Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Committee on Public Petitions

Decisions on Public Petitions Received

Photo of Gerard CraughwellGerard Craughwell (Independent) | Oireachtas source

This is a really sensitive matter. For me, the site where the bodies lie today is a sanctuary. These men were executed and were buried in situ. I can understand the desire to move them elsewhere, the complexities involved, the fact that there may be other bodies there, the quicklime and everything else, but I also understand that the group has the full backing of every county council in the Republic, not to mention that of a couple in Northern Ireland as well. Kilmainham Gaol is a sacred place in the context of the establishment of the Republic in which we live today. These men gave their lives for the country in which we live. Would it not be more fitting to do something to mark their graves where they are or should they be exhumed and given State funerals? It is a case of six of one and a half-dozen of the other for me. I can see benefits in both. I really feel for the people who are trying to do this.

Whether we like it or lump it, this was the establishment of our State. It may not be the State for which they died; they died for a very different state that would have included all 32 counties. I do not know. I am very conflicted. I could not do what they did. I could not give my life.


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