Exhumation at Cork Prison for Thomas Kent remains

An exhumation will take place shortly in the grounds of Cork Prison in the hope of discovering and identifying the remains of War of Independence volunteer Thomas Kent.

Exhumation at Cork Prison for Thomas Kent remains

If skeletal remains are discovered they will be DNA-tested and, if confirmed to be those of Kent, the remains will be buried in the family vault in Castlelyons with full military honours.

Kent was executed by firing squad on May 9, 1916, after he was involved in a gun battle with British soldiers and members of the RIC who surrounded his house on the day of the Easter Rising.

He was buried in what was the yard of the prison.

Sean Sherwin, a spokesman for the family, said they were anxious that “respectful and appropriate honours be afforded to Thomas Kent”.

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The exhumation will be carried out in the grounds of the prison by the National Monuments Service’s archaeologist Tom Condit.

He was responsible for exhuming the bodies of the Forgotten 10, known as the Mountjoy 10.

Kevin Barry, Patrick Moran, Frank Flood, Thomas Whelan, Thomas Traynor, Patrick Doyle, Thomas Bryan, Bernard Ryan, Edmond Foley, and Patrick Maher had all been executed in Mountjoy Prison following court martials from 1920 to 1921.

Mr Sherwin said a geophysical study had been conducted at a site in Cork Prison which suggested the presence of a grave which could be that of Thomas Kent.

“At some stage in the past the ground there had been disturbed, so that is generally interpreted as a grave,” he said.

Mr Sherwin said that if a body was exhumed, it would take a further six to eight weeks to complete the DNA testing process.

“The family have made it very clear that they require the remains of Thomas Kent to be buried in the family vault in Castlelyons with full military honours,” said Mr Sherwin.

He is also liaising with the Thomas Kent Branch of ONE, the Defence Forces and the Prison Services.

Kent was the only person executed in 1916, in a prison outside of Dublin.

In 1966 the Cork railway station was named in his honour.

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Groups invited to host 1916 commemorations

Cork County Council is hosting a series of meetings around the countynext week to organise 1916 commemorations.

The local authority recently set up a cross-party 1916 centenary commemorative committee, chaired by Cllr Frank O’Flynn, which will co-ordinate commemorations.

The council is hoping historical societies, sports clubs, amateur drama clubs, community groups, and individuals will attend the meetings and share ideas, pool resources, and be part of the creation of a unique and distinctive local programme to mark the commemorations.

The meetings will take place at Clonakilty Library on Tuesday, June 9, from 8pm to 9.30pm; County Hall on Wednesday, June 10, from 5.30pm to 7.15pm; Midleton Library on Wednesday, June 10, from 8pm to 9.30pm and Fermoy Library on Thursday, June 11, from 8pm to 9.30pm.

The council is expected to help fund some commemorations.

In addition to organising the open meetings, the council is also seeking written submissions from interested parties with suitable ideas events and suggestions for commemorating 1916.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday, June 19, at 4pm.

All submissions should be to be sent to Conor Nelligan, “Ireland 2016” Cork county coordinator, Cork County Council, County Hall, or by email to conor.nelligan @corkcoco.ie

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