Family win right to include Irish language epitaph on Coventry gravestone

Family win right to include Irish language epitaph on Coventry gravestone

The family of an Irish-born woman have won the right to include an Irish language epitaph without an English translation on her gravestone in Coventry.

Margaret Keane, who was born in Co Meath but lived in Coventry since the 1950s, was widely known for her dedication to the GAA in the UK.

Her family wanted to install a memorial stone featuring the words “In ár gcroíthe go deo”, which translate to “In our hearts forever”, but were refused permission last year by the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Coventry.

In a five-page judgment, Judge Stephen Eyre QC, chancellor of the Diocese of Coventry, said: “Not only would the message of the inscription not be understood but there is a risk of it being misunderstood.

“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.”

That decision was overturned last week by the Court of Arches, the appeal court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with a written judgment to follow.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Mary-Rachel McCabe of Doughty Street Chambers acted for the Keane family, instructed by Caroline Brogan of Irwin Mitchell.

Tim Moloney QC and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh, instructed by Raj Chada of Hodge Jones and Allen acted for the intervener, Conradh na Gaeilge i Londain, which filed evidence concerning the history of the Irish language in the Church of England and the importance of the language to the Irish community in Britain.

Share icon
Share this article: