Northern Ireland

GAA social club named in honour of Roger Casement launches campaign for return of remains to Co Antrim

Executed 1916 leader Roger Casement 
Executed 1916 leader Roger Casement 

A WEST Belfast GAA social club named in honour of Roger Casement is launching a campaign for the return of his remains to Co Antrim.

Mr Casement was executed in an English prison for his part in planning the Easter Rising in 1916.

Now members of Casement Social Club, which is based at Casement Park in west Belfast, are launching a campaign for his remains to be returned to the north.

Brought up in Co Antrim, Mr Casement was a former human rights activist and British diplomat.

He was involved in a failed attempt to import weapons from Germany which were to be used in the planned rising.

He was later arrested, tried and hanged at Pentonville Prison in London on August 3, 1916, before his remains were buried in quicklime in the jail's cemetery.

His dying wish was that his remains would be returned to Murlough Bay for burial there.

Crowds outside Bow Street court in London for the Roger Casement trial
Crowds outside Bow Street court in London for the Roger Casement trial

For decades the British government refused several requests for his remains to be handed over to Irish authorities.

Eventually in 1965 they were transferred on condition they were not brought north.

Mr Casement was later reinterred at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Casement Social Club member Jude Whyte said that wreaths will be laid at Murlough Bay, Glasnevin Cemetery and Banna Strand, where he was captured in Co Kerry in April 1916, this weekend.

A new mural supporting the campaign will also be launched at the social club on Saturday.

“This is step one on what could be a 50 year or five year campaign,” Mr Whyte said.

“This man is a danger to nobody, all we are doing is trying to bring a dead soul executed 104 years ago back to where he wants to be.”