West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Easter lily launched in Omagh Council Offices

Published: 8 March, 2016

Sinn Féin Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District council, Councillor Thomas O'Reilly, hosted the launch of the Easter lily Campaign in the council office in Omagh on Tuesday.

Flanked by two females in 1916 period custom of Cumann na mBan and Irish Citizens Army the first citizen chaired proceedings, which commenced with a reading of the 1916 Proclamation by Catherine Kelly. West Tyrone councillor Stephen McCann then recited the poem 'The Mother' by Padraig Pearse.

Speaking at the launch the chairman Thomas O'Reilly said:

"Easter is a special time for Irish Republicans. This year, however, has a special significance given that it is the centenary year of the 1916 Easter Rising. Undoubtedly the Easter Rising was the most significant event in Ireland for many generations. It showed that against all the odds, a small, but determined, group of individuals could irreversibly change the course of History.

"The Easter lily, which we launch here today, is the symbol used to remember Irelands patriot dead, however it doesn't enjoy the parity it should have with other emblems and symbols across the north. We feel that this is an issue which should be challenged directly with the Equality Commission who doesn't afford it equal status. Down through the years people have been arrested for promoting and selling the lily, we should now be in position to legitimise the lily as a symbol of remembrance, as is enjoyed by other symbols, such as the poppy.

"At this time of year we reflect on the selfless sacrifices of all those who have died in the struggle for Irish Freedom from previous generations and those who have died in the most recent phase of conflict in the north of Ireland. Of course for Irish Republicans 1916 is very much unfinished business, and while we progress now with a political process we remained determined and focussed to establish Irish Freedom and independence in our time.

Also at the launch was Chairman of the Tyrone Commemoration Committee John O'Brien who urged people to support the Tyrone Easter Centenary Commemoration in Carrickmore on Easter Sunday:

"I would urge Irish Republicans in Tyrone to mobilise in their numbers for the Easter Sunday parade and commemoration in Carrickmore on Sunday 27th March. We are asking people to assemble in the Main Street prior to the start of the Parade at 3:30pm. We will have people dressed in historical costume, pageantry and marching bands. Gerry Kelly has been confirmed as the Main Speaker. Throughout the weekend there will be numerous graveside commemorations and we would be grateful if people could also support these also. I would call upon people to wear an Easter lily and support the main county commemoration in Carrickmore.