Thomas Kent (51) was executed and buried in the yard at Cork prison for his role in the failed rising on May 9 1916. The armed clash with Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) members, outside Castlelyons in north Cork, was the only attempted rising outside Dublin in 1916.
He was the only rebel to be executed for actions taken outside Dublin during the Easter Rising.
Kent was buried in the Cork Prison, formerly the Military Detention Barracks at the rear of Collins Barracks, by the British, just yards from where he was killed, despite protests from his family. Now the precise location of Kent’s grave has been forgotten, although a plaque on the prison wall commemorates him.
The “Forgotten Rebel’s” family, historians and the Organization of National Ex-Servicemen, including campaigner Tomas O'Siochain, want his remains exhumed and re-interred with full honors.
A third-party application has been made for the license to have Kent’s body exhumed.
Lord Mayor Chris O'Leary, Cork's first Sinn Fein mayor in more than 90 years, have given his support to the campaign.
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) told the Herald that no building work has been carried out on the site and said they’re aware of the application.
A spokesperson said, “The IPS is not a party to such an (exhumation) application and has no information as to whether such a request for a license has been or will be granted," a spokesperson said.
"A memorial plaque and grave surround marks the reputed location of the burial place of Thomas Kent within the grounds of Cork Prison.
"Any suggestion that his burial place has been built over is anecdotal.
"The works on the construction of the new prison have no impact whatsoever on the site of the existing facility and, accordingly, the remains of Thomas Kent have not been found in the course of any works.
"While Kent was a significant figure in terms of Irish history, the potential recovery, exhumation and re-interment of his remains if undertaken in the future will be carried out with the confidentiality, sensitivity and respect that is traditionally afforded to any grieving family."
Kent, an Irish nationalist, was court-martialed and executed after a gunfight with the RIC on May 2, 1916, at his family’s farm, Bawnard House, Castlelyons. They had been ready to join the Rising, but when the mobilization order was countermanded they stayed at the farm.
When the Rising went ahead in Dublin the RIC were sent to arrest all known sympathizers. They were met at Bawnard House by resistance from Kent and his brothers Richard, David and William. The gunfight lasted for four hours.
During the fight an RIC officer, Head Constable William Rowe, was killed and David Kent was seriously wounded. Eventually the Kents surrendered, although Richard made a last minute dash for freedom and was fatally wounded.
Thomas Kent was charged with armed rebellion. William was acquitted and David was sent to Dublin where he was charged with the same offense as Thomas, but his sentence was commuted and he served five years of penal servitude.