The statement issued by the Board of TCD in relation to Inishbofin is welcome for the fact that the Board finally considered the question of what to do with stolen human remains held by the college. However, the statement falls far short of the islanders’ petition seeking the immediate return of the remains of their ancestors and it is clear that TCD is determined to deal with this as a matter of de-accession by request rather than repatriation by right, ignoring all the evidence submitted to TCD in recent weeks by the repatriation project and its supporters.

A spokesperson for TCD has confirmed to media sources that a decision has not been made to return the skulls. TCD is busy trying to spin this as a major advance in its plan to deal with colonial legacies, but the decision merely restates the blocking strategy the School of Medicine adopted in August. All the rest is spin and the colonial legacies project looks incapable of getting its agenda adopted in the face of opposition. We will continue to press for the immediate return of the remains.

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