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Belfast Republican at centre of gun-running allegations delivers Easter address in Carrickmore

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Sean Murray, addresses the Easter Sunday commemoration in the Patrician, Carrickmore.

SENIOR Sinn Féin figure Sean ‘Spike’ Murray told Republicans gathered in Carrickmore on Easter Sunday that the party represents the only realistic, coherent strategy for achieving Irish reunification.

The prominent Belfast Republican gave the main oration at the Sinn Féin event in the Patrician Hall to commemorate the 98th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

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The speech came less than two weeks after a BBC Spotlight investigation alleged that Mr Murray was involved in smuggling guns from Florida into Ireland before and after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Murray, who was part of the Sinn Féin delegation at the Haass negotiations, denies the allegations.

On Sunday he told the main Tyrone Sinn Féin Commemoration in Carrickmore that, “Sinn Féin is the only party with a realistic, coherent strategy for achieving reunification and the creation of a new republic.

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Bernie McSherry addresses the audience at the Patrician.

“The ideals and principles of the 1916 proclamation are as relevant today as they have ever been. The struggle for a united and independent Ireland has passed through many phases since,” he said.

“In 2014 we continue to pursue a strategy to achieve Irish unity and the establishment of a republic that is worthy of the name, nation based on equality and social justice.”

Compered by local council candidate Barry McNally, Sunday’s event in the Patrician also featured contributions from Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff, who traced the historical context of Tyrone and 1916.

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Films, poetry and songs were also on offer to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of Cumann na mBan, while Bernie McSherry from Co Leitrim and Colm Gildernew from the Brantry, imparted a stirring rendition of ‘James Connolly’.

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The procession makes its way to the wreath laying ceremony at Carrickmore’s Garden of Remembrance.

The event was followed by a procession to the Garden of Remembrance, led by a lone piper and featuring the Martin Hurson and Coatbridge Republican Flute Bands.

Wreaths were laid and the 1916 Proclamation was read by Stan Corrigan whilst Finola Campbell read Tyrone’s Roll of Honour. A minutes silence and lament by a piper brought the proceedings to a close before the Martin Hurson band played Amhran na bhFiann.

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