Quinlivan seeks return of Limerick 1916 flag from London museum

Mike Dwane


Mike Dwane

Commemoration: Cllr Maurice Quinlivan
GREECES wants the Elgin Marbles back and Egypt is seeking the return of the Rosetta Stone.

GREECES wants the Elgin Marbles back and Egypt is seeking the return of the Rosetta Stone.

And now Cllr Maurice Quinlivan is demanding the repatriation of a tricolour seized by agents of Perfidious Albion in Limerick days after the Easter Rising in 1916.

The seven foot by six foot tricolour is an exhibit at the Imperial War Museum in London and the Sinn Fein councillor has written to that institution’s director Diane Lees requesting its return in time for the centenary of the rebellion.

The museum details that the flag had been seized from insurgents in Limerick on May 5, 1916 but Cllr Quinlivan said more research would have to be conducted into the circumstances.

“I was alerted to it through a person working for Jeremy Corbyn, the MP, but we don’t have the exact details on how it was seized,” said Cllr Quinlivan.

While the Volunteers were drilling in and around the city on Easter weekend, no shots were fired in Limerick in 1916, partly due to the confusion sown by Eoin McNeill’s order countermanding Padraig Pearse. A notice effectively cancelling the rising was published in the Sunday Independent the day before shots rang out in the GPO in Dublin.

“My own great grandfather (Stephen Kennedy) was a royalist at the time but his brother (Dominic) had mobilised,” said Cllr Quinlivan.

“My great grandfather at that time had a picture of the queen in the hallway. He had been in the British Army and fought in the Boer War but we were always told my great granduncle had mobilised (in 1916).”

Like many others, Stephen Kennedy had joined the republican cause after 1916 and was involved in burning the castle barracks during the Civil War, Cllr Quinlivan said.

The return of the flag, meanwhile, would be highly symbolic ahead of the 100th anniversary of 1916, according to Cllr Quinlivan.

“This flag should be returned to form a centrepiece of Limerick’s centenary commemoration in 2016.”

“I look forward to the flag being returned to Limerick where it rightfully belongs and where it will serve as a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and liberty for our freedom,” stated Cllr Quinlivan.