Thursday 22 March 2018

Exhumation being sought for 'Forgotten Rebel' of 1916

Thomas Kent
Thomas Kent
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

AN exhumation licence is being sought to allow the 'Forgotten Rebel' of the 1916 Rising to be honoured with a Christian burial in his family plot.

Thomas Kent (51) was executed and then buried in the yard of Cork Prison on May 9, 1916, for his role in the Rising.

He was involved in an armed clash with Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) members outside Castlelyons in north Cork.

Kent was buried in the prison yard by the British authorities, just metres from his execution site, despite the protests of his family who pleaded for the return of his body.

However, the precise location of the burial has been forgotten over the decades, although a plaque on the prison wall commemorates him. He is the only Easter Rising rebel who did not receive a proper Christian burial.

Now, the Irish Independent has confirmed that a third party application has been made for an exhumation of the rebel's remains from the yard of Cork Prison.

Cork's incoming Lord Mayor, councillor Chris O'Leary, the city's first Sinn Féin Lord Mayor in over 90 years, has backed the campaign to properly honour Mr Kent.

The Irish Prison Service said a memorial plaque and grave surround marked the reputed location of the burial place.

The Kent family, historians and the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen, including campaigner Tomás Ó Síocháin, want the rebel's body to be exhumed and reinterred with full honours in a family plot in time for the 1916 centenary.

Mr Ó Síocháin said he feared campaigners were battling against time. "My worry is that if nothing is done before the 1916 centenary, then nothing may ever be done," he said.

Mr Kent was executed for his role in a battle at the Kent family's farmhouse at Bawnard, Castlelyons, when RIC and British Army personnel raided the property just hours after fighting began at Dublin's GPO.

Thomas and his brothers had been waiting for orders to mobilise to support the Dublin volunteers with a Cork rising. In a four-hour gun battle Thomas's brother David was badly wounded and another brother, Richard, was killed.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News