Saturday, 9 May 2009

thanks for the photos micky

One of the greatest privileges I as a Republican have is getting to meet and know the families of our Patriot Dead. This is something any Republican recognises as a very privileged and humbling experience.

So on Easter Sunday morning of this year, before the big events of the day, Republicans in Belfast decided to hold a small ceremony honouring the families of those Belfast Óglaigh on the Roll of Honour, the event was hosted by the National Graves Association, I was honoured to be asked to chair it.

We met several times in advance of the event, Easter is an exceptionally busy time for Irish Republicans, to discuss what it would entail. Obviously Easter is a busy day for people so we were expecting a healthy but realistic amount to come to the poignant and reflective gathering. We wanted to provide the families of those members of Óglaigh na hÉireann, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann and Cuman na gCáilíní with a chance to get together, to have cup of tea, to meet up and have yarn before the march to milltown that lay ahead.

The purpose of it was also for us to say, 'we're with you, we thank you and we remember you and your loved ones and the sacrifice that you and they have made for our struggle'.

Tom Hartley, Belfast's First Citizen, and one of our party's finest orators, was the man who made the presentation to the families. The bronnadh itself was a small Easter Lilly, Tom spoke of it symbolising, purity, life and love, fitting attributes considering the people we had gathered to remember that day. The presentation was made to the Family of Fian Gerard McAuley, the first name on the recent Belfast Roll of Honour, and the family of Óglach Harry Burns, the last name on our Roll of Honour. Each family was then asked to send a representative to recieved a lilly from the various representatives in the hall. Nothing could have prepared us for the sheer volume of families who were with us that morning, Tom made it very clear that next year big Bob will have to book a bigger venue!

I look forward to it!

It was an honour to be associated with the event and I thank Micky for sending me the photos.

Beir Bua!

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