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Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile welcomes Irish language gravestone ruling

25 February, 2021 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Sinn Féin’s leader in the Seanad, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile, has welcomed news that a family has won a legal appeal to have their mother’s headstone marked with an Irish inscription in a Coventry graveyard.

The appeal was before the Church of England’s Arches Court of Canterbury yesterday.

Senator Ó Donnghaile said:

“I welcome the news that Margaret Keane’s family have been successful in their appeal to have an Irish language inscription on her gravestone.

“The inscription ‘in ár gcroíthe go deo’, meaning ‘in our hearts forever’, is a beautiful tribute from the family to their much loved mother on her passing. It is appalling that the Church of England considered this to be contentious or ‘political’ and initially forbid the family from having this inscription on her headstone.

“Sadly, stigma and prejudice against the Irish language continues to be all too common across these islands. There should be no place for anti-Irish language sentiment and I welcome that the Church of England now accepts this.

“This case highlights the many unacceptable and discriminatory policies and attitudes which Irish speakers still face. I hope this ruling will go some way in reminding people that those who speak Irish have a right to live without prejudice and discrimination. 

“It is deeply regrettable that the case has taken almost three years to resolve and this has undoubtedly added to a grieving family’s distress and upset at an already difficult time. 

“I want to pay tribute to the Keane family’s determination in seeing this case through and standing up not only for their mother’s cultural heritage but for the rights of Irish speakers more broadly.”

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