A local commemoration and parade was held last Sunday in the strongly Irish area of Scotland Road in Liverpool. Organised by Cairde na hEireann Liverpool, up to a 100 local people along with the Liverpool Irish Flute Band (Banna Fluit Learpholl) remembered the Liverpool Irish women and men from the local areas of Vauxhall, Kirkdale, Bootle and Seaforth who participated in the rising against British rule in Dublin 99 years ago this week.
The event also saw the launch of the Liverpool Easter Lily campaign which promotes the wearing of the Lily across the Irish community in remembrance of up to 60 volunteers of the Irish Volunteers and Cumann namBan who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising and in subsequent campaigns for Irish freedom and independence.
Organisers stated that it was important that this part of Liverpool Irish history was remembered and commemorated with pride and the story of the Liverpool women and men who participated in the Rising and fought against British rule was an aspect of the Rising itself that needs to be highlighted, especially as next year marks the 100th anniversary of the rising itself. The role of the Liverpool Irish in the Rising provides a counter narrative to ongoing public events in Liverpool to commemorate World War 1. These Liverpool Irish participants in the Rising rejected the call of Britain’s ruling classes to fight in the fields of Flanders and its associated slaughter, but instead fought against an Empire that refused to grant Irish sovereignty and independence. The commemoration was addressed by Sean Oliver, head of Sinn Fein’s International Department and representative for England, Scotland and Wales who outlined his party’s plans to commemorate the Easter Rising in 2016. Sean also outlined the central role that Sinn Fein was increasingly playing in Irish political life both north and south of the Irish border in leading the fight back against both the Conservative party’s austerity policies in the north and Fine Gael’s austerity policies in the south.