Anger has been expressed over the dumping of memorial plaques in St Mary’s Graveyard, to make way for a plaque to commemorate the Korean War.
The badly worded inaccurate Korean war plaque, displaying grammatical errors, commemorates the death of 130 (Should read 159 Irish Born, 30 soldiers, seven members of the Columban order and an Anglican nun.) Irish born unnamed persons which have no known association with Thurles town, was unveiled on March 2nd last by Korean native Mr Kim Yong Ho. Later the plaque was removed and re-erected more recently, displacing at least three small plaques previously erected by local Thurles residents, whose relatives are buried within the graveyard’s confines.
No Korean War victims are buried in the grounds of St Mary’s graveyard Thurles and indeed only one Tipperary soldier Sgt. TJ O’Brien a native of Ballyvistea, Emly was killed in Korea, and his body was never recovered. The now displaced plaques, erected by relatives of persons actually buried in this area, now accuse local councillors of attempting to raise their personal profiles in time for local elections brochures, due for production before next May.
According to the inscription on the plaque, same was erected by an organisation calling itself “Dúrlas Éile Eliogarty Memorial Committee,” whose members include Local Town Councillor’s Mr Jim Ryan, Mr David Doran, and Mr Noel O’Dwyer, together with Mr John Worth (President & PRO) and Mr Pat Walsh (Chairperson).
The local Church of Ireland community who share the grounds within the graveyard complex refused to comment on the removal of these memorials, other than to state that they had been contacted by concerned and angry individuals regarding this matter and had directed same to contact Thurles Town Council. They were also anxious to point out that they had in the past totally opposed the erection of this and other such plaques, which has by their presence destroyed and desecrated an area of immense historical importance.
The Church of Ireland Community also stated that the following written confirmation was received by them on the May 11th 2010, from North Tipperary Co Council via Thurles Town Council regarding planning permission, Quote; “In reply to your e-mail, I wish to confirm that we have no record of any planning applications for permission to erect memorials in the grounds of St Mary’s old graveyard, situated at St Mary’s lane, Thurles, Co.Tipperary.”
The Church of Ireland community confirm that threats of legal action expressed in some complaints made, should now be addressed to Thurles Town Council, latter Administrators of this historic fourteenth century burial ground.
Owners of the plaques dumped claim that no permission or indeed request was ever received by the committee responsible for their removal, and also claim this is a final indignity to those who in the past were unable to afford a simple headstone marker.