There are a number of reasons why Michael Collins’ death continues to be viewed by many as suspicious and unsolved. The most obvious is the eye-witness testimony: no two witnesses’ statements are alike. Each and every one contradicts the others.
Having enjoyed the honor to be both quoted, and flagrantly misquoted, in a recent work on the topic, the author of the book “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?” offers the following excerpts of what it actually says:
“Well, here you have a fair collection of statements from eyewitnesses, each contradicting the other on vital and significant points, and none of which can be accepted as a completely reliable version.” – John M Feehan
Some observations we can make with confidence at this point:
2) They cannot all be telling the truth, Which is to say:
3) Some of them were lying.
These answers, as answers often do, raise questions:
5) Why did they lie?
6) Did some have more reason to lie than others?
7) If two mutually negating points are both corroborated by more than one witness, how can we tell which is correct? (i.e. The convoy came under machine gun fire; the convoy did not come under machine gun fire.)
8) Can we decipher the answers to these questions from the information before us?
If we compare all the testimony’s various contradictions and corroborations, in light of the possible interests and pressures at work in each case, we may separate out some chaff: Which witnesses have adhered only to facts which
were within their own knowledge? Which ones report events which happened when they were not present? Does the statement demonstrate that they were “coached” as to what to say? Did some deponents have reason to lie? Did some others have less reason? Do they stray so far from verifiable facts as to invalidate their testimony altogether?
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