Quebec parties promise to remove election signs set up on Black Rock mass grave site

Election signs on the Black Rock burial ground. Tuesday Sept. 11, 2018. Global News/David Sedell

Halfway through the Quebec election campaign and there are election signs everywhere.

On Tuesday, some Parti Québécois and Liberal signs caught the attention of Montreal’s Irish community.

READ MORE: Irish history commemorated in 153rd Walk to the Black Rock

The parties had placed signs on the Black Rock commemorative site on Montreal’s Bridge Street.

The site is a mass burial ground for 6,000 Irish immigrants who died of typhus in 1847. A rock was put on the site in 1859 to mark the mass grave.

Over the past year, Montreal’s Irish community has worked with government officials to beautify the area and make it clear that it is a memorial.

READ MORE: Plans unveiled for Irish commemoration site in Montreal

By late Tuesday afternoon, one of the Parti Québécois signs had been taken down, but the other, along with the Liberal sign still sat on either edge of the median.

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“The second sign that they left sits for sure on 12 graves,” said Fergus Keyes from the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

“Somehow they got the idea that if they were outside of the fence it was not on the site — but they were wrong.”

Foundation representatives said they realize it was an oversight and not intentional, but say it is frustrating that people don’t know how important the site is.

“In 1997, we brought back earth from Ireland and sprinkled it so that the Irish souls can once again feel their homeland, and driving stakes in the ground for any reason is unacceptable,” said Victor Boyle.

Both the Liberals and the Parti Québécois have since apologized and say they will remove the election signs from the Black Rock site.

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