The Riddle that was Erskine Childers

Childers

Excerpts from

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened at Béal na mBláth?”

      Erskine Childers’ tragic fate has remained an enigma
      Was he a hero? Martyr? Traitor? Casualty of war?
      One thing is certain: he was near the scene when Collins was killed.

 

“Another prominent member of the anti-Treaty party who was near Béal na mBláth that day was Erskine Childers.

“… Childers’ contemporaries varied widely in their assessment of the man. From the usually mild-mannered Arthur Griffith, he drew more than one explosion of public denunciation. … Others openly lauded Childers as a man of outstanding noble qualities.

 “…There seems something remarkable in Collins’ own attitude to this enigmatic figure. During the Civil War, … [when] British sources advocated [charging Childers with] treason … Collins said to keep [him] in England on a misdemeanor. If carried out, this plan would not only have neutralized him as a threat, but would also have preserved Childers’ life until the Civil War was over. …

“. . . If the absolute fact lies somewhere between these extremes and unsolved riddles . . . and if he was near Béal na mBláth around 22 August 1922, . . . He certainly may have known something about workings behind the scenes on that tragic day.

“Childers was a key anti-Treaty tactician. … He was a decorated former British Army officer, accused as a secret service agent, and certainly had excellent connections in London. … even if entirely innocent of any foreknowledge about the attempt on Collins, he was likely to have a penetrating awareness of many details and secret manoeuvers, which have since been lost forever.

 “… Childers was an elected member of the Dáil. His shocking summary execution took place against a backdrop of bloody purge, cover-up and file-burning. In light of all of the above, we should ask whether his killing could have had anything to do with his inside knowledge about what happened at and around Béal naBláth.”

You can get the book here:

Paperback: www.createspace.com/4528334

Kindle edition: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FZ1BCBA

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