The Rewind

Family In UK Stopped By Courts From Putting Irish Phrase On Mother's Gravestone

Family In UK Stopped By Courts From Putting Irish Phrase On Mother's Gravestone

A family in the UK have been told they will not allowed to put an Irish phrase on their mother's gravestone without an English translation, for fear it would be deemed a political statement by others.

As reported by the BBC, Caroline Newey wanted to put the phrase 'in ár gcroíthe go deo', translated as 'in our hearts forever', on her mother Margaret Keane's gravestone just outside of Coventry, who passed away two years ago.

However, an English court has ruled that the phrase cannot be placed by itself on the gravestone, and must be accompanied by an English translation.

Judge Stephen Eyre said that message would be 'unintelligible to all but a small minority of readers', and could be deemed as a political message due to the fact it is in Irish:

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.

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Margaret Keane was born in Ireland, but moved to the UK with her husband Bernie where they raised their family.

She was heavily involved in the local GAA community, with her daughter also wanting to include a Celtic cross and GAA emblem on the monument.

The judge ruled that the phrase in Irish could only be included if it was a accompanied by an English translation, something Mrs. Newey said would 'overcomplicate and crowd' the memorial.

The judge said his belief was that a message the majority of onlookers could not read would be 'unlikely to be appropriate'.

Bernadette Martin, another of Margaret's children, said the judgement had been an upsetting one for their family:

It is a gift and it had to be right - to represent her and us as a family. It was devastating that we couldn't have a meaningful gravestone.

It suspended the grieving process. We have no final memorial for her yet...

We are an Irish Catholic family and are immersed in that culture.

But we are also totally assimilated into English culture and society. It was equally important to our parents that we fit in.

Our Irish is not political. It is much more sentimental than that. We did not feel we were making any statement, other than love for our mother.

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The judgement has unsurprisingly not gone down well, with comedian Dara O'Briain explaining the ignorance of the decision.

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Gary Connaughton

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