The Guardian May 3, 2000


1916 Easter Rising commemoration

by Richard Stone

The annual commemoration of the Easter Rising, sponsored by South 
Australian Australia Aid for Ireland (SA-AAI), took place in an air of 
optimism this year. The well-supported event, in the Irish Club, Carrington 
Street, Adelaide, followed a recent highly successful visit from Belfast-
based leading Sinn F<130>in representative, Dodie McGuinness.

Despite much gloom and apprehension about the peace agreement in Northern 
Ireland and the frequent stalling, the leadership of Sinn F<130>ain 
committed to a strategy for a peaceful, political settlement.

The commemoration, in support of the ideals of the 1916 rising against 
British rule in Ireland, remains of central importance to the Irish 
Republican movement. The Proclamation of the Rising, specifying its 
revolutionary ideals, was read by Eilis N Bhriain.

An Easter message from the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau was read by 
Michael Darley, Information Officer for SA-AAI. It extended its fraternal 
greetings to republican activists, supporters and friends at home and 
abroad, and reaffirmed their commitment to Republican objectives.

Specifying its wish to "see a permanent peace in our country" the statement 
gave a detailed account of how they have sought to achieve their objectives 
and some of the obstacles encountered.

"Over the past five years we have called for and maintained cessations of 
military operations", the statement says. "We have contributed in a 
meaningful way to the creation of a climate which would facilitate the 
search for a durable peace settlement."

It highlighted the continued role of the British military with "ongoing 
intelligence covert surveillance operations, with the re-militarisation of 
South Armagh, Tyrone, Belfast and other areas of the Six Counties. The RUC 
continues with its recruitment of informers and the harassment of 
nationalists on a daily basis."

Criticising the role of the British Government the statement noted that the 
Blair Government's "unilateral decision to collapse the political 
institutions in February highlights a lack of political will to bring about 
meaningful political change. 

"The challenge for everyone remains the removal of the causes of conflict 
in our country and the British Government cannot shirk its responsibility 
in that challenge."

Throughout the evening there was plenty of opportunity to have a glass of 
Guinness and to participate in Irish dancing.

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