West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Tyrone Republicans mobilize to commemorate 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising

Published: 15 April, 2015

The 3 MP's representing Tyrone, Fermanagh and South Derry with the irish Volunteer platform party at the Tyrone County commemoration in the Patrician Hall.

The 3 MP's representing Tyrone, Fermanagh and South Derry with the irish Volunteer platform party at the Tyrone County commemoration in the Patrician Hall.

Thousands of Republicans mobilized at the weekend throughout Tyrone to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Over 40 commemorative events took place throughout the county with the main commemoration took taking place in the Patrician Hall on Sunday evening. Earlier on Sunday afternoon, a ceremony took place at the Garden of Remembrance where wreaths were laid on behalf of the Republican Movement and in memory of the Hunger Strikers. On Sunday evening, hundreds of people assembled in the Patrician Hall for the commemoration which was compered by local MLA Barry Mc Elduff. The gathering received a presentation from the National 1916-2016 events co-ordinator Bartle Darcy on the party's plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Rising next year. Local Councillor Barry Mc Nally read the Easter Proclamation while the newly elected chair of the Mid Ulster Council, Linda Dillon read out the Tyrone Roll of Honour. During the evening a special presentation was made to veteran Republican Stan Corrigan in recognition of his lifetime commitment to the Republican cause, while Cathal Og Donnelly recited Pearse's oration at the grave of O Donovan Rossa in 1915. Music for the evening was provided by Alannah Campbell, Ciara Fox, Nuala Mc Bride and Colleen Conway. In the main address of the evening, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty said "We Republicans are immensely proud of our patriot dead and of their families and by gathering here in commemoration each Easter we re-affirm and re-energise this sense of pride once again. The Ester Rising was a watershed event which totally transformed the course of Irish history. "As we look to the year ahead when we will mark the 100th anniversary of the Rising, we must pay tribute to comrades who are no longer with us. This Easter, I want to remember my good friend and comrade Patsy Mc Garvey from Castlederg who passed away recently. He has left a huge void and a lasting legacy in West Tyrone any beyond and our thoughts are with Patsy's family at this time of year. Mr Doherty concluded by stressing the need to build positive alliances in the cause of Irish re-unification and emphasized the importance of being able to adapt to new challenges to advance Sinn Féin's national objectives. Coalisland On Saturday, The Coatsbridge Republican Flute band from Scotland led this years Easter parade to the Republican plot in Coalisland for the annual Easter commemoration. The proceedings were chaired by local MLA and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O Neill. In her opening remarks Minister O Neill paid tribute to the many volunteers from the local area and county who laid down their lives in the cause of Irish freedom and pledged ongoing support and solidarity to their families. Mrs O Neill also made reference to the fact that Coalisland was the main assembly point for the volunteers from Ulster for the 1916 Rising and that that it was fitting that the parade assembled at St Patrick's Hall which played a central role in the events surrounding the Easter Rising. She reminded those present that preparations were in place to roll out a programme of events throughout the county next year to mark the centenary of the Rising. The main address was delivered by the MP for the area, Francie Molloy In a very personal speech, Francie spoke about the history of the cross at the Republican plot where they were gathered and how the local IRA volunteers took great pride in looking after it, even before there was anyone buried there. He concluded by underlining the need for everyone to get involved in delivering on the republican objectives of a free and independent Ireland and made an appeal to the young people and to those that marched the streets at the time of civil rights, Hunger Strikes and at other pivotal moments in our history, to get involved and play a part. Clonoe On the 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising a large number of people gathered in Clonoe graveyard to remember Volunteers Kevin Kilpatrick, Hugh Gerard Coney, John O'Neill, Brian Campbell and Peter Clancy. Proceedings were chaired by Cathal Campbell and the main address was given by Sinn Féin Councillor Linda Dillon. Linda extended the solidarity of the Republican movement to the families of the volunteers and went on to speak about each of the men commenting on how young each of them were when they lost their lives. She spoke of the need for everyone to play a part to help complete the road to a United Ireland for which these Volunteers fought and died. She called on everyone present to share ideas and begin preparations for the centenary of the Easter Rising which takes place in 2016. Wreaths were laid on the graves of the volunteers on behalf of the Republican Movement. Brocagh On Easter Sunday a crowd gathered in Brocagh graveyard to remember Volunteers William Price, Sean Campbell and Patrick Mc Nally and to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising. During the proceedings, wreaths were laid on behalf of the Republican Movement. The event was chaired by local MLA and Executive Minister Michelle O Neill. Newly elected Councillor Rónán Mc Ginley delivered the main address. In his remarks, he extended solidarity to the families of the volunteers and pledged to them the ongoing support and solidarity of the Republican Movement. The Easter Proclamation was read by Fergal Donnelly, while former Councillor Nuala Donnelly read out the Tyrone Roll of Honour. Aughnagar A large crowd of Republicans assembled along with the Gormley family at the graveside of Tony Gormley for the annual Easter commemoration in Aughnagar. The proceedings were chaired by Tony's sister Marie Loughran while local Sinn Féin Councillor, Sean Mc Guigan read the Easter Proclamation. Tony's sister, Roisin read the Tyrone Roll of Honour while Cllr Sean Clarke delivered the main address. During his remarks, Cllr Clarke said "This Easter, Republicans are gathering the length and breadth of Ireland to remember with pride the men and women of 1916, and those from every generation who have given their lives in the struggle for Irish Freedom. We owe a great deal to those who, throughout Ireland's history, gave their lives in the freedom struggle. They remain an inspiration to us all." Galbally and Donaghmore Local people gathered at the Republican plot in Galbally graveyard for the Easter ceremony on Saturday evening. During the proceedings, a wreath was laid by local Sinn Féin Councillor, Mickey Gillespie. The Easter commemoration in Donaghmore this year was chaired by veteran Republican, Seamus Grimes, while Paul Kelly read out the Tyrone Roll of Honour. Councillor Joe O Neill delivered the main oration during which he called on people to mobilize in large numbers to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising which takes place next year. He remarked that the aspirations of the Easter Proclamation had yet to be fulfilled and there was an onus on each of us to play a part in helping to achieve these noble objectives. Altmore The 2015 Easter commemoration at Altmore was held at the graveside of Vol Eugene Kelly and Vol John Quinn. Eugene was 1 of the 8 volunteers killed in an SAS ambush at Loughgall in May 1987, while John was murdered in 1991 by a pro-British death squad. The commemoration was chaired by East Tyrone Republican, Paul Kelly and the Easter Proclamation was read by Fergal Donnelly. Nuala Donnelly read out the Tyrone Roll of Honour. The main address was delivered by Cllr Cathal Mallaghan. During his speech Cathal referred to the fact that the Easter Rising was the coming together of the various Nationalist, political sporting and cultural strands of Irish life. He reflected on the lives of the two volunteers and the fact that they were courageous freedom fighters and popular men within the local community and were loving sons and brothers. Edendork On a bitterly cold Good Friday evening a wreath laying ceremony took place at the Republican plot in Edendork to remember Volunteers Sean Loughran, Kevin Murray, Patrick Carty, Patrick Quinn, Patrick McDonald, Patrick Kelly and Patrick Vincent. Proceedings were chaired by Sinn Féin Councillor Dominic Molloy and began with the reading of the Proclamation by Larry Mc Larnon. The Tyrone Roll of Honour was read by Brian Murtagh. Wreaths were then laid on behalf of the Republican Movement and Dungannon Martyrs Sinn Féin Cumann followed by the observance of a minutes silence. Veteran Tyrone Republican, Teddy Devlin led the recitation of the Rosary. The chair closed proceedings by thanking those who had kindly taken the time to come and remember the sacrifice of those laid to rest at Edendork. Those present then paid their respects at the resting spots of volunteers buried at family plots throughout the cemetery. Moy On Easter Saturday evening Republicans gathered at the Republican plot in Moy where Volunteers Eugene Martin and brothers Seán and Pádraig Mc Kearney are interred. Local Sinn Féin Councillor Dominic Molloy chaired the graveside commemoration and welcomed everyone to mark the 99th Anniversary of the Easter Rising. Proceedings got underway with reading of the 1916 Proclamation by Ruairi Gildernew, Brian Murtagh read the Tyrone Roll of Honour which was followed by the lowering of the National Flag during a lament beautifully played by a local piper. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Tyrone Brigade Oglaigh na hÉireann and the local Sinn Féin Cumann. In closing remarks, the chair extended sympathy and solidarity with the families of fallen volunteers and thanked those in attendance. He said that leading into the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, Sinn Féin locally and nationally will be planning a major series of events and it is hoped to have major event in the area and called on everyone to become involved in helping to shape those events to ensure a fitting remembrance. The event was brought to a close with the piper leading Amhrán na bhFiann Republicans remember Vol Dan Mc Anallen and Vol. Gerard O Callaghan Republicans assembled on Easter Sunday morning at the graveside of Vol Dan Mc Anallen to mark the 99th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The proceedings were chaired by Gael Gildernew. In her opening remarks Gael paid tribute to Dan Mc Anallen and the volunteers from Tyrone who lost their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom. She reflected on a recent conversation with a former comrade of Dan's who spoke of his cool headedness, quick thinking and leadership qualities. She called for everyone to play a part in the struggle and begin preparations at local level for the centenary of the Easter Rising next year. During the ceremony, 7 local children and young people each read a section of the Easter Proclamation. The 7 were chosen to represent the 7 signatories of the Proclamation and to illustrate the relevance of the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation to today's society. At Tullysaran, Republicans assembled at the graveside of Vol. Gerard O Callaghan who was killed in action at Loughgall on 8th May 1987. The proceedings were chaired by John Paul White, while Sean Corrigan read the Easter Proclamation. Gerard White called out the Roll of Honour. The main address was given by local MLA Cathal Boylan. In his remarks, Mr Boylan reflected on the courage and sacrifice of Gerard and his comrades who lost their lives in the cause of Irish freedom. He stressed the importance of mobilizing for next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Rising and reminded those present that next year also marks the 35th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike. Mr Boylan stated that both the Rising and Hunger Strike were watershed moments in Irish History and their impact resonates until the present day. He concluded by pledging the ongoing solidarity of the Republican Movement to the families of those who have given their lives in the cause of Irish freedom. Pomeroy A large number of Republicans attended the annual Easter commemoration at the graveside of Vol. Seamus Woods in Pomeroy on Easter Sunday. The proceedings were chaired by local Republican, Dessie Grimes and the crowd included many of Seamus's family, friends and neighbours. Following the reading out of the Easter Proclamation and Roll of Honour, the main address was given by Mid Ulster MP, Francie Molloy. During his address, Francie reflected on the courage and sacrifice of Seamus Woods and all of the Volunteers who gave their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom and compared their actions to the volunteers who set out in 1916 to strike a blow for Irish freedom. He reminded the crowd that when the brutal and oppressive role of the British government in Ireland is consigned to the dustbin of history, volunteers like Seamus Woods will be forever remembered for their part in the struggle for Irish freedom, particularly in Tyrone. The proceedings concluded with the playing of Amhran Na bhfiann by a young member of the Joseph Mary Plunkett Accordian Band. Strathroy The annual wreath laying ceremony at Strathroy Republican Monument was well attended by local Republicans. The monument was erected in 2005 to remember 'The Three Volunteers', Seán Loughran, Patrick Carty and Dermot Crowley who died nearby on active service on the Gortin Road, Omagh on 25th June 1973. The ceremony was chaired by Councillor Marty Mc Colgan, while Kevin Mc Colgan read the Easter Proclamation. Omagh Sinn Féin activist, Stevie Mc Gahan read the Tyrone Roll of Honour. A wreath was laid on behalf of Sinn Féin and the proceeding were brought to a close by Barry Mc Colgan who played Amhrán na bhFhiann on the tin whistle. Easter commemoration in Killyclogher Approximately 60 people attended the Easter Commemoration at the graveside of veteran Republican, Charlie Ferris in Killyclogher graveyard on Saturday evening. Local Councillor, Anne Marie Fitzgerald led the proceedings. During her address, Anne Marie reflected on Charlie's lifelong participation in the struggle from first volunteering in 1936 and remaining faithful until his death in 2005. Catherine Kelly read the Easter Proclamation, while Ruaidhrí Lyttle called out the Tyrone Roll of Honour. Charlie's daughter, Nancy recited a decade of the Rosary while Peter Mc Glone laid a wreath on behalf of the Murray/Mc Aleer Sinn Féin Cumann. Republicans remember Alice Milligan On Saturday, Republicans assembled at the graveside of poet, playwright and Republican, Alice Milligan. Local Councillor and stalwart of the Milligan/Harte Sinn Féin Cumann, Sean Donnelly, chaired the commemoration. The Milligan/Harte Cumann is named jointly in memory of Alice Milligan and brothers Gerard and Martin Harte who were killed in action with Vol. Brian Mullin in August 1988. The main speaker for the evening was Omagh Councillor Sorcha Mc Anespy. During her address, Cllr Mc Anespy reflected on the life of Alice Milligan, who was born into the Unionist tradition but became a strong advocate for Irish Republicanism and poignantly recited one of the poems penned by Ms Milligan. During the commemoration, Declan Mc Aleer MLA read aloud the Easter Proclamation, while Seamus Gates laid a wreath on behalf of the Milligan/Harte Cumann. The Tyrone Roll of Honour was read by Niamh Darcy, proudly assisted by her grandfather Dominic. Loughmacrory Republicans mobilised in large numbers for the annual commemoration at the graveside of Brothers Gerard and Martin Harte. Gerard and Martin were shot on active service with their comrade Brian Mullin on Tuesday 30thAugust 1988. The proceedings were chaired by local Councillor Anne Marie Fitzgerald. During the commemoration, wreaths were laid by members of the Harte family and on behalf of the Republican Movement. The main address was given by Mid Ulster Councillor Cáthal Mallaghan. During his speech, Cllr Mallaghan spoke of the courage and dedication of the 2 volunteers and expressed ongoing solidarity with the Harte and Mullin families. Cllr Mallaghan reflected on the fact that as well as being dedicated Republicans, Gerard and Martin were also dedicated family and community men and he paid tribute to the local Cumann who work in close partnership with the Loughmacrory community to advance local projects that have helped to improve the sporting and social infrastructure of the area. The Easter Proclamation was read by Ciaran Meenagh, while Sean Pól Harte called out the Tyrone Roll of Honour. The graveside proceedings were brought to a conclusion with a powerful vocal rendition of Amhran Na bhfiann sung by Eimear Nic Giolla Dhuibh. 1920's Volunteers remembered at Greencastle and Cranagh West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer was the main speaker at the gravesides of Lieutenant Patrick Morris in Greencastle and Volunteer James Mc Nally in Cranagh on Easter Sunday morning. Both volunteers were killed while on active service in 1921. During the course of his speech, Mr Mc Aleer said "Young men like Patrick and James had choices to make. They could have decided to accept British rule in their country, they could have decided to get on the emigration ship like thousands of their generation but they decided to take up the fight against the British occupation of their country. We are proud that they made the decision to resist British occupation and in doing so have have inspired future generations". The Greencastle commemoration was led by the chair of the local Drumm/O Hagan SF Cumann Mairead Brogan, while in Cranagh the chair of Strabane SF Comhairle Ceantair chaired the proceedings. In Cranagh, Cllr Dan Kelly recited the Easter Proclamation. Easter commemorations held in Dromore and Trillick On Easter Sunday Republicans from the Dromore area gathered at the graveside of Vol. Cathal Quinn to mark the 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Welcoming the large crowd at the graveside of Volunteer Cathal Quinn, the chair of the local SF Cumann said, "The men and woman of 1916 made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for Irish Freedom and it is with pride the we remember them today, along with all of Ireland's Patriot Dead, here in Dromore Graveyard on Easter Sunday. We are immensely proud of all the men and woman who committed their lives to the struggle for Irish Freedom, with many paying the ultimate sacrifice." Wreathes were laid on the grave of Vol. Cathal Quinn by his nephew Daniel Logue while Colette Mc Nulty recited a decade of the rosary in Irish. The large crowd of local republicans then proceeded to the graveside of Vol. Seamus Donnelly in Dromore Old Graveyard, where a wreath was laid on his grave by his nephew, James. The ceremony followed by a decade of the rosary in Irish, recited by Colette Mc Nulty. In Trillick, the commemoration was chaired by Ereine Mc Grade, chair of the local Cumann. During the proceedings, Francis Mc Cann laid a wreath on the grave of his uncle, Kevin "the Tailor" Mc Cann while Cllr Stephen Mc Cann recited the rosary in Irish. At the graveside of murdered Trillick Councillor, Patsy Kelly a wreath was laid by his grandson Aaron, while Aiden Mc Cann laid a wreath on his fathers grave Artie. A special welcome was extended to former Councillor Petey Kelly who attended both ceremonies in Trillick. Petey said it was important for him to attend his local commemoration and remember all of those who struggled and gave their lives for Irish re unification. He was heartened by the large turnout at the commemorations, especially the number of young people present. Drumragh The Easter commemoration in Drumragh honours local Republicans Colm Grimes, Kevin Kearns, Benny Livingstone, Lawrence and Mary O' Hagan, Jimmy Hynes, Liam Coyle and all other Republicans from the area. The main address was given by Sinn Féin MLA Barry Mc Elduff. The proceedings were chaired by Kevin Mc Colgan, while Stevie Mc Gahan read the Tyrone Roll of Honour and Beth Mc Colgan read the Easter Proclamation. Niamh Darcy recited a decade of the Rosary. In his main address, Barry Mc Elduff said 'The leaders of the 1916 Rising had a vision of a united and independent Ireland, and this is clearly outlined in the Proclamation of 1916. As we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising next year we must continue to pursue the objectives of national independence and equality, our task is to communicate our vision to every section of the Irish people'. Rosie Darcy brought the commemoration to a close with the playing of Amhran Na bhfiann on the tin whistle. Frank Wards grave, Carrickmore The Commemoration at the Graveside of Frank Ward was led by the current chair of the Frank Ward/Joe Mc Garrity Cumann, Peadar Mc Nally. Wreaths were laid for all Republicans buried in the graveyard and on the grave of local Republican Margaret Mc Elduff . Among the wreath bearers were local SF members Connor Grimes and Seamus Russell, while Brenda Mc Elduff the grand daughter of Margaret also laid a wreath. Omagh Sinn Féin council group leader Marty Mc Colgan delivered the main address. In the course of his remarks Marty said: 'We owe a great deal to the men and women of 1916 and those who followed their footsteps. Their selfless dedication and courage is an inspiration to us all. We must ensure that their efforts were not in vain by delivering the United Ireland that they fought and died to achieve. 'Frank Ward, whose grave we gather at today, died on April 6 1922 took part in many ambushes and raids including two raids on RUC barracks in Pomeroy and Mountfield in the 1920's. At the time of his death, an IRA Unit was dismantling a bridge in the Dunamore area in order to restrict the movements of British Forces in the area. After being stumbled upon by a patrol of B specials a gun battle broke out. 'Many others from this area played their part in struggle for Irish Freedom in the years since and we are immensely proud of our patriot dead and of their families and by gathering here today we re-affirm and re-enforce that sense of pride. 'Although the Irish Republic proclaimed at the GPO in Dublin has not yet been achieved, the process of attaining it is ongoing. We still have a lot of work to do. It is only when we achieve our primary objective of Irish reunification that we will have built a lasting monument to all of Ireland's Patriot Dead'. Derg & Aghyaran remembers Republican dead A strong crowd of Republicans from the Aghyaran and Castlederg area assembled at the graveside of Volunteer Seamus Harvey alongside members of the Harvey family on Easter Sunday for the annual commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Councillor Karina Carlin gave the main oration on the day and paid a fitting tribute to all those locally who have given their lives in the cause for Irish freedom and also to the late Patsy Mc Garvey from Castlederg who passed away this year and was an integral part of the Sinn Féin team in the area. On Easter Saturday evening Sinn Féin also held a wreath laying ceremony at the Republican monument in Hillview Park. The ceremony was chaired by local Councillor Ruairi Mc Hugh, who in his opening remarks said "We are immensely proud of our patriot dead and of their families and by gathering together in commemoration each Easter we re-affirm and re-enforce this sense of pride once again. Whether in the volunteer ranks of Óglaigh na h'Éireann or as a Sinn Féin activist-they all lived and died striving to realise the ideals and principles enshrined in the Proclamation of 1916. "This year marks the 99th Anniversary of the Rising. The Rising witnessed a coming together of nationalists, republicans, Irish language activists, trade unionists and the women's movement in the cause of an independent Irish republic. This is a template for republicans of today as we seek to build alliances in the cause of a united Ireland based on equality and social justice." Chairing the Aghyaran commemoration, local republican Grace Mc Dermott said, "In the year ahead, Sinn Féin has planned a major programme of National events to commemorate the landmark 100th Anniversary of the Rising. Events which, unlike the sanitized and insulting effort being brought forward by the Dublin government, will truly reflect what the revolutionaries of Easter week were about and reflect the true vision of the 'Republic' they set out to achieve. I would call on upon everyone to get involved and take part in as many of these planned national events as possible and also in local commemorative events that are also now in the planning stage for next year." Castlederg and Aghyaran Sinn Féin would like to thank the local community for their continued support and for attending the local commemoration and donating so generously to the Easter Lily collection. Strabane Over 100 Republicans, joined by the families of deceased Volunteers and the Strabane Memorial Flute band attended this year's Easter commemoration at Strabane cemetery. The chair of Strabane National Graves Association, Jay Mc Cauley led the proceedings, while Eunan Harkin read the Easter Proclamation and Bronagh Mc Cay called out the Roll of Honour. The main address was delivered by local MLA Michaela Boyle. In her comments, Michaela said "We are extremely proud to stand here today at the graves of our patriot dead shoulder-to-shoulder with members of their families. "Whilst we are immensely proud of the sacrifices of our comrades, we are forever conscious that families have lost loved ones that they cherish dearly. That is why we feel it is important to be here as a source of support for you, not just at Easter but at all other times of the year. "During the year, we lost one of our closest comrades in West Tyrone, Patsy Mc Garvey. Patsy was a father figure in the struggle and his passing has left a long shadow in West Tyrone and throughout the country where is fondly remembered. Our sympathy goes out today to Paul, Patricia and the wider Mc Garvey family. "A chairde, we still have a long road to travel until the ideals of the Ester Proclamation are fulfilled. I am calling on everyone to join with us on that journey to help bring us closer to that certain day when Ireland will be free and all of the children of the nation will be cherished equally". Local ceremonies also took place over the weekend in Broughderg, Dunamore, Rock, Tattyreagh, Dunmoyle, Aughnacloy, Ardboe, Ballinderry, Cookstown, Eskra, Fintona, Moortown, Trillick and Seskinore.