England: Woman loses court battle over Irish epitaph without translation

England: Woman loses court battle over Irish epitaph without translation

A woman has lost a court battle in England over her right to include an Irish language epitaph without an English translation on her mother’s gravestone.

A petition was brought to the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Coventry, a type of ecclesiastical court with statutory footing, by the daughter of Margaret Keane.

Mrs Keane, who was born in Ireland but lived in Coventry, was active in the work of the GAA in Coventry and across the UK, performing an “important public service to the Irish community in the United Kingdom”.

Her daughter wanted to install a memorial stone featuring a Celtic cross, including at its centre the emblem of the GAA, and the words “In ár gcroíthe go deo”, which translate to “In our hearts forever”.

However, Judge Stephen Eyre QC, chancellor of the Diocese of Coventry, said he could not permit an inscription without translation “which will be unintelligible for all but a small minority of readers”.

“Not only would the message of the inscription not be understood but there is a risk of it being misunderstood,” he wrote in his five-page judgment.

“Given the passions and feelings connected with the use of Irish Gaelic there is a sad risk that the phrase would be regarded as some form of slogan or that its inclusion without translation would of itself be seen as a political statement.”

Judge Eyre dismissed the petition but authorised the issuing of a faculty for a similar memorial stone including the Irish language phrase as well as a translation.

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