Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

De Valera memorial bid revealed

Fianna Fail wanted the Royal Hospital Kilmainham dedicated as a national memorial to Eamon de Valera

Fianna Fail wanted the Royal Hospital Kilmainham dedicated as a national memorial to Eamon de Valera.

The party's Ard Comhairle wrote to two Taoisigh, Jack Lynch and Charles Haughey, in August 1979 and again in May 1980, asking for their views on a commemoration.

State papers from both years revealed Fianna Fail's de Valera Committee urged Mr Haughey to consider the Kilmainham site.

A letter from the late Seamus Brennan, Senator and the party's general secretary at the time, said the site would have to undergo some necessary changes to form a fitting memorial.

"It could be named as the Eamon de Valera Conference Centre and should have erected in the Square (or Plaza), a non-denominational chapel or church devoted to peace and reconciliation, using materials from each of the four provinces, and perhaps, from each of the EEC countries," he wrote.

"The Committee think that the use of this building as a memorial for de Valera would be particularly suitable in view of his stature as an international statesman and the recognition as such he earned throughout Europe."

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham was being used at the time for Government's centre for EEC meetings.

Mr Haughey acknowledged the idea but there is no evidence in the State file that it was taken any further.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham is now a conference centre and home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma).

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