(UPDATE : An American who works as an International Travel Writer , Ron Chatham, was at the GPO in Dublin on Easter Monday last when the RSF Easter Commemoration was taking place, and he took these photographs of the proceedings.Thanks, Ron – good work!)
For the 93rd successive year , RSF , as a political organisation, held an Easter Commemoration outside Dublin’s GPO in O’Connell Street : the year before they held their first such Commemoration (ie 1916) RSF people would also have been present at the GPO , but inside it !
For over a three-hour period today – from when RSF began the stage/lectern etc build-up for their Easter Monday Commemoration at Dublin’s GPO to when they disassembled same at 3pm that afternoon – thousands of people passed-by , out of which hundreds of Irish and foreign tourists stopped to talk and photograph the build-up: over 200 copies of ‘Saoirse’ were sold , and slightly more than that amount of copies of the 1916 Proclamation were sold , and a very busy ‘trade’ in the distribution of pin-on Easter Lillies took place. Over 600 ‘booklets’ of Irish Republican leaflets – each ‘booklet’ consisting of either four or five separate leaflets – were distributed , and new contacts were made.
Led by an RSF Colour Party , members of Na Fianna Éireann and a representative from Cumann na mBan , the RSF Easter Parade left the Garden of Remembrance at 1.45pm and arrived at the GPO shortly after 2pm. A crowd had already gathered to listen to the ‘warm-up’ speaker and , within ten minutes , between approximately three and five hundred people had stopped to listen , all of whom stayed for 60 minutes that the commemoration lasted for.
The commemoration was Chaired by Andy Connolly , Dublin who , in the course of several short speeches throughout the proceedings , outlined to the many tourists present the historical significence of the GPO , mentioning other buildings and areas in Dublin in which action also took place. The 1916 Proclamation was read , as was the Easter Message from the leadership of the Republican Movement. Easter Greetings from the Republican Prisoners in Portlaoise Jail was read to the hundreds of people present , to loud applause, as was an Easter Statement from CIRA POW’s in Maghaberry Jail.
The Main Oration was delivered by Sinn Féin Poblachtach President Des Dalton , in which , amongst other points , he outlined the history of the Republican Movement , detailing the various constitutional ‘twists and turns’ undertaken by those who left the Movement, having found the going too hard and the promise of a Free State or British political career too hard to resist. To a resounding cheer of support from the hundreds present , Des implored all Irish Republicans to remember , and to support , our POW’s , and he also congratulated the ‘Cabhair’ organisation , which works full-time on behalf of our comrades who languish behind prison bars.
Republican Sinn Féin are to be congratulated for holding , once again, a fitting and dignified tribute to the men and women from , as one of the contributors said from the stage – “…the men and women from 1916 , those that went before them and those today that are using the same methods in an attempt to achieve the same objective as those that we honour here today..”
Apart from the usual harrassment from the ‘Special Branch’ , the GPO Commemoration was a trouble-free event , and is a testament to the sheer determination of that Movement. Very ‘Well Done’ to all concerned !
(ALSO – please note : a picket in support of the ‘Political Status For Political Prisoners’ campaign will be held at the entrance to the British Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin, on Saturday 24 April 2010 , beginning at 1pm and finishing at 3pm. RSF are asking that those concerned with the plight of Irish Republican prisoners attend this picket, as this is a serious issue which seems certain to escalate over the coming weeks…)