Gerry Kelly launches Easter Lily campaign at Belfast City Hall
Gerry Kelly (North Belfast) this morning launched the annual Easter Lily campaign at Belfast City Hall. He was joined by representatives of the Belfast National Graves Association and Sinn Féin’s Belfast Council Team.
Mr Kelly encouraged people to honour Ireland’s dead by wearing their Easter Lily and to continue to support the work of the National Graves Association in maintaining the graves of our Patriot Dead.
He also outlined the plans for this year’s Easter Commemoration in Belfast and ask people to attend their local events.
The following is a copy of Gerry’s address (Check against delivery):
A chairde, tá mé iontach sásta a bheith anseo libh uilig ar maidin. Is ócáid tábhachtach é an Cháisc, nuair a thagann muid le chéile le onóir a thabhairt do na daoine a fuair bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann.
I am very thankful to be invited to speak at this morning’s launch and want to pay a particular word of thanks to the members of the Belfast National Graves Association who are with us here this morning. The work that they carry out, not just at Easter, but throughout the year, in maintaining the graves and therefore the memory of our Patriot Dead is invaluable and a tremendous piece of work which we must all continue to support.
That of course is where the Easter Lily itself comes in, a symbol so simple yet so significant, a symbol used for so long now but one which endures; a symbol, while only worn at this time of year, always reminds us who we are, where we have come from and what we must do to achieve our ultimate Republican objectives.
Each year we come together to launch this campaign, encouraging people to Honour Ireland’s Dead and wear their Easter Lily with pride.
Easter is a time of year when we rightly gather at roadsides, on country lanes, in housing estates and by memorials to remember our Patriot Dead.
It is a time when we face down those who would seek to demonise our Republican Dead, and through them, our struggle for Irish Freedom and Independence.
But most of all it is a time when we must recommit ourselves to the principles we adhere to, the very core message of Irish Republicanism, a time when we rededicate ourselves to the pursuance of the cause for which the men and women Volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann gave their lives.
We are very proud of our Patriot Dead, we are very proud of their families, and while others would try to usurp the proud name of Óglaigh na hÉireann, while they would try to sully our proud and historic struggle, we remain firmly committed to achieving a Free, Socialist and Democratic Ireland.
So I would encourage people to head away from this event today and wear your Easter Lily, encourage others to do likewise; to support the work of the National Graves Association and to attend commemorative events in your area during the Easter period.
This is a time when we as Republicans must unashamedly remember our families, friends and comrades and a time when we must again set our shoulders to the wheel and I am confident that with the men and women who gave all as our continued source of inspiration, we will soon bring about the Ireland for which they died.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh.