HL Deb 23 February 1965 vol 263 cc701-2

3.37 p.m.


My Lords, this might be a convenient moment to repeat a Statement which is being made by the Prime Minister in the other place, in answer to a Question about the return to the Irish Republic of the remains of Sir Roger Casement. I think it would be convenient if I were to use the Prime Minister's own words. They are as follows:

"Her Majesty's Government have now completed their examination of this matter, and in response to a request from the Government of the Irish Republic have informed them that they are agreeable to authorising the removal to the Republic of the remains of Roger Casement. The Government of the Republic have informed Her Majesty's Government of their decision to reinter the remains in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, and of their intention that they should rest there. Arrangements have been made with the Government of the Republic for the remains to be transferred to Dublin to-day."


My Lords, may I say how much I welcome this Statement. Whatever one thinks of the later actions of Roger Casement, the services which he rendered in Africa and South America were outstanding for human liberty; and even his later actions were based on patriotism. I am speaking principally because I happened to be in Pentonville Prison on the evening before Roger Casement was executed. I heard a noise outside my cell; I stood on my stool, and there was Roger Casement saying goodbye in the sunset in a very beautiful little garden. One felt almost a spiritual unity with him in those last moments. I am perfectly sure that this decision will be welcomed by the people of Southern Ireland, and I congratulate the Government upon it.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his acceptance and welcome of this step, and for the moving words he has addressed to the House.