Óglaigh na hÉireann

In Memory Of 
Michael Collins

Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army Michael was born in Sam's Cross, near Clonakilty, County Cork, Collins was the third son and youngest of eight children.Michael Collins first became known during the Easter Rising in 1916. A skilled organiser of considerable intelligence, he was highly respected in the IRB, When the Rising itself took place on Easter Monday 1916, he fought alongside Patrick Pearse and others in the General Post Office in Dublin.Collins, like many of the other participants, was arrested, almost executed and was imprisoned at Frongoch internment camp.michael became one of the leading figures in the post-rising Sinn Féin,  By October 1917, Collins had risen to become a member of the executive of Sinn Féin and director of organisation of the Irish Volunteers; Éamon de Valera was president of both organisations.In 1920, the British offered a bounty of £10,000 for information leading to the capture or death of Collins. His fame had so transcended the IRA movement that he was nicknamed "The Big Fellow".and he led a  campaign against anything that represented British authority in Ireland - primarily the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Army. The murder of RIC officers brought a tit-for-tat policy from the British. Ireland, post-World War One, was a dangerous country to be in. The more killings that were carried out by Michael Collins and the men he led in the newly formed Irish Republican Army (IRA), the more the British responded with like. The notorious Black and Tans and the 'Auxies' were used by the British Army to spread fear throughout Ireland (though primarily in the south and west). Violence led to more violence on both sides. On November 21st, 1920, the IRA killed 14 British officers in the Secret Service. In reprisal, the British Army sent armoured vehicles onto the pitch at Croke Park where people were watching a football match, and opened fire on them. Twelve people were killed. In May 1921, the IRA set fire to the Custom House in Dublin - one of the symbols of Britain's authority in Ireland. However, many of those in the Dublin IRA were captured as a result of this action. The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was given some blunt advice by his military commanders in Ireland. "Go all out or get out" - meaning that the army should be allowed to do as it wished to resolve the problem, or if this was not acceptable at a political level, the British should pull out of Ireland as the army was in an un-winnable position as matters stood then.Eamonn de Valera, considered to be the leading republican politician in Ireland, sent Collins to London in October 1921 to negotiate a treaty. It was generally recognised by both sides that the situation as it stood in Ireland could not be allowed to continue. The difficult negotiations took three months before the treaty was signed by Collins and Arthur Griffiths. In December 1921, it was agreed that Ireland should have dominion status within the British Empire; i.e. that Ireland could govern itself but remain within the British Empire. The six northern counties were allowed to contract out of the treaty and remain part of the United Kingdom. To Collins, the treaty was simply the start of a process that, in his eyes, would lead to full independence for what was now the Irish Free State.

Collins is said to have commented when he signed the treaty that:"I tell you, I have signed my death warrant"The Dáil accepted the treaty by just seven votes. This, in itself, seemed a justification of what Collins had set out to achieve. Arthur Griffiths replaced De Valera as president of the Dáil and Collins was appointed chairman of the provisional government which would take over Ireland once the British had left. Those who did not support the treaty fell back on violence and a civil war took place in Ireland from April 1922 to May 1923. The IRA split into the 'Regulars' (those who supported the treaty) and the 'Irregulars' (those who did not).

On August 22nd, 1922, Collins journeyed to County Cork. He was due to meet troops of the new Irish Army. His car was ambushed at a place called Beal na mBlath and Collins was shot dead.

Video below is the funeral of michael collins

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