Politics of Commemoration

Repatriation funeral procession to Rochestown, Cork of Fr. Albert and Fr. Dominic on 14 June 1958
KHAA/IMK John Sheehan Collection
Gravesite of Séan O'Hegarty in St. Mary's Graveyard Kilmurry, Co. Cork
KHAA/IMK Archive

Much of Seán O’Hegarty’s later life was concerned with the politics of Republican commemoration. He engaged in a long correspondence with the Papal Nuncio in the 1920s and 1930s in an attempt to nullify the excommunications of many Cork IRA members by Bishop Daniel Cohalan during the War of Independence.

In 1958 he brought about the repatriation of the remains of the IRA chaplains Father Dominic O’Connor ((1883–1935) and Father Albert Bibby (1877–1924) after lengthy negotiations with the Capuchin order of which they were members. O’Hegarty chaired the committee which erected a permanent monument to them at the republican plot in St Finbarr’s cemetery, Cork (unveiled 1963).

O’Hegarty’s wife Maghdalen (Mid) died in 1940; the couple had no children. Seán O’Hegarty died 31 May 1963 at the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork. He was buried in St. Mary’s Graveyard, Kilmurry, with Éamon de Valera (then President of Ireland) in attendance.

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