Executed Easter Rising hero Kent honoured at Cork Prison
Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30
The only Easter 1916 rebel executed outside Dublin was commemorated yesterday in the Cork prison yard where he was shot.
Relatives of Thomas Kent, including his niece, grandniece and grandnephew, attended a special Defence Forces ceremony in the old Cork Prison to mark the exact anniversary of the 50-year-old's execution.
Special tributes were also paid at the spot in the prison yard where, for 99 years, Thomas Kent lay buried.
The tributes were led by Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, Defence Forces Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Mark Mellett and Brigadier General Philip Brennan.
"Thomas Kent longed for a free Irish republic. Today, we live in a free Irish republic," Mr Kehoe said. "We have come together today to remember Thomas Kent and to honour his memory."
Prayers for the executed commander of the Galtee Brigade of the Irish Volunteers were read out by Defence Forces chaplain Fr Gerry O'Neill and Irish Prison Service chaplain Fr Alan Kelly.
Wreaths were laid by Kent's niece, Kathleen, and his grandniece, Nora, who had an honour guard of Cpl Alan Dully and Cpl Peter O'Flynn, at the spot where Kent was executed.
To further honour his memory, a special public exhibition on Thomas Kent's life was opened in the old Cork Prison with further material at the museum at Collins Barracks, Dublin.
On the instructions of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Kent's grave was located in Cork Prison yard and his remains exhumed last year. He was reburied with full military honours last September in the Kent family plot in Castlelyons, north Cork, at the request of his family.
The Kent family said they were delighted to see his sacrifice being recognised.
"We are very proud of the sacrifice he made for Ireland and we are also delighted to see that his memory is being commemorated in this way," Nora said.
The only serious fighting in Easter 1916 took place in Dublin and at Castlelyons in north Cork. Thomas Kent resisted an attempt by the Royal Irish Constabulary to seize arms from his family's farmhouse in Castlelyons on May 2-3 because they were known Irish Volunteer and Gaelic League members.