Wednesday 7 December 2016

100 years on, we can still honour Casement's wish

Published 09/07/2015 | 02:30

Portrait of Irish patriot, Sir Roger Casement, 1864-1916. Getty
Portrait of Irish patriot, Sir Roger Casement, 1864-1916. Getty

July 1916. The days were ticking closer to Roger Casement's execution on a charge of high treason. By now, he was publicly vilified in Britain not just as a revolutionary but as a homosexual, stripped of the knighthood he had earned as a human rights campaigner.

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In his cell, his thoughts turned to the haunting majesty of the Glens of Antrim, scene of his boyhood, and he expressed a longing to be buried there.

That desire remains unfulfilled. As commemorations to mark the Easter Rising's centenary begin on August 1 with a year-long series of events, it's appropriate to re-open the matter of Casement's dying wish. Now is the time to make a respectful request on his behalf to the Belfast and London governments.

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