipers from Mid-Monaghan and The Strabane Flute Band from neighbouring Co. Tyrone. We hope that both bands will be able to join us in the coming year’s events to help ensure the widest possible participation in this …

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