Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Honour Ireland's Patriot Dead

We gathered in Stormont again this morning for the launch of this years Easter Lilly campaign.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was the main speaker at the event hosted by the Sinn Féin Assembly Team; Committee members from the Belfast National Graves Association were also in attendance.

Easter is the most important date in the Republican calender, a time when we come together at gravesides, country lanes, housing estates and at beautiful memorials, to remember those men and women from throughout our history who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of Irish freedom and independence.

some of our Minister's drivers Mick, Peter and Tony sang a number of Republican ballads

I blogged on last years event here

I was honoured to have been asked to read Forógra 1916, the 1916 Proclamation at today's event. That radical document, the bedrock of our politics continues to inspire and drive our political project today. In the Ireland 0f 2010, it's message has never been more relevant, more important, more needed!

Even as a young Republican, the significance of hosting an event like this in Stormont still strikes me. I am sure the older (or veteran!!) Republicans in attendance acknowledge the significance of it even more so.

south Belfast remembers - Alex Maskey and Vincent Prker with Martin at today's launch

This Easter Republicans are mobilised and energised like never before; we are facing into an important election having just emerged from the last as the largest party in the Six Counties.

As Martin McGuinness noted at today's event, no matter where we go or however far we continue to advance we must remember we are never alone, those who died are always our guides, for us they have laid the solid foundations on our sure path to unity and freedom.

At Easter we once again gather to remember their sacrifice and stand in solidarity with their loved ones. We do so with pride and respect. The Easter Lily as a symbol continues to command respect in amongst our people, it continues to encourage and inspire others to involve themselves in our struggle. Over the coming weeks, during the Easter season we will wear them with Pride.

Beirigí Bua!

Liam Shannon and Stephen McGuigan from the Belfast National Graves Association with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in his office at Stormont

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