'Absolute disgrace' OPW doesn't honour Roscrea's Civil War dead

RCDC calls for the 'Roscrea Four' to be recognised

'Absolute disgrace' OPW doesn't honour Roscrea's Civil War dead

Ireland's Office of Public Works (OPW) is a ‘disgrace’ if it doesn't allow local people to honour Roscrea's war dead, heard the June meeting of the Roscrea Community Development Council (RCDC).

On December 23rd, 1922, four Tipperary men, Frederick Bourke, Martin O’Shea, Patrick Russell (aged 17), and Patrick Kennedy were executed by the Free State Army during the turmoil following the Anglo Irish Treaty.

However, there is no mention of their executions, and no plaque or memorial recognises the events, heard members at the meeting.

Roscrea native Tommy Murphy told Chairman John Lupton that he was told by the Office of Public Works (OPW) that erecting the Proclamation of 1916 would “dilute and confuse” the history of the Castle. It is the OPW which controls the tourist element of the Castle and decides what history should be shown in the town, said Mr Murphy.

“No one could tell the executions even took place at all. At least let us put a plaque on the wall. It’s about the men who were executed. It’s a total disgrace that one body can overrule the people of Roscrea. The Minister should be made to answer why we cannot put the Proclamation in the Castle, or on the wall.”

Chairman John Lupton said “it’s an absolute disgrace.” The heritage and tourism product should reflect the wishes of the people of Roscrea.

The OPW have a restoration role, and it’s a “dilution” of the Castle’s history to not mention the men who were executed and buried there. “It’s 2017 now, and the Proclamation is not up anywhere in public,” added Mr Murphy.

The problem with dealing with the OPW is “talking to functionaries” and not the senior staff who set policy, said Mr Lupton. Warren Dunne (SF) said he emailed the OPW and received a response, but months later, received another email stating “they had never received any email”.