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Desmond Welcomes Government Moves to Help Repatriate the Manchester Martyrs

22 November, 2006

Bandon Sinn Féin Councillor John Desmond, who has spent the last 6 years researching the possible return to Ireland of the Manchester Martyrs, today welcomed reports of a government move to get involved.


Councillor John Desmond said:  “Recent press reports have indicated that the government may be willing to work for the return of the Manchester Martyrs to Ireland.  This is very good news if it is true.  The Manchester Martyrs belong to no one political party but to the people of Ireland.  If the government puts its weight behind the return of the Martyrs, then it can happen that much quicker.  They certainly deserve a state funeral just like the Forgotten Ten received in 2004.”


“I, as a member of the Bandon Historical Society, began looking at the possibility of the return of the remains of the Manchester Martyrs in 2000.  We have been working quietly behind the scenes and have received the support of the families for the return of William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin and Michael O Brien to Ireland.”


 “I have travelled to Manchester a number of times and have also received much help and support from the Bishop of Manchester and Manchester City Council. For some time there have been difficulties in identifying the remains. But I must pay a special tribute to Canon Noel Proctor, the former Anglican Chaplain of Strangeways Prison. Canon Proctor was present at the exhumation of the remains from Strangeways and their reburial in BlackleyCemetery.  His willingness to share his knowledge has been most helpful.  Thanks to our research and the help of the relevant bodies I believe we are now in a position to identify exactly which remains are those of the Manchester Martyrs.”


“This should overcome the greatest obstacle to the return of the three men.  .  The government can now give William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin and Michael O Brien the recognition they deserve for their part in the fight for Irish freedom by providing a state funeral.  I look forward to working with them to that end.”ENDS

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