Glasnevin Trust fixes fada on 1916 memorial wall

Group defends decision to list Andrew Cunningham as civilian, not Irish Volunteer

The corrected memorial wall at Glasnevin cemetery. The fada was originally over the first ‘i’ not the ‘E’  File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The corrected memorial wall at Glasnevin cemetery. The fada was originally over the first ‘i’ not the ‘E’ File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Glasnevin Trust has corrected the errant fada on its recently unveiled memorial wall and also defended its decision to list a member of the Irish Volunteers who died as a civilian.

The fada on Éirí Amach na Cásca 1916 was originally over the ‘i’ and not the capital ‘E’ but this was amended within 24 hours of it being pointed out to the trust which runs Glasnevin cemetery and museum.

The trust has also released a statement defending its decision to list Andrew Cunningham as a civilian.

Cunningham (24) from Pigeon House Road in Ringsend was one of the last to be killed in the Rising. He was shot on Ringsend Road on May 1st, 1916, two days after Patrick Pearse surrendered.

The historian Donal Fallon, who runs the popular history blog Come Here To Me!, said there was evidence from several sources that Cunningham had fought and died in the Easter Rising as an Irish Volunteer.

He was listed in the Bureau of Military History as having died in the Rising. Cunningham’s service was referenced in an edition of the Catholic Bulletin published in 1916, and in the Wolfe Tone annual on the 30th-anniversary of the rebellion, Mr Fallon pointed out.

In addition his grave marker in Deansgrange Cemetery which was replaced in 2013 by the National Graves Association states he was killed in action.

In response the trust said it has carried out extensive research into Cunningham and has concluded that he was a civilian during Easter Week.

The trust acknowledged that he had been listed in the Catholic Bulletin as being a member of the Irish Volunteers from the beginning. However, this did not necessarily suggest he was active during Easter Week, it stated.

Not listed

The trust pointed out that Cunningham was not listed in the military archives in 1957 as having died as a volunteer in the Rising; he was not included in the official list of casualties in 1966 compiled by the Irish Army and neither was he listed in the roll call of Irish Volunteers who died in the Rising which was called out on New Year’s Day at the State commemoration event in Dublin Castle.

In addition, Cunningham’s wife received £273 from the British government as compensation for his death which would not have been awarded to her if he had died as a Volunteer.

At the same time she was refused aid from the Irish National Aid Association and Volunteers Dependent Fund set up to aid Volunteer families bereaved in the Rising.

The military archives, which lists all those on the rebel side who died in the Rising, do not include him; neither does the government’s 1936 roll of honour.

The trust concluded that “no contemporary or definitive source has been brought forward that gives details of his death two days after the surrender, or that refers to him being killed in action while serving with the Irish Volunteers. “The available sources were examined without conjecture, assumptions or leaps of faith. There was a significant lack of evidence to suggest he was killed in action fighting with the Irish Volunteers.”

The memorial wall, which was unveiled in Glasnevin on Sunday, lists all 488 people who died in the Rising. It will also list everyone who died as a result of the War of Independence and the Civil War.

It has created some controversy with critics suggesting that British soldiers should not be honoured on the same wall as those who had fought for Irish freedom.