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Friday, 1 March 2013

1 March 1965: Roger Casement's body was re-interred in Glasnevin Cemetery on this day. The Taoiseach Sean Lemass only announced this surprise move some days previously when he stated in Leinster House that:

I am very glad to announce to the Dáil that I have been informed by the British Prime Minister that his Government have recently decided to meet our request for the repatriation of the remains of Roger Casement.

As Deputies are aware, it was Casement's express wish that he should have his final resting place in Ireland, and it has long been the desire of the people of Ireland, shared by successive Irish Governments, that this wish be fulfilled.

A State funeral was immediately organised. Thus on a cold and sleety day Casement’s remains were brought out to Glasnevin for burial. President Eamon De Valera, against Doctors orders, took the stand to deliver a televised address to the Nation. He said that:

It required courage to do what Casement did, and his name would be honoured, not merely here, but by oppressed peoples everywhere, even if he had done nothing for the freedom of our own country.

He spoke that those assembled were privileged to be there and we were glad that Casement was back amongst us and that in future his grave would be a place of pilgrimage.

While this was something of a coup to get the British to release Casement’s body his dying wish was that he should be laid to rest in his beloved County Antrim and not in Dublin City. But the British Government had only released his remains on condition that they were re interred in Dublin and not in the North of Ireland. His remains for now anyway, are interred in Glasnevin Cemetary [above]. One day perhaps his favourite place in Ireland will indeed become his final repose.