THE Church of England has issued a statement distancing itself from a controversial decision banning the use of the Irish language on a gravestone in a Coventry diocese.
The move follows the news that an Irish family in Coventry have been refused the right to inscribe their mother’s gravestone in Gaelic, as a diocesan court ruled the use of the Irish language without a translation could be seen as a “political statement”.
Westmeath native Margaret Keane and her husband Bernard have been prominent figures among the Irish community in Coventry, particularly the GAA scene, for many years.
Mrs Keane was a long-servng committee member with the Roger Casements GAA Club, until her death in July 2018.
When Margaret passed away, her family wanted her heritage reflected on her gravestone with the inscription “In ar gcroithe go deo” which translates as “in our hearts forever”.
This request was rejected following a Consistory court case and ruling from the Chancellor of Coventry – much to the despair of the family.
Now, the Church of England has issued a statement - which was accompanied with an image of a Celtic cross inspired gravestone – distancing themselves from the decision.
“This decision does not reflect any national Church of England policy,” they state.
They have also opened up the possibility that the Keane family may appeal the decision made on their mother’s headstone.
“This was a judgment from the consistory court of the Diocese of Coventry,” the statement explains.
“Consistory court judgements may, with permission, be appealed to the Provincial Court of the Archbishop, in this case the Arches Court of Canterbury.”
They add: “The Irish language is an important part of the heritage of the Church of England. It was, after all, Irish speaking monks in Lindisfarne and beyond who played a central role in establishing the Church in what is now England.”