Northern Ireland, Michael Collins, and mysterious shootings

1922 McMahon family murders NI Image

McMahon family murders, Belfast, Northern Ireland 1922

What do mysterious shootings & political crises in Northern Ireland have in common with Michael Collins?

No one ever took responsibility for the suspicious killing of Michael Collins in 1922. His sudden death changed the government and the future of his country.

As David Neligan put it, (Collins’ “spy in the Castle,” later a founder of Dublin’s own law enforcement system):

“By means of an old police trick: pretending that his comrades had betrayed him”

Or, in this excerpt from
The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened At Béal na mBláth?“:

With Collins removed, subsequent Dublin governments were content, or reduced, to leave northern nationalists twisting in the wind.

Thus it may be seen that removing Collins would have been critical to the fulfillment of British imperialist agendas for the north: agendas which such elements proved demonstrably willing to kill for, and to go on killing for, indefinitely.”

Qui bono? Who gains?

Read more 

Assassination of Michael Collins COVER

The Assassination
of Michael Collins:

What Happened
at Béal na mBláth?

by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/
Or ask at your local book shop

The Spy in the Castle COVER
The Spy in the Castle
by David Neligan
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Spy-Castle-David-Nelligan/dp/0953569705

 

The Mcmahon Family Murders and the Belfast Troubles 1920-1922 COVER

 

The Mcmahon Family Murders
and the Belfast Troubles 1920-1922

(Belfast’s secret history series)
by Joe Baker
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mcmahon-Murders-Troubles-1920-1922-Belfasts/dp/B001A4FYMY


(The photo at the head of this post is courtesy of this book by J Baker.  Its amazon link is provided with apologies: as this interesting work can be difficult to obtain.)

 

The bombardment of Four Courts: Who gave the order?

photo of the bombardment of Four Courts, June 1922

The bombardment of Four Courts, June 1922

There clearly seems to be a need for a definitive study on the
actual commencement of hostilities [in the Civil War ]. 

– John M Feehan

Did Michael Collins give the order to begin the bombardment of Four Courts?  Historians have presumed so; but no more.  The evidence casts considerable doubt as to whether the order ever came from Collins himself…  There is no record as to precisely who gave it.

(Excerpts from the book
The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBlath?“:)

“…a conflict of comrades … would be the greatest calamity in Irish history, and would leave Ireland broken for generations…”

– “The Army Document” signed by Michael Collins, along with an equal
number of
prominent pro- & anti-Treaty officers, May 1922
May 1922 – Leaders Strive to Prevent Civil War in Ireland

The hindsight of history demonstrates that he was among the leaders who clearly foresaw just how terrible a disaster these hostilities would bring. Amidst all the trigger-happy factions, baying for blood at that juncture, in London, in the Free State government, and in anti-Treaty camps, Collins by far most strenuously and continually resisted giving battle…

As subsequent events proved, his judgement on this was excellent. It was that explosion of the Four Courts, which he was so keen to avoid, that set off the chain of events which, ultimately, took his own life … he outlived the first shells to hit Inns Quay, by only fifty-five days.

In this sense, the mysteries surrounding the bombardment of Four Courts are directly related to the death of Collins: who may with justice be called one of its first casualties.

Read more
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Or ask at your local book shop

 

 

Kitty and Michael: a revolutionary courtship

photo of Michael Collins

Michael Collins

photo of Kitty Kiernan

Kitty Kiernan

Some historians have been obliged to play down Michael Collin’s fiancé, Kitty Kiernan, in order to support their theories about his death.  However, Ms Kiernan cannot be relegated to a footnote here, but merits a few choice words on her own account (excerpt from the book): 

“There is no basis for the erroneous characterization of Ms Kiernan as politically naïve. It is, at best, a gloss of inexcusable carelessness. The contention that others would have had more capacity than Ms Kiernan, as a political confidante, is entirely refuted by the record.  Writers seem to have presumed on the fact that … Ms Kiernan was merely the proprietor of a small hotel and shops, in a modest country town, in rural Ireland; her name unknown to the public, outside of her relationship with Collins.  Collins biographers seem to have written off Ms Kiernan as clueless and useless politically, on this basis alone.

Clearly Collins did not think so; as an attentive reading of their letters illustrates. Such an assumption does not demonstrate adequate acquaintance with their correspondence, with her education, her family’s prominent, albeit secret role in the War of Independence; nor with the level of political sophistication general among Irish people of her time, place, class and social standing.  On the contrary, as muse, hostess, networker, companion and confidante, the Kiernan sisters and their hotel may be called the Irish nationalist counterparts, of a London lady’s political salon.  With Ms Kiernan, Collins could feel secure that he was not confiding in a British agent: the Kiernan hotel had been a key safe house for Volunteers throughout the War of Independence. In their correspondence, she and Collins frequently discussed the political situation; of which she demonstrated a keen grasp, often providing insight and encouragement. The C-in-C, for his part, explicitly declared that Kitty was more and more necessary to him in these stressful days, and that “there’s no one like you.”

Ms Kiernan came from precisely the same sort of background as he: a traditional Irish farming family, hard-working, upwardly mobile,  successful in business and adaptable to town life. Both were products of a progressive, republican education. Both were ambitious, modern and stylish. In Collins’ world, Ms Kiernan was an elegant lady, and the female of his own species.”

Read more:

The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?
by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews: “Best Reads”of the Year
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Customer reviews:
http://goo.gl/sDmWfh

Or ask at your local book shop

The Treaty & Michael Collins

photo of Michael Collins on podium

The peace negotiations, and the Treaty which they produced, are the events which led directly to Michael Collins’ death.

All the streams – economic, political, spiritual, cultural and militant, – met together in the struggle of 1916 – 1921, which has ended in a peace in which the Treaty of Limerick is wiped out by the departure of the British armed forces, and the establishment of an Irish Army in its place … The Union is wiped out by the establishment of a free native parliament, which will be erected on a Constitution expressing the will of the Irish people … With the termination of the Union goes national enslavement if we will it. Complete national freedom is ours and nobody but ourselves can prevent us achieving it.”

“Let us not waste our energies brooding over the more we might have got.  Let us look upon what it is we have got.

Read more:

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

http://goo.gl/sDmWfh

Or ask at your local book shop
photocopy of Treaty signature page

Cén fáth Agus Conas Mar a Thosaigh An Cogadh Cathartha?

 

Forghabháil na gCeithre Chúirt 1922

Forghabháil na gCeithre Chúirt 1922

Sliocht as an leabhar (sa Gaeilge):

Le linn an tsosa cogaidh agus na gcainteanna faoin chonradh lorg na páirtiseáin, a bhain Cogadh na Saoirse, ceannaireacht pholaitiúil ón Dáil. Ní raibh a scoilt i bhfaicsin faoi airm ann roimh bhogadh ar bith ó na baill thofa ach ina dhiaidh sin.

… Is ionann na fachtóirí atá … na heilimintí a chuir an tír I gcontúirt an chogaidh. Mar sin is ionann ionsaí na gCeithre Chúirt agus an fiús, feallmharú Henry Wilson an splanc agus chuir an dá fhachtóir seo an lasair sa bharrach, a mharaigh an oiread sin daoine agus a bhris amach arís ó thuaidh ó 1970í go 1990í.

I measc uaireanta ar fad na cinniúna in Éirinn san 20ú haois is iad an dá chasadh seo is lú a bhfuil staidéar déanta orthu. Ag am scríofa an leabhair seo tá siad go fóill mistéireach, conspóideach.

Léigh seo níos mó:   
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
le S M Sigerson

Bogchlúdach nó Kindle anseo:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

Uile eile formáidí rleabhar:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Leabhair eile a bhfuil leas:

Cogadh na gCarad
le Diarmuid Ó Tuama
http://www.coisceim.ie/cogadh.html

Shopaí leabhar:
http://www.coisceim.ie/Siopai.html

Nó déan iarratas ar siopa leabhar in aice leat!

 

 

 

Why do we need to know how Michael Collns died?

aerial photo of Béal na mBláth

Béal na mBláth (courtesy of the Ordinance Survey Ireland www.osi.ie)

On the anniversary of the ambush at Béal na mBláth, we ponder the meaning of Collins’ life and death.

Remember the Annual Béal na mBláth Commemoration is this Sunday 24 August.  (See previous blog post of 5 August, below for full details.)

Excerpt from the book:

Tim Pat Coogan introduces his discussion of Béal na mBláth with a lament that “It is a perversion of Collins’ significance to Irish history that the circumstances of his death … should have come almost to overshadow the significance of his life.” Yet it is the special importance of his life, which makes it necessary to answer the questions surrounding his death.

That one man’s death could change the future is astounding. How and why we lost such a man, is as important as any other question. If there is any perversion, it is the failure to fully account for the nation’s terrible loss, of the man they needed most, at the moment he was most needed. It may not be in our power to make another like him. What we might learn from this story, should we ever get such a one again, is how we could better manage to keep him. Certainly that is a lesson worth studying.

Read more:

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

For all other e-reader formats: 
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Or ask at your local bookshop

 Visit the Commemoration webiste:
http://www.bealnamblathcommemoration.com/201-oration/

Commemorative edition: 90th Anniversary pictorial history
http://www.bealnamblathcommemoration.com/buy-the-book/

Michael Collins: a biography by Tim Pat Coogan
http://www.timpatcoogan.com/books/michael_collins.htm

Harry Boland

photo of Harry Boland and Michael Collins

Harry Boland and Michael Collins

On the anniversary of Harry Boland’s controversial shooting, some excerpts from the book’s chapter re-examining Boland’s life & death, and its close connection with Collins’.

Harry Boland TD, a Volunteer since 1913, was a close friend and associate of Collins and, like him, a member of the IRB’s Supreme Council. He played a leading role in the War of Independence, and would have been expected to hold a Cabinet seat or other high office in the post-war government. Boland’s death took place in the very opening days of the civil conflict, before it had really developed into all-out war. According to Deasy, it was attended by “mysterious circumstances” and “was another serious blow to the moderate wing” of the anti-Treaty side. That is, it drove another nail into the coffin of hopes for a swift reunification of the victorious War of Independence army. …

The end of … Harry Boland, a national hero, so closely associated with Michael Collins, deserves much more anxious scrutiny, than it has yet been accorded.

Read more:

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
Book cover image - The Assassination of Michael Collins - What Happened at Béal na mBláth
Paperback or Kindle edition here:

www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

For all other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read more about Harry Boland:
http://www.corkuniversitypress.com/Harry-Bolands-Irish-Revolution-p/9781859183861.htm
cover image - Harry Boland's Irish Revolution

 

 

Revolution and democracy

Painting of the taking of the Bastille in 1789

The taking of the Bastille prison 1789

In honour of Bastille Day, some excerpts from the book “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?” examine the nature of modern republican revolutions, and the states they’ve given birth to:

 

“The debate is over: Statistics show that modern democracies, governed on principles of universal human / civil rights, the rule of law and separation of powers, are the most successful form of government. Such republics tend to be more prosperous and more stable than autocracies. Countries where the public has a powerful voice in decision-making are dramatically less likely to go to war, or to deteriorate into anarchy. Such stability fosters more flourishing trade, health, industry, learning and generally enhanced cultural and economic development, over longer sustained periods.

The larger picture of republican revolutions in world history is very much a work in progress. We, the natives of modern Western democracies are the living products of that political maelstrom: the ending of which has yet to be written. What John Stuart Mill called the great modern social and spiritual transition. In this greater ongoing process, Ireland is indubitably a success story, not a failure.

 

I may not get there with you. But we, as a people, are going to make it to the Promised Land. 

– Martin Luther King (on the eve of his assassination)

 

“The leaders of great revolutionary struggles often do not live to see the fulfilment of their own handiwork. That is an occupational hazard. One which they all accept at the very outset. One which Collins, judging from his own words on the subject, was thoroughly prepared for every day.

 

“All great leaders of this kind take on a very old system: an ancient imperialist war and political machine, oiled by centuries’ experience in putting down popular revolutions. And in eliminating great popular leaders.”

Read more
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?

The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth? by S M Sigerson - Cover Image

by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Or ask at your local book shop

also see: http://bastille-day.com/

How and Why Did the Civil War Start?

photo of bombardment of Four Courts 1922

The Four Courts siege 1922

28 June marks the commencement of the Civil War in Ireland, 1922-23.

 

A chapter in the book examines these events, which directly led to the death of Collins

 

The Civil War by no means broke out instantaneously or thoughtlessly. Tremendous efforts were carried on, for months on end, to avert the outbreak of hostilities. … Many strove desparately to find some means of going forward without civil conflict.

 

… No war ever begins for just one reason. All the factors set forth so far … may be seen as a powder keg: the explosive elements which placed the country in danger of war breaking out. In that sense, the occupation of Four Courts was the fuse, and the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson the spark, which together set off the conflagration; which cost so many lives, and broke out afresh in the northern Troubles of the 1970s – 1990s.”

 

Read more:

 

 “The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson

 

Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

 

For all other e-reader formats:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

 

 

 

The Assassination of Sir Henry Wilson

 

Sir Henry Wilson in 1921

Sir Henry Wilson in 1921

On 22 June 1922, Sir Henry Wilson was assassinated in broad daylight, in front of his own home in London: Field Marshall, Unionist MP for Ulster, former Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). He’d played a prominent role in the Curragh Mutiny https://wp.me/p43KWx-1t Following creation of an Irish government in Dublin, Wilson became chief military adviser to Anglo Ascendancy forces in the then-new Northern Ireland statelet. Atrocities and undeclared war on Irish Catholics became the order of the day there.

The book “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBlath?” devotes a full chapter to re-examining Wilson’s enigmatic death.  Was there a connection with Collins’ own end, exactly two months later?

(excerpt from the book)

I was given good reason to suspect a close relation between the shooting of Sir Henry Wilson and the shooting of Michael Collins, but when I tried to investigate this line I found every door closed on me – indeed some banged in my face.
– John M Feehan

Not unlike Collins’ own end, controversy continues to surround the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson. At the very same time that the anti-Treaty men were sweating it out in the Four Courts, two members of the London IRA shot Wilson dead, on the doorstep of his home in London, in broad daylight. This was months after hostilities with the British were officially ended: after the Truce, after the Treaty had been signed; “out of the blue” as it seemed.

The shooters were obeying orders. But from whom? Who gave the order? The mystery has never been solved.

Allegations that either Collins or the anti-Treaty leaders ordered the operation do not hold water: these amount to no more than rumour, and are abundantly refuted by more substantial accounts. Yet Wilson was unquestionably shot by members of the London Brigade of the IRA.

Wilson’s death was seized upon and exploited as a pretext for the British to threaten to declare the imperfect-but- hard-won Anglo-Irish Treaty null and void.  In short, it set in motion those events which led directly to the death of Michael Collins. For these reasons, any re-examination of Béal na mBláth should not omit another look at Wilson’s mysterious, unsolved case.
** [end book excerpt]**

Much mythology has been constructed, on rather slender presumptions: 1) that Michael Collins ordered Wilson’s death; 2) that Collins likewise ordered the bombardment of IRA men occupying the Four Courts; and 3) that the IRA shot Collins.  This conventional wisdom would seem to wrap things up in a tidy package, with loose ends neatly tied.  

However, there is no evidence that Collins ordered the 1922 assassination of Wilson.  No one knows precisely how the bombardment of Four Courts was initiated, or by whom.  As for the perennial mystery, “Who shot Collins?“… We don’t even know which side shot him.

.  Read more:

The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?
by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:  
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

For all other e-book formats see:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Or ask at your local bookshop

Book cover image - The Assassination of Michael Collins - What Happened at Béal na mBláth