On Easter Sunday morning republicans assembled at the ‘Republican Plot’ in Derrymacash following a short parade.
Local Sinn Fein representative Fergal Lennon, chaired proceedings at the graveside of Vol Michael Crossey. Patsy Crossey read the North Armagh Roll of Honour and Vincent Mc Aleenan read the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The main address was given by Cllr Liam Mackle.
Later in the afternoon in Lurgan hundreds of republicans enjoyed a bright Easter day as they marched from Francis Street to the republican plot. Others waited at various vantage points to watch the parade which was led by a colour party and wreath bearers.
Music for the parade was supplied by a Belfast Republican Flute Band and the local North Armagh Martyrs Flute Band.
The Lurgan commemoration was chaired by SF representative Keith Haughian.
The presence on the platform of fifth generation republican Cormac O’Hagan, whose great great grand uncle took part in the campaign that followed the Easter Rising emphasised the continuity of the republican struggle.
Cormac, a great grandson of the late JB O’Hagan, spoke on behalf of Upper Bann Sinn Féin Youth.
He emphasised the commitment of his generation of young republicans to ensuring the fulfilment of the ideals contained within the 1916 proclamation which was read by Cllr Noel McGeown.
Bernadette O’Hagan read the North Armagh Roll of Honour to the accompaniment of a lament.
The main oration was given by Chris Hazzard MLA who told the gathering that Sinn Féin remains committed to building alliances in the cause of a united Ireland. He said, “Partition continues to stunt our full political, social and economic potential. The Good Friday Agreement provides for a poll on Irish unity and such a poll provides an opportunity for debate on the future of this island.”
Referring to the current political situation the MLA said, “The issues of reconciliation and the Haass proposals aren’t going away. These issues require leadership. This leadership cannot only be shown by republicanism, but must also be reflected by Unionism and the British Government. There are challenges ahead for everyone, but there are also great opportunities.”