Thousands attend parade in Derrylin

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Thousands of Republicans took part in the national hunger strike commemoration parade in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh on Sunday, August 3.

27 bands along with their supporters paraded down the main street of the small village located on the border of Ballyconnel, Co Cavan to attend the rally.

The event commemorated the 10 men who died in the 1981 Republican Hunger Strikes at the Maze prison in Co Antrim: Raymond McCreesh, Kevin Lynch, Bobby Sands MEP, Patsy O’Hara and Tom McIlwee, Kieran Doherty TD; Michael Devine; Martin Hurson; Frances Hughes and Joe McDonnell who ran in the General Election in Sligo Leitrim that year. It also commemorated the 100 anniversary of Cumann na Mban.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and a host of Sinn Fein politicians including Leitrim TD Michael Colreavy and local councillors attended the commemoration which had guest speaker Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Ahmad Abdelrazer.

Fermanagh Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew gave the keynote speech.

Mrs Gildernew said the event which included countless numbers of Palestinian flags sent a message - “Let us send a very clear message today from this march and rally that the vast majority of the Irish people reject the aggression of Israel and support the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and justice and national rights.”

Palestinian ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek told the crowd that he was there to express his “solidarity with the families of the fallen in the hunger strikes”.

Mr. Abdelrazek said that without the sacrifice of hunger strikers “you would not be free and living in peace today”.

There was much condemnation of the rally from the Unionists and families of the victims of the IRA in the north, but there were no protests on the day.

Last week the Parade Commission banned any IRA clothes, flags, banners and symbols to be displayed.

A large crowd is also expected at the annual John Joe McGirl Commemoration Parade in Ballinamore on Saturday, August 16.

Republicans will parade through the town and MEP Matt Carthy will address the crowd.


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