Tensions fear over rival Easter 1916 parades in Coalisland

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There are fears that tensions between rival Republican movements will surface in Coalisland on Easter Sunday after it was announced that two different parades will be held in the East Tyrone village.

The National Republican Commemoration Committee, who claim they are the ‘true inheritors’ of Easter 1916, have organised a march in Coalisland to mark the centenary and the mobilisation of volunteers from across the North.

Coalisland has been keen to assert its place in the history of the Easter rising. Hundreds of volunteers from across Ulster gathered there at the time of rebellion with a view to heading west and linking up with Galway men.

Infamously, this did not happen, due to countermanding orders from Dublin.

The National Republican Commemoration Committee say that many billboards have been erected nationally to highlight their Coalisland parade and in excess of one hundred thousand leaflets have been distributed.

“It is shameful that parties claiming the legacy of Connolly, Pearse, Mellows, Carney and Sands have consented to a unionist veto over the reunification of our country”, said the organisation.

The organisation went on to warn: “The Easter Rising of 1916 is an unfinished revolution, armed and otherwise. While we have listened to the opinions of those who state that the time is not right for a continuation of revolution by any and all means, it is our opinion that while the denial of national self-determination and British occupation continue, so too will armed revolution.”

Meanwhile, speaking ahead of Sinn Fein’s robust programme of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, Chairperson of the organising committee, John O’Brien said the Tyrone Sinn Féin Commemoration Committee has organised over forty mobilisations throughout the county to mark the anniversary.

He said they will also commemorate all Republicans who have played their part in every generation.

“This year’s parade at Carrickmore and Coalisland will include music, song, poetry and includes historical Colour Parties of the various organisations which participated in the 1916 Easter Rising including Ná Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan, Irish Citizen Army and Irish Volunteers.

“The county mobilisation in Coalisland on Easter Saturday takes place at 3pm. The main speaker this year is Leading Belfast Republican, Bobby Storey.

“We are encouraging people to come along on the day in period dress from 1916.”

The rising, organised by a band of poets, Irish language enthusiasts, former British soldiers and a revolutionary Marxist, captured headlines when it took place while Britain’s armed forces were still mired in WWI.