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News ::
Emerald Isle Rallys
17 Jun 2002
or is it rallies

Rally’s were held in two Irish towns over the weekend calling for an end to sectarian violence. In Derry, NI, trade unionists came out. A spokesperson for Derry Trades Council said: "As trade unionists we have watched with deepening concern the rise in sectarian violence in different areas of Belfast… What is needed (to end the violence) is a united struggle to defend the interests of working people. Sectarianism points in exactly the opposite direction, turning the despair of working class people against other working class people." However, in Derry it was another weekend marred by sectarian attacks. These included a pipe bomb attack on a nationalist home, stone throwing incidents and the serious assault by loyalists of a member of the Pat Finucane Center human rights group who was working to defuse trouble. Sinn Fein’s Mary Nelis accused loyalists of seeking to increase sectarian tensions in Derry City. "Their (loyalist) involvement on Sunday fits into the pattern of loyalist elements across the north, and particularly in Belfast, of raising tensions. We must ensure their efforts are frustrated in Derry."

In Bodenstown, Ireland, speaking to around 750 supporters at the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration, Sinn Fein’s (SF) Caoimhghin O Caolain said yesterday sectarian attacks are always wrong and sectarianism must be rejected in all its manifestations. He said republicans condemned all sectarian incidents, "whether deemed retaliatory or not." O Caolain told the rainsoaked crowd that First Minister David Trimble had been "highly irresponsible" for blaming republicans for recent disturbances in the North. The people of Short Strand in East Belfast were "under siege," but the Good Friday Agreement "provides the way out of the cul de sac of sectarianism." Further progress on demilitarization and policing is overdue, commented O Caolain, who also condemned the "institutionalized collusion," between loyalist paramilitaries and British forces

Earlier in the day, some 250 people from the group Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) attended a similar parade and oration event at Bodenstown. The militant RSF emerged after a split in the party in November 1986, following a successful motion to allow SF representatives take a seat in parliament if elected. At the rally, RSF’s Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh, said: "The true Republicans of today are those who actively struggle to end English rule in Ireland and establish the sovereignty, democracy and rights of the Irish nation…. The current process in the Six Counties is not a peace process, it is a surrender process. It is a sell-out of the national position of an independent and sovereign Ireland free from outside interference. It will not work and condemns us all to 20, 30 or 40 more years of conflict."
Sources: Derry Journal, Irish Independent, Irish Republican News and Information, Saoirse

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