AN anti-Irish court ruling barring a family from inscribing a Gaelic phrase on their mother’s gravestone has today been overturned.
Following her death in 2018, Margaret Keane’s family had intended to inscribe the words ‘In ar gcroithe go deo’, meaning ‘In our hearts forever’, on the headstone that will mark her final resting place.
The Co. Meath native had moved to Coventry in her younger years and set deep roots in her local community with her husband Bernie, where they raised six children.
But in May 2020 a Church of England ecclesiastical court ruled that the family’s intended phrase must be accompanied by a translation, because it could be deemed “political” without one.
Their appeal to have that decision overturned was heard today at St Mary-Le-Bow Church in London, led by the family’s legal team.
Barrister Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC led the legal submissions on behalf the Keane family with her team, fellow barrister Mary-Rachel McCabe and solicitor Caroline Brogan.
All three were acting pro bono.
The hearing also featured a submission from Conradh Ni Gaelige London, who acted as a third-party intervener for the family.
Following a full day in court, which began at 9.30am and finished just before 6pm, the judge informed the family of their intention to grant their appeal.
A full judgement from the hearing will be released in a few weeks.
Confirming the outcome, the Keane family tweeted: "The court has announced that our appeal be granted! A full judgement will be issued in due time! And as the day started we leave with a prayer. Thank you Thank you.”
The court has announced that our appeal be granted ! A full judgement will be issued in due time ! And as the day started we leave with a prayer. Thank you Thank you ! #MessageToMargaret
— Message To Margaret - Inár gcroíthe go deo (@My_Mums_Voice) February 24, 2021
Celebrating the long-awaited win, which comes nearly a year after the now overturned judgement was made, barrister Mary-Rachel McCabe posted an image of the legal team with two of Margaret's daughters outside St Mary-Le-Bow church, claiming she was “delighted” with the outcome,
“So DELIGHTED that the Court of Arches has allowed our clients’ appeal & they can finally have an Irish-only inscription on their mum’s headstone,” she tweeted.
“It’s disgraceful they ever had to go through this process but I am so glad our all-women, all-Irish legal team did them proud.”
So DELIGHTED that the Court of Arches has allowed our clients’ appeal & they can finally have an Irish-only inscription on their mum’s headstone.
It’s disgraceful they ever had to go through this process but I am so glad our all-women, all-Irish legal team did them proud!💪🏻☘️💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/SIoV1lwE1T
— Mary-Rachel McCabe (@MaryRachel_McC) February 24, 2021
The family – who had hoped to have a judgement from the court in time for St Patrick’s Day – can now proceed with their headstone as planned, after three long years.