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Relative of WW1 dead 'offended' by memorial relocation proposal

Friday, 27th October, 2017 2:00pm

Relative of WW1 dead 'offended' by memorial relocation proposal

Captain Gerard Sherlock.

The niece of the first Offaly soldier killed in World War One has said that she feels “offended and hurt” by Offaly County Council's proposal to relocate it to the Town Park.

Hazel Sherlock's uncle Captain Gerard Sherlock became the first Offaly man to die in World War One when he was killed in action on August 25, 1914 in Togoland, a German protectorate in west Africa. Her father Major Edward Sherlock also fought in the war and received a Military Cross for his service. Major Sherlock was also the chairman of the committee that organised the erection of the memorial in 1926.

In a letter to the Offaly Independent, Ms Sherlock expressed her upset at the proposed relocation of the memorial as part Tullamore's Town Enhancement Scheme.

“ I would like to see the monument preserved at its present location.

“The total number of fatal Irish casualties in the war is put at 30-40,000. Countless thousands more suffered physical and psychological damage on a truly horrendous scale. The immensity of this disaster should never be forgotten, not only because the victims deserve to be remembered, but also as a forceful reminder to us and to future generations that such an appalling affront to civilisation should never be allowed to recur.

“...Clearly modern Irish society has to be inclusive of all its strands and traditions. The Offaly men who fought and died in the First World War are part of our county’s history, and they deserve their monument. Their memory should not be air-brushed from the public view by banishing it to some obscure location or council store.

"I can only speak for myself; I have no desire to be involved in public controversy or debate. I have always loved Tullamore, the town beside my family home, and I feel offended and hurt by the proposal to remove the War Memorial.”

The proposed removal of the memorial from O'Connor Square has received wide spread criticism with a number of councillors, including Cllr Tommy McKeigue, voicing their opposition.
Michael Byrne of the Offaly Historical Society said that the proposal is “disrespectful” to the memories of the hundreds of local men who died in World War One.

Members of the public have until November 9 to made submissions on the Town Enhancement Scheme.

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