Enda opts for a state funeral, John A gets in a lather


It’s started. Only the other day I predicted (yes I do get the occasional one right) that the Fine Gael/Fianna Fail politicians in the south were going to have a hard time commemorating/celebrating Easter 1916, while continuing their barrage of criticism against the  political violence that went on here for several decades. It seems that Enda and chums have, for now, joined the ranks of the if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them brigade. As today’s Irish Times makes clear, there will be a state funeral next month for 1916 rebel Thomas Kent. The Taoiseach has said the State will be “pleased to be able to offer the honour of a State funeral” to the descendants of Mr Kent, who was executed in Cork Prison in May 1916. “Thomas Kent was one of many young men who,in pursuit of the goal of Irish freedom, paid the ultimate sacrifice”.

Kent  was arrested after a gun fight between the RIC and Kent at his family home. One of Kent’s brothers and an RIC head constable were killed in  the exchange.  Kent was tried by court martial, found guilty and executed by firing squad on 9 May 1916.

Not everyone agrees with Enda’s move. That vocal anti-republican, former Professor John A Murphy: “We could do without another manifestation of this morbid, self-indulgent nationalist propensity” the Cork   ex-Professor says. We’ll take that as a thumbs-down then, John A.

It’s easy to see what’s worrying Enda. When the remains of Kevin Barry were exhumed and buried in Glasnevin cemetery, the streets of Dublin were black with people silently watching the funeral procession. It’s perfectly possible that the transfer of Thomas Kent’s remains from what was the prison to the family plot in North Cork will have a similar effect. If you’re giving this kind of attention and respect to a man who clearly was committed to violence, and in this case violence against fellow-countrymen in the RIC, you’re running the risk of people thinking you approve of this class of carry-on.  John A says he’s agin it because it’s morbid, etc. He thinks it’d be better to leave the man where he is and erect a “suitable monument” there.  That way, the whole thing could slip in and out of the public consciousness without much hoo-ha.

John A, as a historian, knows the dangers of the transfer of remains – think O’Donovan Rossa. Enda thinks that if he can  present himself as a man full of respect for the heroes of 1916, he’ll have shot Sinn Féin’s fox, so to say. We’ll know next month which of the two stout anti-Shinners is right.

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17 Responses to Enda opts for a state funeral, John A gets in a lather

  1. Bridget Cairns August 14, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    at least that is consistent with his viewpoint, however, I am more interested in how Eoghan Harris et al in the Shinndependent square this particular circle.

  2. philip kelly August 14, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    as this is most welcome the real question is why did it take 100 yrs to have his remains removed and reburied in a Christian grave and not a jail yard plot , was/is the establishment so scared of their history that it was/ is better to be ignored as they did with the teaching of Irish history O and yes did J A Murphy teach Michael Martin as he proclaims to be a history teacher!!!!

  3. Iolar August 14, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    State-sponsored jamborees

    Another darling of a word Joxer. A jamboree may be defined as a large celebration or party, typically a lavish and boisterous one or a large rally of scouts or guides.

    According to the director of the Parnell Summer School, Felix Larkin,

    “Historians study the past: we ask what actually happened, how it happened, why it happened and why it had the effect that it had…We don’t celebrate past events – shamelessly or otherwise. We are neutral observers and we are uneasy, or at least we should be uneasy, when faced with State-sponsored jamborees relating to historical anniversaries.”

    What actually happened? Would a neutral observer commence his/her review with legislation such as the Statutes of Kilkenny 1366 which sought to reassert English culture among English settlers in Ireland? Too far back, maybe the Penal Laws 1695? The Act Of Union in 1800? The Government of Ireland Act 1920?

    The past is still alive and well in the present. A contender for the leadership of the British Labour Party, Liz Kendall warned of a perception that Mr Corbyn was sympathetic to the IRA and it would make it harder to maintain peace in Northern Ireland. (Birmingham Post 13 August 15) Perhaps Ms Kendall should focus on Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and the delay in publishing the Chilcot Report on the war in Iraq. Neutral observers might reflect on the words of Desmond Tutu

    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

  4. Perkin Warbeck August 14, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Allowances, one feels, Esteemed Blogmeister, ought to be made for the Professor Emeritus of Detritus Studies, Queen’s College, Rebel County. Old age allowances.

    After all, it’s not every year that one slim man by the at-swim-three word name of J. Augustine Murphy (for it is he !) reaches the ripe old age of Two Fat Ladies. That would be, in bingo lingo, 88. Ripe old age is right: r.o.a. Or, if one chose to put a chorus to it: Ooh, ahh, up the r.o.a.!

    The crux of the current controversy revolves around the name of the main railway station in Cork City, like: Kent Station. Many myths have been nurtured down through the years about the Kent in question. Not least by the Shinners, so called because of their preordained tendency to shin up the wrong historical tree.

    It is their incorrect (as always) contention that the station is named for/after Thomas Kent, the 1916 leader who actually,if anything, belonged to the Fairyhouse Tradition. If one is to judge by his decision to stay at home along with his three brothers on that fateful Easter and save his breath to cool the Porridge of his Ardour (short odds fav for the .2.30).

    When the RIC, as was well within their rights, called on the Kent household in County Cork to arrest the resting brothers, all hell, in the form of a gun fight, broke out. For four hours the shootout lasted between the four Kent brothers on the inside of the OK corral and the Sheriff’s men on the outside.

    There were two fatalities as a result of this row,one on each side: the Sheriff Rowe and one of the Kent brothers. Although their house was located in Castlelyons, this brother was not called Cecil but rather, Richard.

    Another brother, the one called Thomas was later stationed at dawn against a high wall and perforated by a firing squad in the name of the King. Long sieve the King !

    According to the Emeritus Professor of Detritius Studies,this is the origin of the dopey myth about Kent and the station.

    And no better man than J.A.M. for putting up his myths and wading into the roped square that is the Letters Column of the Daily Planet, oops, The Unionist Times.

    As he is now entitled to Free Travel / Saor Thaisteal on the Orange Blossom Special which links the Second and the First Cities of the Free Southern Stateen, J.A.M. is a regular commuter on the Dawn Special which plies the one track line between Cork and Dublin.

    (JAM’s hero incidenbally is JEM, as in Jem Roche who fought Tommy Burns for the World Heavyweight Championship in the Theatre Royal on Liffeyside on St. Patrick’s Day, 1908. That this bout lasted just (gulp) 88 seconds may have something to do with JAM’s hero worship. Seemingly, too, JAM is under the impression that JEM was successful. But, then, as has been counselled, allowances ought to be made. So, whist / fanaimis in ar dtost).

    And just as there is a seat reserved for the VIP OAP.on the Dawn Special so also is there a space reserved in the Letters page of the Dailly Planet, oops, The Unionist Times for him.

    Thus, he passes the three hour train journey composing his legendary three line letters which he knows are guaranteed and quarantined publication. If the journey were any longer no doubt he would have the time to compose a far shorter letter. But time is of the essence on the bullet point express known as the Orange Blossom Special. And so a long winded three liner must suffice.

    Regarding the letter in q. after pointing out that the ‘archaeological dig devoted to discovering remains’ of the gunsliger T.-bone Kent ‘is ill-conceived and undignified’ his penultimate line refers to yet another ‘manifestation of this morbid, self-indulgent nationalist propensity’.

    In his punchline PS the Professor Emeritus of Detritus Studies melodramatically reveals, just as the train is pulling in to its destination, Kingsbridge Station (no Heuston here, try Texas, hicks and other hillbillies !) the station of origin is actually named, in a bizaree twist of the lion’s tail, after not one but TWO of the signatories of the 1916 proclamation: Clarke Ceant !

    Shouting as he zimmerframes down the corridor to the train’s powder room: ‘This is a job for Superman !’.

    To emerge, moments later, with his underpants on the outside, having dispensed with his bland business suit, his mild manner, Cork-red neck tie and his horn-rimmed glasses, to reveal his snazzy undershirt emblazoned with ‘S’ across his manly chest.

    (That would be ‘S’ for Shoneen, incidentally).

    On the platform shoes of Kingsbridge Station he is met by Lois ‘Inside’ Lane, the letters editoress of the Daily Planet, oops, The Unionist Times, and delivered to the editorial office of same, just in time for the deadline for following day’s edition.

    Phew, followed by Pow !

    To conclude: it has been another not uneventful week for the Shinners. After been called a ‘cult’ by the Fianna Failures at the top of the week they end up being branded as ‘a bunch of Kents’ and/ or a ‘collection of Ceants’.

    Little wonder they are given to wearing their, erm, eponymous shin guards.

    • Jude Collins August 14, 2015 at 11:27 am #

      ” After been called a ‘cult’ by the Fianna Failures at the top of the week they end up being branded as ‘a bunch of Kents’ and/ or a ‘collection of Ceants’.” – How do you do it, Perkin? Dazzling!

  5. Francis August 14, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Political opportunism/panic. Prof Murphy…..it is not relevant to Eamon Kent, but I really wish the eminent professor would relocate to somewhere in the six north eastern counties. His lofty speculations are the convoluted, and patronising remonstrations’ of a haughty country school master. Perhaps if he understood realities on the ground, his understanding of Irish conflict might resonate with something remotely relevant. That his admonitions remain distant, unfortunately may not restrict his capacity to influence. Live in Larne Murphy. Live in Larne and talk about religious civil and religious liberty, the one the loyal Orders talked about before grinding the majority of the population under their heel, and implemented the Penal Laws. Take Mary Mc Aleese with you Murphy, and after a year, tell us what you think of the positive spin put on Orangism, she seems to have lost her memory of living cheek by jowl with such a malevolent influence. One day the dog will shake its fleas, til then we have Gibson, Mc Causeland, Chissick and the focused and oh so very tolerant indulgences of the Murphys and Mc Aleeses of Ireland.

    • Bridget Cairns August 14, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

      Francis, grt idea, why don’t so called historians experience “history” in action. History is not in the future, it is in the here and now.

    • KopperbergCentral August 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      “One day the dog will shake its flea” Sounds sinister. Is the spirit of 1641 still rattling around? If there was ever a United Ireland, the UN would need to police it to stop attitudes like that turning into bloody actions

      • Francis August 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

        I am certainly Not talking of some sort of Ethnic Cleansing!!! My Grandfather and his Family were burnt out of their house in Larne in the 1930s. The nationalist community have suffered to date discrimination, and so many forced from the town. The UDAs not so distant Pipe bombing of Catholic residents, further squeezed the “Papist” Community there. History alive, as Bridget adroitly pointed out. Try perhaps a Parade commemorating the Upstanding Citizens in Larne from the Catholic Community who lost their lives or homes, and have a healing ecumenical inclusivity offered to Unionists and the coveted Orange Lodges, and see will they join in a spirit of solidarity that such atrocious Sectarianism never be allowed to happen again…………the silence would be deafening, and the opposition intense.

        That the Dog will one day shake its fleas, is a forlorn hope at present, though a hope nonetheless, that the Unionists, and Protestants will one day shake off the scourge of the parasites that ensconce their lives and conditioning. The paramilitaries Unabashedly marching through Larne or elsewhere, are one thing abhorrent to the minority Community there, but another thing more importantly, is that Protestants themselves will rid themselves of the Paramilitary Orange Culture, the Drug Dealers/Death dealers who perpetuate this ongoing and abysmal cycle.

        In the Spirit of William Orr, Robert Emmet, the Rev Samuel Steel Dixon, William Drennan, Henry Joy and Wolf Tone, I hope fervently for Unionist/Protestant people to engage and realise this Most noble of traditions, and unite once more in a spirit of the United Irishmen, and shake these Fleas for the sake of harmony and equity.

        It may be called a forlorn hope presently, but it is a hope I strongly, indeed fervently which to cone to fruition.

      • Ryan August 15, 2015 at 5:14 am #

        I very much doubt the spirit of 1641 is still around KopperbergCentral but you can be absolutely certain the spirit of 1690 still is.

    • Willie D. August 14, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Have I missed something, has Larne become an independent Republic where nobody has any civil or religious liberty? Just wondered as I was in a shop there yesterday and everything seemed normal !!! Sorry, I ‘m just in a facetious mood.

  6. michael c August 14, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    They’ll be calling Gerry a “count” next!

  7. TheHist August 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    A state funeral for Thomas Kent, proposed by the Irish government? The 51 year old avid Sinn Fein supporter, Gaelic leaguerer, Irish Volunteer recruit, anti WW1 activist – reguarly at Anti recruitment demonstrations, opposed to politics of John Redmond, present at the funeral of Jeremiah O’Dnovan Rossa (this one is ok as the state celebrated this too) and once calling himself a “soldier of the Irish Republic”, sentenced to death for his “part in an armed rebellion…for the purpose of assisting the enemy.” Enda as well as supporting what you would deem a “terrorist”, you would probably also clasify Thomas as a “criminal” – as he spent time in jail due to intimidation, agitation and caught in possession of weapons and ammunition, all before the Easter Rebellion – at one court appearance slamming his hand whilst staring at the judge in the eyes, yelling, “God save Ireland.” A life spent harrased by the Royal Irish Constabulary, under constant survelliance – wonder why he would react so furiously! I’m starting to worry about you Enda – do you know your History, Mr Taoiseach!?

    Enda Kenny’s rebel blood must be starting to pump around his body or political opportunism is running through his blood – think I will settle fot the latter! On the scale of things, Enda surely has plans then for the other 15 rebels whom, like Thomas Kent, had sympathetic Republican beliefs, fought against the imperialist regime, supported the Easter Rebellion (could be argued Casement wanted Rising prosponed) and were subsequently court martialled and executed by the British! Or, more likely – he has no plans! We shall await …

    “Thomas Kent was one of many young men who, in pursuit of the goal of Irish freedom, paid the ultimate sacrifice” … like many others Enda … so tell me, how and when are you going to celebrate their lives? Oh that’s right, you only celebrate those where political gain can be made! Its a pity, that someone who gave their lives for Irish freedom and who stood up against British injustices is being held in such high regard by a state that no longer even contemplates the notion of a free Ireland, and whom for so long turned their backs on the very people who continued the legacy as laid down by people like Thomas Kent – shame on them!

  8. Colmán August 14, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    Is John Murphy one of these revisionist historians then? Perhaps in the future some historian might be able to deconstruct the reasons why revisionism came about and revise history all over again.

  9. Séamus Ó Néill August 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    I can only imagine that the Ireland envisioned by Thomas Kent was a completely different land than the one which we inhabit today. The ” Enda Kenny’s” of this world , though “cock-sure” of themselves in their own gombeen environment , fade into insignificance when confronted with the reality ….. True Independence has yet to be achieved …….what the men of ’98 , the men of 1916 , the Hunger Strikers ….all the true Irishmen fought for was not a compromised land ….(.a land where we do Britain’s bidding , where we grovel to multi-national corporations ,where we charge for what nature has provided.)..but a land where we nurture our young ,encourage our youth and respect and care for our elderly… every single person irrespective of race ,sexuality or creed

  10. Brian Patterson August 19, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    The redoubtable professor is still JAMming on on his usual one-tune penny whistle playing Brittania Rule Hibernia.
    Speaking of exhumations, the old Prof. was instrumental in having exhumed and putting on public display a statue of the Famine Queen which had lain buried unmourned, forgotten and undisturbed in the grounds of UCC for the best part of a century.(Luckily most visitors mistake it for Our Lady of Limerick) Funny when Iraqis Romanans, (East) Germans or Poles pulled down statues of foreign or homegrown tyrants, the Irish Media joined in the western media’s praise of their iconaclastic ardour; however when Irish revisionists/West Brits arbitrarily restore icons of foreign occupiers, the same media praises our “maturity”.

    • Jude Collins August 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      Maith thú, Brian – point well taken.