UK

Labour MPs `stand shoulder to shoulder' with family over Irish headstone inscription ban

Margaret Keane died in 2018 and is buried near Coventry. Picture from Keane family/BBC
Margaret Keane died in 2018 and is buried near Coventry. Picture from Keane family/BBC Margaret Keane died in 2018 and is buried near Coventry. Picture from Keane family/BBC

LABOUR MPs have pledged to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the family of a woman denied an Irish inscription on her gravestone - with one offering help `in parliament and in the streets'.

The support came from members of the Labour Party Irish Society who hosted a Zoom meeting ahead of a an appeal against an ecclesiastical court ruling banning the phrase `In ár gcroíthe go deo' (In our hearts forever) from Margaret Keane's headstone.

Ms Keane died in 2018 and is buried in Exhall near Coventry.

The chancellor of the diocese said there was a risk that the phrase could be "seen as a political statement" given the "passions and feelings connected with the use of Irish Gaelic".

An appeal will be heard on February 24 at St Mary-Le-Bow Church in London.

The Zoom meeting - reported in the Irish Post - was attended by family members and the newly elected president of the GAA in Britain, Noel O'Sullivan.

It heard that nearby gravestones have inscriptions in Welsh, Latin, and Hebrew.

Liam Byrne, MP and former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said his father's 2015 grave "bears precisely the words that you seek to enshrine on Margaret's grave" and he is "standing shoulder to shoulder with you this morning... determined that your cause will prevail".

The family were told President Michael D Higgins is "well aware of the situation".

Labour MP Zarah Sultana said she was "very keen to help in any way that we can, whether it’s in parliament, whether it’s in the streets, wherever".