Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein visit to Washington criticised at RSF Easter Rising commemoration

Annal 1916 commemoration takes place in Co Armagh

RSF Easter commemoration in Kilwilkie, Lurgan, on Saturday
RSF Easter commemoration in Kilwilkie, Lurgan, on Saturday

Solidarity greetings were sent to the people of Palestine during a Republican Sinn Féin Easter Rising commemoration in Co Armagh.

A colour party was present and wreaths were laid during the commemoration at the Garden of Remembrance in the Kilwilkie Estate in Lurgan on Saturday afternoon.

Those taking part later made their way to the nearby St Colman’s Cemetery where wreaths were laid at the republican plot and several graves.

The event was chaired by Lurgan republican Martin Duffy, who referenced the arrest of members of a colour party at a similar event in 2018.

“They thought that was going to be the end of this commemoration but we have made it stronger and stronger, because the republican movement will never be defeated because we have unfinished business,” he said.

During his address at the Garden of Remembrance, RSF vice president Martin Kelly was critical of Irish politicians who took part in recent St Patrick’s Day celebrations with US president Joe Biden in Washington.

Visitors to Washington included Sinn Féin First Minister Michelle O’Neill and her Stormont deputy Emma Little-Pengelly.

Mr Kelly dismissed claims that the trip was used to raise the plight of Palestinians.

He accused local politicians of “wining and dining” with Mr Biden, who he pointed out has armed Israeli forces who have so far killed around 32,000 people in Gaza over recent months.

“Biden and co are not one bit interested at what the British minister from Stormont say,” he said.

“So today I send my solidarity to the Palestinian people.”

RSF vice-president Martin Kelly
RSF vice-president Martin Kelly

Later Mr Kelly suggested that Sinn Féin elected representatives will eventually take their seats in Westminster and urged support for the Republican Sinn Féin’s Eire Nua policy.

“This will lead us to our ultimate goal of a 32 county Ireland free from British interference,” he said.

A statement was also read out on behalf of “the leadership of the republican movement”.

“We call on the Irish people to be mindful and recognise where we are on the roadmap to freedom, remember perfidious England throughout the saga of home rule acts and the slaughter of John Redmond’s volunteers who he set out to fight ‘for freedom of small nations’,” it said.

“We call on you to join us and help sustain a strong movement acting against the occupation of our country.”

During the event a tribute was also paid to former republican activist and Continuity IRA member Gerard ‘Hucker’ Moyna, who died in west Belfast last week.