Madam – In a recent article, it was suggested by John-Paul McCarthy, in relation to Margaret Thatcher, that “Kenmare could surely spare a small plaque for her ancestors”.
Kenmare did unveil a plaque on Easter Saturday, two weeks before the death of Margaret Thatcher. Along with the Minster for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, I unveiled an exact replica of the 1916 Proclamation which was blessed by the Church of Ireland reverend. A colour party of the Irish Army attended the ceremony in Kenmare to show respect for those who had served before them. Also unveiled was a monument to commemorate all those who took part in the War of Independence. Engraved forever in Valentia slate are the names of the members of the Kerry No 2 Brigade who participated in the Headford Ambush.
The organising committee of the Kenmare ‘Easter Week’ Gathering included the local secondary school, chamber of commerce, those of all religious beliefs and all political shades. The group had as its core principle that the Proclamation, Easter Week and the War of Independence can best be defined by what we were fighting for – not who we were fighting against.
The people of the area attended in their hundreds to show pride in and respect for those who had brought such honour, by their courage and commitment. However, given the legacy in the northern part of our island, a legacy which did not meet her own aims of harmony, truth, faith and hope, it is easy to understand, with such a record, why we would not have the same pride for our distant native daughter as we have for others from our community. May she rest in peace.
Senator Mark Daly,
Leinster House, Dublin 2