Harry Boland TD, a Volunteer since 1913, was a close friend and associate of Michael Collins; and, like him, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (“IRB”) 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.
(Following are excerpts from the book “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What happened at Beal na mBlath?“)
Chances are about a million to one against there having been anything either “accidental”, “random”, or “natural” about the sudden death, within days of each other, of Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith, and Harry Boland…
Boland’s death took place in the very opening days of the Civil 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 Ireland’s victorious War of Independence army…
TDs are not to be shot **
“During the dreadful first week of civil war [Boland] was constantly moving between DeValera and Collins trying to patch up a truce.” And the Free State authorities were still pursuing a “policy of moderation” in “hopes of a negotiated settlement.”
On 17 July 1922, shortly before Boland’s death, the Provisional Government had made a unanimous decision “on advice from Collins“, not to arrest elected representatives, propagandists, nor “mere political suspects … except of course, those actually captured in arms.” The date of this resolution, particularly urged by Collins, was just days before the incident which took Boland’s life.
Official policy was in place: no arrests of TDs, nor of unarmed political opponents. Boland was unarmed when taken. This was never disputed by either side. Why then was a military manoeuvre mounted to seize him?
Collins’ well-known letter to Harry of 28 July explicitly states that he “cannot” bring himself to have his friend arrested.
Yet two days later, on the 30th, Boland was taken: apparently as part of an elaborately well-planned siege, which could not have been mounted without considerable advance preparation.
What happened is only discernible through a haze of conflicting reports. (A confusion which resonates disturbingly with the tangle of tales around Béal na mBláth.)
[ ** “TD” is the abbreviation for the Irish term “Teachta Dalá“, which means deputy to the Dáil, a member of the Irish national legislature: equivalent to a Member of Parliament (MP) in Britain, or Congressman in the USA.]
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
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by David Fitzpatrick
Related post at this blog: “Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins: were their deaths connected?”