Monday 26 September 2016

No hierarchy of dead in fitting remembrance

Published 04/04/2016 | 02:30

John Green, chairman of the Glasnevin Trust
John Green, chairman of the Glasnevin Trust

There is no hierarchy, no judgment on this wall." John Green, chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, summed up the point of a new remembrance wall just unveiled in Glasnevin Cemetery.

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An interfaith service took place at the cemetery yesterday, with participation and representation by the main faith organisations of all those who lost their lives during the Easter Rising. The purpose of the event was to remember - not to celebrate, commemorate or commiserate, just remember.

The Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, British Army, Dublin Metropolitan Police, Royal Irish Constabulary, as well as civilians, including children, were all remembered.

The 485 names of the dead are inscribed on the new remembrance wall at the cemetery, adjacent to the graves of the patriot dead.

It contains the names of all those who died in the conflict in chronological and alphabetical order, through the days of fighting and subsequent executions.

Those sentiments are in keeping with the inclusive nature of the Ireland 2016 commemorations.

There is no hierarchy of participants, no exclusion from the commemorations of those of different traditions. These commemorations have displayed our maturity as a nation.

There are some 1916 family members who are opposed to the inclusion of the names of British soldiers who were sent out to crush the insurgency. In a democracy, these dissenting views deserve a hearing.

However, it takes a brass neck for those who are trying to turn the 1916 commemorations into a tribute to events three-quarters of a century later to object to the dead of the Easter Rising being remembered. Sinn Féin wants to turn the 1916 commemorations into an opportunity to glorify the murder campaign of the Provisional IRA.

The Glasnevin Trust's dedicated service to the curation of the historic and serene surrounds of the graveyard deserves recognition.

Miriam Kent, grandniece of Thomas and Richard Kent, captured the purpose of the new memorial, which can equally be applied to the wider commemorations of the past week: "It is not about divisions any more. It is about unity and it is about peace."

Irish Independent

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