Kilmainham Gaol delighted to receive donation of 1916 Easter Rising document
15 June 17
The Commissioners of Public Works at a ceremony today at Kilmainham Gaol accepted the donation of a personal document on 1916 penned by Father Joseph Mallin, son of Commandant Michael Mallin, Chief of Staff of the Irish Citizen Army. The document contains Father Joseph’s recollection of Commandant Michael Mallin’s account to him of the events leading up to the court martial and execution of the leaders of the 1916 Rising.
The families of Michael Mallin said "The contents of Father Joseph Mallin's personal document presented to Kilmainham Gaol Museum debunks conclusively and forever the false defamatory comments included in the Court Martial report written by Brigadier Maconchy about Michael Mallin (executed on May 8th 1916). Michael Mallin's reputation is restored by an almost forensic examination of the context and circumstance of the Court Martial Document. The Court Martial Document, kept secret for 83 years, is shown to be a monument of deceit and bias. For the first time the self-serving British Empire document has been subjected to a realistic and robust examination in content, presentation and context.”
Father Joseph, Michael Mallin's 103-year-old son, accurately describes the Court Martial Document “as a malign document with an ulterior purpose” which he identifies for objective consideration by those who read it. Even a cursory reading of the Court Martial Document would raise (and should have raised) serious doubts about the authenticity of its contents, particularly where it falsely claims that Michael Mallin attempted to pass the responsibility of his St. Stephen's Green Command to Countess Markievicz. Commandant Michael Mallin surrendered to Captain de Courcy-Wheeler as just that - COMMANDANT of the St. Stephen's Green Garrison in front of all his Irish Citizen Army women and men. For Brigadier Maconchy to try to assert that Michael Mallin attempted to pass such responsibility to another when “even the dogs in the street" knew he was the Chief of Staff of the Irish Citizen Army. It raises the question - to whose benefit was such an outrageous and blatantly false accusation?”
The Court Martial Document was written solely by Brigadier Maconchy, in his own words, neither signed nor witnessed by the defendant or indeed not even by the other two members of the Court. Father Joseph went on to say “Of course the secrecy of the so-called Court, the absence of any defence counsel, the presence of only three senior British Army Officers and the significance of the role Commandant Michael Mallin had in the 1916 Easter Rising and its organisation explains perfectly the conspiracy behind this reputational damaging claim, especially given Commandant Mallin’s military background”.
Father Joseph's personal statement, supported by all members of the Mallin and Hickey families in 2017 clearly reveals the falseness of this accusation and the reasons for it. Historians and commentators on 1916 will find Father Joseph’s recollection as an exciting personal document, written by the only surviving child (aged 103) of the executed 1916 Leaders in 2017, which is exceptional for its energy and logic and lack of emotionalism. This Presentation Document will be kept in Kilmainham Gaol Museum for interested parties to scrutinize themselves. Father Joseph's document is a salutary lesson to some historians to subject the fruits of their research to a more robust examination both in claims and in background. If this had been done some years ago when the Court Martial reports were released then the damaging comments about Michael Mallin would have been placed in context and just not accepted at face value.
Father Joseph Mallin's presentation is an exceptional historical document. It is hoped that all future analysis and commentary on the Brigadier Maconchy 1916 Court Martial documents will include as wise and balanced a critique as Father Joseph Mallin's.
Photography from this event will be available from Fennell Photography.
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Note to Editors
Michael Mallin was born in Dublin in 1874 and became a silk weaver. Along with Countess Markievicz, he commanded a small group of the Irish Citizen Army, of which he was the Chief of Staff. He took control of St. Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons during the 1916 Rising. Michael Mallin was executed on the 8th of May 1916. He was survived by his wife Agnes Hickey, his three sons, including Father Joseph Mallin, and two daughters, the younger of whom was not born until four months after his death.
See www.kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie for further details.