Dissident republican Easter Monday ceremony passes without incident in Londonderry

A wreath-laying ceremony attended by dissident republicans in Londonderry has passed without incident.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 8:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 8:40 am
People take part in a dissident Easter Monday wreath laying ceremony in Derry City cemetery, Creggan, Northern Ireland. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Around 30 people attended the event, uninterrupted by police, at the Derry City cemetery yesterday, Easter Monday.

The Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee had originally planned a march for the event, which marks the anniversary of the Easter Rising.

But these plans were scaled back to a wreath-laying ceremony, amid appeals for the event to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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Members of the Saoradh, the self-styled political wing of the New IRA, addressed the crowd from the graveyard.

Saoradh opted to hold its Easter commemorations online this year, for the second consecutive year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is now three years since such an event has taken place in Londonderry.

The Easter Monday event was also moved online in 2020 because of the pandemic.

And it was cancelled in 2019 in the days following the murder of Lyra McKee.

The 29-year-old journalist was shot dead by a New IRA gunman while observing riots in the Creggan.

Monday’s wreath-laying ceremony had been branded a “clear challenge to police by dissident republicans” by the DUP MLA Gary Middleton.

He said the ceremony would be a breach of Covid-19 regulations, and that he would raise the issue with the PSNI.

Concerns had been heightened following a week of unrest in the Londonderry area.

But Monday’s 90-minute ceremony passed without incident or police intervention.

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