IRPWA Easter Events 2015
Over the Easter period, IRPWA activists were to the fore in organising various activities and events throughout Ireland to ensure that the Republican position and analysis was delivered to the public and that the issues affecting the Republican Political Prisoners of today was heard at these events.
In the lead up to Easter weekend, IRPWA activists erected several murals in preparation for Easter events. IRPWA activists also attended Easter commemorations and other events throughout Ireland. Here are some of the events that took place:
On Friday, Belfast IRPWA held a successful picket and distributed information in the Dunville Park area of the Falls Road in order to highlight the on going abuse of Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry. This picket was part of the IRPWA Belfast’s endeavours to increase public awareness and support by bringing the Prison Struggle to the heart of Republican Communities.
In addition, on behalf of the IRPWA, a number of Scottish activists undertook a sponsored cycle from Glasgow to Belfast, arriving at Friday’s picket at approx 3pm. They were given a very warm welcome by those present on the day. Commenting on today’s event a spokesperson for the IRPWA in Belfast said:
“It is important at Easter time, when we annually re-commit ourselves to the Republican Struggle; that the issue of Republican Prisoners, their families, and the hardships they endure are highlighted. We also take this opportunity to salute the efforts of our comrades from Scotland in joining with us in that Struggle.”
On Saturday, Dublin IRPWA activists organised a tour of Dublin’s South Inner City’s involvement in the 1916 Easter Rising. Those in attendance expressed their appreciation to the organisers for their excellent presentation and delivery. According to one commentary:
“I went on this walking tour yesterday (Saturday) and I really enjoyed the experience. I never realised there was so much Republican history on my doorstep. Great to see the IRPWA involved in this and it was obvious that a great deal of work went into the preparation for it to run so smoothly. It was very interesting to see the links between then and now and how the treatment of Republican Prisoners can change peoples’ mindsets.
“Just like to say a huge thanks to IRPWA, as a Liberties lad I found the 1916 walk enthralling and I am not proud to say I was in ignorance of the sites visited as would have passed them thousands of times… “No ammunition, no food, had fought for three days…held off 400 enemy soldiers but still fought by throwing back the grenades lobbed at them by the enemy” … that thought will stay with me ‘til my last day. 1916: Unfinished business!”
That evening a function was held in the Pimlico Tavern in aid of Republican Prisoners and their families with entertainment provided by Erin Go Bragh. Some great crafts made by the prisoners were on display and subsequently raffled on the night.
On Easter Sunday, Lurgan IRPWA along with local Republicans activists were to the fore in the organisation of the local Easter Commemoration; ensuring that there was a proper and fitting tribute paid to those who had given their lives for the 32 County Socialist Republic as envisaged by them and those of previous generations. A wreath was laid on behalf of the IRPWA and IRPWA spokesperson and activist Mandy Duffy chaired proceedings while Belfast IRPWA activist Dee Fennell gave the main oration.
Speaking after the event Mandy Duffy commented:
“What a fantastic turnout today for our Easter Commemoration in Lurgan. The whole Commemoration came together beautifully and it is a credit to all those who worked so hard making sure it was going to be a success. Thank you to the bands, you were fantastic, thanks to all those who participated in the commemoration but a special thanks to our guest speaker Dee Fennell you were outstanding Dee and your speech was powerful. Thank you also to all those who attended our Easter Commemoration you made it the success it was. It has been said in Lurgan recently that there was going to be two parades this year and the “Main” parade was after ours well I can safely say after that turnout today ours was the “Main” parade in Lurgan this year.”
Also speaking from the platform was Stevie Mellon, a father of current Republican Political Prisoner Thomas Mellon. Stevie read out an Easter statement on behalf of the prisoners in Maghaberry. In the statement, Republican Political Prisoners said:
“At a time when Stormont claims to be in crisis over how best to rob the poor, in Maghaberry Prison there is an endless budget to create confrontation.”
The Prisoners’ statement went on to speak of the increase in an isolation policy within Maghaberry and that there was an “offensive” being waged against Republican Political Prisoners.
Tyrone IRPWA activists and supporters attended the many Easter Commemorations throughout the county over the Easter period. One of the largest was the Carrickmore commemoration, where an estimated 2,000 republicans were in attendance.