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Thursday 14 December 2017

Duffy aims to give voices to the lost 'Children of Revolution'

Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

THE fate of most of the children who died during the 1916 Rising was best summed up in the words of French philosopher Paul Ricoeur who said: "To be forgotten is to die twice."

That was until broadcaster Joe Duffy took up their cause in an effort to tell the stories of the 'Children of the Revolution'.

Yesterday, the first Service of Remembrance for the 40 children killed in the 1916 Rising was held in City Quay Parish in Dublin's city centre.

"I want to free them of the anonymity. Their stories deserve to be told," Duffy told the Irish Independent.

"I know the members of the British royal family will attend the 1916 centenary celebrations, but the descendants of these children should also be treated like royalty. They should have a central place in the commemorative celebrations."

The service was led by Canon Barbara Fryday and Fr Michael Scott, both of whom are relatives of children who perished during the Easter Rising.

"We remember the guns and the leaders," Fryday said. "But the children and women are considered less important."

Duffy has spent months combing death certificates and public records to find out more about those forgotten children.

"Remembering these individual children gives us a clearer picture of the times they lived in," he said. The conditions, the traumas, those tenement buildings, those tragedies."

During the service, pupils from City Quay National School held up placards with the names and ages of children who were shot.

For some family members of the 'Children of the Revolution', it was a moving experience.

"It's very emotional," Sarah Carney from Waterford said. "Remembering these innocent kids and your extended family."

Ms Carney is a descendant of Christopher Whelan, who died when he was 15, having been shot by a sniper while at home.

Daphne Whelan and William Baker are both relatives of Eleanor Warbrook, who was killed on Easter Monday at the age of 15.

"Joe brought us together," Ms Whelan said. "It's been a great way of connecting families and re-connecting with our shared history."

Irish Independent

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