Dissidents’ Easter Monday ceremony passes without incident

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Lyra McKee - shot dead in 2019.

Q Radio News/PA

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

Around 30 people attended the event, uninterrupted by police, at the City cemetery on 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.

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 Derry/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 journalist Lyra McKee.

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

Members of her family travelled to the city on Monday:

Monday’s wreath-laying ceremony had been branded branded a “clear challenge to police by dissident republicans” by 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 city. 

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

 

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