Relatives of those who fought and died in the Easter Rising will not rule out taking legal action to stop a wall being unveiled at Glasnevin cemetery which commemorates the British army dead alongside their descendants.
Opposition has been mounting in recent months to the ‘necrology’ wall, which is due to be unveiled by the Glasnevin Trust early next month. The trust has described the wall as an initiative “to remember in a non-judgemental way, all who died as a result of the conflict from 1916-1923”.
Fresh from their High Court victory in having an expanded section of Moore Street declared a national monument, James Connolly Heron of 1916 Relatives Centenary Initiative described the plan as “disgraceful”.
“That the British army dead are to be included on this wall is extraordinary and bizarre. We were not ever contacted about it and neither were a number of other groups who have complained about it to the trust. It has just been pushed through without our involvement. It is disgraceful”.
Donna Cooney of the 1916 relatives group GPO Garrison said her group is considering legal action. “It is something we might have to consider on the grounds that they don’t have our permission or any kind of agreement from us. It is hard to believe that they haven’t tried to consult us around inscribing the names of the British army alongside our relatives, those who were executed by Crown forces,” she said.
“We are all opposed in principle to any proposal to locate a wall, plaque or register in Glasnevin Cemetery or elsewhere upon which names of British Army personnel will be inscribed alongside 1916 volunteers who were killed in action or executed by Crown forces. It is, in our view, a deeply insulting and bizarre proposal”. According to Ms Cooney, the Glasnevin authorities did not consult with the 1916 Relatives Association or descendants of the executed 1916 signatories to the Proclamation individually or as a group
UK-based Roderic Wilson, the son of Fiona Connolly, the youngest daughter of James Connolly, said: “I cannot understand how any Irish person can contemplate, never mind propose, that the names of British army personnel be inscribed at Glasnevin Cemetery alongside those killed or illegally executed during the Easter Rising. This would not occur in any other country”.
The Necrology Wall will list the names of the 485 people identified as having died in the Rising including 262 civilians, 107 British soliders, 58 rebels and 13 policeman. A trust spokesman said the wall will “record the names, date of death, and status of those who perished based on historical fact, without judgement or hierarchy. Each will be free to take from the wall what they wish”.
“We acknowledge that for some this Necrology Wall is difficult to accept. But that does not prevent us from hoping that through the recording of facts, without judgement, a better understanding of this period will emerge”.
He said similar initiatives have been done such as at the International Memorial of Notre Dame de Lorette, at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire in France, where the names of 580,000 soldiers from all sides who died in the battlefields of northern France in WW1 were recorded. A ceremony will be held at the cemetery on April 3 to unveil the wall.
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