From: Donal Kennedy
To: letters <email@example.com>
Sent: Sun, 27 Mar 2016 13:20
Subject: Some Rag-Tag Army!
I’m surprised that a such a fine historian as Piers Brandon could describe the 1916 Insurgents as a ” rag tag army.”
In 1966 you profiled one veteran, Maurice Collins,whom I knew as child in the 1940s.Recently I’ve read on-line the witness statement he gave the Bureau of Military History and other statements by veterans who fought in North King Street, given about 1950. One was by the Liam O’Carroll, uncle of comedian Brendan O’Carroll. Liam’s two brothers fought in North King Street and their sister was active in the battle, their father and grandfather were Fenians.
Prominent in that small sector were men not only well trained militarily, but with years commitment in the Gaelic League, the Gaelic Athletic Association, skilled tradesmen, small businessmen and professional men. None of the Republican positions were over-run by the British and they were still full of fight when the order was brought to them to surrender. Patrick Pearse gave the order to save the lives of citizens from British machine guns and artillery, and not until the order was checked and confirmed as genuine did the various republican garrisons surrender.
They were not a beaten force and the survivors established a democratic state which has enjoyed 93 years of peace, played creditable roles in the League of Nations and the United Nations, was instrumental in establishing the Council of Europe, and needs apologising to nobody.