Reported in the News Letter on April 18, 1949: 5,000-strong crowd attends Easter Rising event in Newry

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A crowd of men, women and children – estimated to number 5,000 – swept through the streets of Newry yesterday on their way to the Old Chapel Cemetery to commemorate the 1916 rebellion. As processions were banned they did not march in fours until they had passed three cordons of police.

Large numbers of police were present in the cemetery, where the demonstrators placed a wooden cross and a decade of the Rosary was recited in Irish. The Last Post was sounded by a bugler after the names of those from the area who had been killed in the rebellion had been read. The tricolour and flag of the Citizen Army, which had been flying during the ceremony, were draped.

In Derry, republicans held a meeting at Deanery Place in defiance of the ban on Easter assemblies. About 200 people were present. The Easter Week Proclamation of a republic and the roll of honour were read and a resolution was passed demanding release of political prisoners in Belfast.

Mr Neal Gillespie in an address said: “Do not let us become involved in useless arguments about the 1916 Republic, the 1932 Republic or the 1949 Republic. The people of the 26 counties are being handed a surfeit of republics, not one of which at the moment affects our position. We stand for Ireland united and free.”