Dublin 1916 Societies held a hugely successful rally on Easter Saturday. Joined by several hundred supporters, they marched from the iconic GPO along the quays of the River Liffey to Arbour Hill, burial place of fourteen of the sixteen Rising leaders. Such was the length of the march the AA website reported major traffic delays along the city-centre quays.
Led by a lone piper, the march took off from the GPO – to huge cheers of approval from onwatching bystanders – followed by a colour party and a group of people holding portraits of the sixteen executed leaders. The scene was set for a great day, with the ever-excellent John Brady Memorial Flute Band from Strabane belting out some roaring tunes to get everyone in the mood.
A key theme of the march was the notion of ‘reclaiming’ the spirit of 1916, with speakers from four organisations who had done just that in the fight against injustice over the past few years. Making mention of the reality of continued partition, set aside the Proclamation’s promise to see a nation whereby all the children of the nation were treated equally, the idea of unfinished business in Ireland was a recurring theme.
Independent Workers Union representative Tommy McKearney attacked revisionists who sought to put 1916 on a pedestal alongside World War I and asked the question, to those who say the men and women of 1916 had no mandate, where was Britain’s mandate to rule Ireland in the first place?
Between the various speeches, Maire Ui Mhaolain gave a beautiful ‘Seandos’ rendition of the Foggy Dew, with wreaths laid for those who gave their lives in 1916. Following on, a minutes silence was held for all who gave their lives for the cause of Irish Freedom. Proceedings ended with the playing of our national anthem, Amhrann na bhFiann.
Our plans for 2016 – and what is a huge year ahead for all still determined on realising Irish freedom – are already at an advanced stage. We will be setting-out finalised details in the coming days but have already determined our Easter Saturday march and commemoration is to be a recurring feature in our annual programme.