Republican News · Thursday 18 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Adams unveils Kent Memorial in Cork

Gerry Adams was the guest speaker at the unveiling of a memorial to 1916 martyr Thomas Kent at Kent station in Cork city at the weekend. The Kent Memorial was commissioned and erected by a committee of railway workers at Cork's Kent station and was unveiled by Kathleen Kent, a niece of Thomas Kent.

Addressing the large crowd in bright sunshine, Adams paid tribute to the Kent family. ``The Kents were fine people, people who took a stand, people who were principled and who because of thes were in and out of prison.

``It is worthwhile to try and imagine what it was like to be alive at that time. To be standing at the grave of O'Donovan Rossa and listen to Padraigh Mac Piaras deliver his oration; to be involved with the preparations for the 1916 Rising.

But what would Thomas Kent have had to say about today? Would he be satisfied that Ireland is still partitioned? Would he be happy that there are still divisions between our people, whether republican, nationalist or unionist? Would he be happy that the British still have jurisdiction over part of our island? Would he consider that all the children of the nation are treated equally? What would he made of the stories of terrible corruption? How would he feel about how people in rural areas are treated?

``When we look back at 1916 in terms of world history we see that Britain held an immense empire. To take a stand against that was mighty, and the Kent family did that and should be remembered for it. In this day of the Celtic Tiger, do our people not deserve decent homes, proper education and an efficient health system? If you come from Cork or the Bogside, do our children not deserve equal opportunities? Our birthright should be to have equality of opportunity in a free Ireland.''

Also speaking at the event, Cork's Lord Mayor, Damien Wallace, expressed admiration for the work of the republican leadership and other nationalists in pushing the peace process forward. This sentiment was supported by those representatives of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour who addressed the crowd.

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