Family granted right to appeal decision banning Gaelic inscription on mother's grave

Family granted right to appeal decision banning Gaelic inscription on mother's grave

AN Irish family battling to overturn a court’s decision barring an inscription in Gaelic on their mother’s headstone have been granted permission to appeal the ruling.

The Coventry-based family of Meath woman Margaret Keane want “In ár gcroíthe go deo”, which means 'In our hearts forever', inscribed on her gravestone.

Co. Meath native Margaret Keane died in 2018 (Pic: Chris Egan)

In May the Chancellor of the Diocese of Coventry, Stephen Eyre QC, ruled the phrase could not be allowed in the Irish language without a translation, as it could be deemed to be a “political statement” or some kind of “slogan”.

He also refused permission to appeal his judgment, forcing the family to apply for permission to appeal from the Arches Court of Canterbury.

The Arches Court has now granted permission to appeal the decision.

The decision of the newly appointed Dean of the Arches, Morag Ellis QC, to allow the appeal means the family’s legal team, including solicitor Caroline Brogan at Irwin Mitchell and barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Mary-Rachel McCabe of Doughty St Chambers, can now take the next step in the legal process.

The lawyers have agreed to act on a free of charge basis and will now prepare for an appeal hearing at the Arches Court of Canterbury.

Margaret Keane's grave at St Giles Church in Coventry

Margaret’s daughters, Bez Martin and Caroline Newey, said: “We are delighted that the Arches Court of Canterbury is allowing our appeal to be heard.

“All we have ever wanted is to honour our Mother’s memory in the most fitting way possible.”

They added: “Her Irish heritage was very important to her and the words we have carefully and lovingly chosen as a family reflect that. We hope the Arches Court of Canterbury will allow us to finally mark her resting place in the way we wish.”

Margaret Keane's husband Bernie, with their children, Michael, Donna, Bernadette and Vincent (PIC: Chris Egan)

Caroline Brogan, the solicitor representing the family, said: “We welcome the decision of the Arches Court of Canterbury, which now allows us to move onto the appeal.

“The family never imagined when they filled in a simple form for a memorial that it would put them in such a situation. There is no quick way of reversing the original decision but today’s ruling is an important step. “

Last month, with the support of the Irish community in Britain and beyond, the family held a successful online concert, headlined by Sean Cannon of the Dubliners, which has attracted over 12,000 views online, to fundraise for the Margaret Keane Memorial Fund.

The Margaret Keane Memorial Fund can be found here.