Tories foiled plans to repatriate Casement’s body for years

Stonewalling ended when Harold Wilson took power in 1964 and revealed location of body

Taoiseach Sean Lemass,  minister for industry and commerce Jack Lynch and Department of Finance  secretary TK Whitaker leaving for London for a meeting with British prime minister Harold Wilson in November 1964.  Photograph: Jimmy McCormack/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Sean Lemass, minister for industry and commerce Jack Lynch and Department of Finance secretary TK Whitaker leaving for London for a meeting with British prime minister Harold Wilson in November 1964. Photograph: Jimmy McCormack/The Irish Times

Efforts to get Sir Roger Casement’s remains repatriated to Ireland were frustrated for years by Conservative governments led by Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home, Seán Lemass revealed.

However, the objections disappeared once Labour’s Harold Wilson took command in No 10 Downing Street in 1964. “As soon as we talked to Wilson all these objections disappeared overnight,” Lemass recalled.

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