Controversy over 'war dead'

Sinn Fein said there would be no speeches at the event

A Sinn Fein 'remembrance' ceremony for all who have suffered in war has been condemned by the DUP.

Sinn Fein has called for every member of the community to attend a Day of Reflection on Friday.

Derry Mayor Gearoid OhEara, SF, said the event would commemorate everyone who lost their lives as the result of war.

But DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the ceremony would merely "deepen sores".

The Day of Reflection coincides with International Human Rights Day.

Mr OhEara said it was an effort to overcome the potentially contentious issue of remembrance.

"Hopefully this will go some way towards communal healing, personal healing and reconciliation."
Gearoid OhEara
Sinn Fein

He said he believed the event offered every member of the community the opportunity to remember "all those who have lost their lives as a result of war and conflict from and within the city and district" regardless of background".

"I am very conscious of the importance of remembrance to the people of this city and would like to point out that this event is not intended to replace any of the existing commemorations that take place," he said.

He said there would be no speeches, statements or opinions at the event.

"Some people are saying it is too soon, but over 90 percent think it is a good idea and we should proceed with it. Hopefully this will go some way towards communal healing, personal healing and reconciliation," he said.

However, Mr Campbell said the event would not bring about healing.

"Today's events will deepen sores that may have been healing because people who are genuine, relatives of genuine innocent victims people who did nothing other than to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, are being put on a par with people who killed their relatives but happened to die as a consequence of their actions," he said.

"That is not the way of bringing about healing into our divided society."

'Controversial' events

Sinn Fein's participation in remembrance events has been controversial.

During his term as Belfast's first republican lord mayor in 2002, Alex Maskey held a Remembrance function for the Royal British Legion and laid a wreath during a commemoration service for those killed during the First World War's Battle of the Somme.

As part of Friday's events, the council chairs of Magherafelt and Fermanagh - Patsy Groogan and Gerry McHugh - will hold civic ceremonies.

Tree planting ceremonies will take place in Omagh and Strabane.

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