SDLP to support use of Irish on headstone in England

Wed, 17/02/2021 - 08:58 -- Editor

SDLP Leader and MP for Foyle Colum Eastwood has pledged his support to the family of Margaret Keane who are appealing against a decision that an Irish phrase on Margaret Keane’s gravestone in an English churchyard must be translated into English. 

Speaking following an event organised by the British Labour Party Irish Society, Colum Eastwood MP said: “Margaret Keane’s family have fought tirelessly for the past three years to allow an Irish phrase- ‘in ár gcroíthe go deo’- on Margaret’s headstone without the need for it to have an English translation. 

“The fact that the reason behind the disallowing of the message solely in Irish was that it ‘could be seen as a political statement’ is disappointing. I have no doubt that it has disheartened many Irish people in Britain who cherish their native language. The Irish language is not a political statement.

“The Irish language is inclusive and has been used by the Irish diaspora in Britain for hundreds of years to promote the richness of Irish culture and promote solidarity between Irish emigrants. The recent decisions taken by those in positions of authority have let down the wishes of Margaret’s family.

“In my opinion, the decision given to disallow the phrase solely in Irish was the incorrect decision, and it has caused hurt to Margaret’s family and to the broader Irish in Britain community, who have contributed to much to society through sport, music and literature. 

“I would ask that those in the Church of England’s ecclesiastical appeals court make the right decision at the end of the month to allow Margaret’s headstone to have the message in Irish without the need for a translation into English. 

“Margaret’s family and their campaign have my and the SDLP’s full support.”