Anger At Moving Of Memorial Plaques In Thurles

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.

St Mary's

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.


2 comments to Anger At Moving Of Memorial Plaques In Thurles

  • Proinsias Barrett

    Sociologists would have a field day with this. The notion of co-opting and claiming public space, selective memory when dealing with the past, the frequently marginalised ambiguity in interpreting the meaning of memorials and the often passive acquiescence of an ill-informed play-along public.

    There is nothing wrong with remembering ultimate sacrifice is there?, giving up ones life willingly or unwillingly for a perceived greater good. But we have to ask who or what decides whether a cause is right or wrong. Do we know what the Korean war was about?

    American ww2 hero of the Pacific General Douglas MacArthur who led the United Nations forces in Korea began talking about detonating nuclear devices in both N.Korea and mainland China when the UN force was beaten back into S.Korea. Luckily he was relieved of his command and duties by then president Harry S. Trueman.

    All one has to do is look at the McCarty trials in the US during that time period to get a taste of the political mindset which in hind sight now seems totally ridiculous, the type of paranoia associated with tin-pot demagogues now consigned to the ‘historical embarrassments’ filing shelf.

    But I can tell you that that mindset hasn’t gone away or been consigned to embarrassing histories, frighteningly it often occupies the loftiest positions in the international halls of power politics and militarism.

    Remember the ‘flags’ sentiment in the US post 9-11? If you didn’t fly the Stars & Stripes on your property you were viewed with suspicion, often ostracised. When the French said they would wait for further confirmation of Iraq’s involvement in the twin towers the US media and opinion-manufacturers went into overdrive; French-fries became ‘Freedom’-fries overnight. Among the rank and file military preparing a little revenge, Iraqi’s became ‘sand niggers’ and the French army ‘surrender monkey’s’.

    How about a memorial to all the civilian ‘sand-niggers’ who have died for nothing at all supposedly.

    There were voices of reason, one quote I remember from the time was from a Dr Turner who said; ‘Flags are pieces of coloured cloth that governments use, first to shrink wrap peoples brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury them in’

    I love taking a look around St Mary’s when I am home in Thurles, I often wondered about the parishioners attending their services there having to pass by these huge artillery pieces (seemingly poised to begin shelling Thurles suburbs in the event of socio-political unrest of some sort)??.
    In fairness these pieces look as out of place in St Mary’s as that famous picture of the giant steel cargo ship sitting in the desert.

    I followed with interest the poppy debate which generated much public attention particularly in the UK when British World War Two veteran Harry Leslie Smith told the world in a Guardian article that he would no longer wear it.

    A few quotes from Harry;

    ‘I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy’.

    ‘I will declare myself a conscientious objector. We must remember that the historical past of this country is not like an episode of Downton Abbey where the rich are portrayed as thoughtful, benevolent masters to poor folk who need the guiding hand of the ruling classes to live a proper life’.

    ‘This is why I find that the government’s intention to spend £50m to dress the slaughter of close to a million British soldiers in the 1914-18 conflict as a fight for freedom and democracy profane’.

    ‘We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are often cited to justify it’ President John F.Kennedy.

    ‘There is a power, somewhere, so organised so subtle so watchful so interlocked so complete so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it’ President Woodro Wilson.

  • Michael

    I suppose we can expect the North Korea, supreme leader Kim Jong-un to visit next year in time for the local elections.

    In the name of God when will we be rid of patronising local councillors, and be instead provided with strong, capable and progressive new people, intelligent, untarnished and carrying no baggage. Look at what is being presented to us, already lined up for the forthcoming May elections. Please, I beg of you, no more gombeens.

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