Pádraic Mac Coitir ✒ Seamus Mc Aloran wrote the following piece which is very interesting. I'm going to write something which supports his opinion
As we prepare to bury another republican, Oglach Paddy Mo Burnside, from the New Lodge area, I would like to highlight a practice, which I believe is discriminatory and which needs to be challenged. This involves the removal of the national flag from the coffins of deceased republicans before they are carried into the church, sometimes in atrocious weather conditions. I think this is disrespectful to the deceased and the national flag.
This came to a head for me at the wake and funeral in October of Oglach Davy Saunders. Davy had the national flag on his coffin and was to have a Requiem Mass in St Patrick's but the family was told that the flag would not be allowed on the coffin for his Requiem. Davy had instructed his family that if the flag was to be removed then he didn't want to be brought into the church and as a result, prayers were said outside the house and he didn't get a Requiem Mass.
I met the priest on the way to the funeral and challenged him as to why the national flag had to be removed and the reply was a curt, "it's not allowed". I informed the priest that it was allowed and highlighted some funerals where the flag was allowed to remain on the coffins of deceased republicans. As we were on our way to the funeral I left it at that.
I then challenged this decision in writing to the parish of St Patrick's, as I think it is discriminatory and is a rights issue. In the priest's reply, he tried to use church law as the reason (Sacrosanctum Concilium) and other church laws. When I challenged this to be not true, I was then told it was "Diocesan Policy".
The truth of the matter is that when the smokescreen of Sacrosanctum Concilium etc is removed other factors are at play in not allowing the flag on the coffin to enter the church. I believe it to be a political decision, indeed I have documentary evidence that it is political. I believe, even in death parishioners and their families are being discriminated against because of their political beliefs.
The priest in his final reply stated that any funerals that he was involved in, where the flag was taken off the coffin, "these families have been very happy with that, none found this unacceptable".
I have attended many funerals of deceased republicans and I don't know of any relatives who were happy with this decision. Some have reluctantly gone along with it, in order to have the Requiem Mass, while others have chosen to forgo the mass rather than remove the flag.
I do not believe that relatives in their grief should have this pressure put upon them. It's time this discriminatory practice was stopped and I have informed the parish that once Christmas is over, I am organising a campaign against it. Republicans in other areas are willing to come on board to help the campaign
In the age of parity of esteem, as 2022 approaches this practice must cease.
This is what I, Pádraic MacCoitir, wrote:
Firstly, I've written a lot on the site Séamus posted his piece but they've either been edited or weren't published.
Secondly I never met Paddy Mo but have heard a lot about him. Even during my time on the blanket protest when he was in a different block his name was mentioned. Perhaps it was because some of the lads I was on the wing with were from the New Lodge.
Getting to the main point Séamus wrote about. I've been involved in many funerals, republican and nationalist, and have always said if a person or their family want a flag on their coffin they're entitled to it.
Irish Republicans in recent years for the most part are catholics but more like myself are atheists. So I won't go anywhere near a church when my funeral takes place. The catholic church here in Ireland, Spain, Italy and many other so called catholic countries has supported fascists and they continue to be very conservative.
They brought in one of their 'laws' in 1981 (which had nothing to do with Ireland) whereby only those 'of importance' could be admitted into a church with a flag on their coffin.
I was a member of the National Graves Association for number of years and was chair of it and during those years I, and a minority of us, challenged the catholic church over the issue of flags on coffins in churches.
I would argue that if the families of those wanting a flag on the coffin of their loved ones going into a catholic church they should demand it happens.
I agree one hundred per cent withReplyDelete
Padraic. Did the Catholic church not facilitate the Nazis down the "rat run" to South America, namely Argentina and Paraguay among others? They had just murdered upwards of 6,000,000 people and the so-called holy church assists them in their escape. Then, they have the nerve to tell republicans they cannot have the national flag draped over their coffin on entering a church. Would they have refused Eoin O'Duffy, Irish fascist, the flag? I have seen the same oppossition to republican socialists having the starry plough over the coffin before entering church. It is wrong, though I often wondered why revolutionary marxists would want to enter a church in the first place.
I think the first instance of this practice occurring was in December 1975, when the parish priest of St Paul's on the Falls Road refused to allow the coffin of Basil Fox into the church unless the flag was removed. After a stand off, priests at Clonard Monastry invited the Fox Family to have the service at the Monastry. The practice was then escalated to deprive families of graveside sermons. Other priests stepped up and offered to conduct the sermon.ReplyDelete
My point is it is purely about godly men exercising their political bias or prejudice, not on the dead but on the living. I say that because I don't think the dead much care but the friends and families do, and that is who is being targeted.
I remember the day Basil and Laura died. I came up Castle Street on my way home that evening.Delete
This leads on to the question of flags in the future. Quite clearly the Irish Tricolour has no space for the PUL community on it as it's clear it's a Republican only symbol.ReplyDelete
No shouts of protest about it being draped over coffins from the Southern media or populace either.
even if it is an exclusively republican symbol, what odds? Are Chelsea flags to be banned because they are exclusively Chelsea and have no resonance for the Liverpool support base?Delete
Funerary ritual should complement the lives people led. If Davy Saunders or Paddy Mo Burnside wanted a tricolour on their coffins, then I see no reason for it to be denied.
If loyalist activists want the Red Hand of Ulster flag or the Union Jack over their coffins, what possible business is it of mine?
I want nothing over mine. Even less do I want trundled into any chapel.
I suppose it matters not a jot to the one in the casket! But I take your point, it is no real business of anyone else but the families. I always found it a bit gaudy either way.Delete
Steve, Nobody is asking people from the PUL community to have a tricolour draped over their coffins. I do not see the relavence of this argument. The GFA states respect for each others cultural identities, so how does a tri colour over a dead republicans coffin affect the PUL community?ReplyDelete
Wasn't the orange supposed to represent the huns?
It's very important to families and I have witnessed the upset caused when it is not allowed.ReplyDelete