Belfast Telegraph

Thomas Kent: UUP criticise Republic's state funeral held for executed 1916 rebel

Unionists have criticised a state funeral held today commemorating the death of executed rebel Thomas Kent in 1916.

Kent was one of 16 men executed in the aftermath of the rising.

The remains of the prominent republican were brought to Collins Barracks in Cork last night for family prayers and for members of the public to pay their respects.

He will be re-interred today in a family plot after full honours are bestowed on him at a service in St Nicholas's Church in Castlelyons.

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Ulster Unionist MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tom Elliott criticised the state funeral for Kent who was arrested at his home after a Royal Irish Constabulary officer was killed.

He said: "While there are many controversial anniversaries being remembered throughout this decade I think a state funeral for a terrorist after 100 years is a bit much for many decent people to accept.  

"A few weeks ago my Party colleague Councillor Stephen Nicholl rightly criticised the Irish Government for coming up with this insult to police officers everywhere.  Sadly Enda Kenny would rather glorify in a romanticised history than reflect on the message this gives to young men and women of the 21st Century.

"William Rowe, a Royal Irish Constabulary policeman with five children was viciously murdered while carrying out his duty, few would dispute that Thomas Kent was rightly convicted of the crime.

“Time has moved on and reinterring the remains in a family plot is a honourable act for his descendants to desire, however the state that now employs today’s police service should not glorify an individual whose contribution to history was to cause the violent death of a policeman carrying out his duties.”

The coffin will be removed from the army base today with military accompaniment to Cork Prison, where Kent was buried for almost 100 years, and where a private and formal removal service will take place after midday.

The route for the cortege will see it pass Kent Station in Cork city, named in honour of the executed rebel.

Several thousand people are expected to visit the barracks, line roads and travel to Castlelyons to witness various parts of the ceremonies.

Kent's remains were exhumed this year for DNA testing after descendants agreed to the offer of a State funeral.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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