IRA GHQ

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 3 (May/Jun 2008), Letters, Letters, Revolutionary Period 1912-23, Volume 16

Sir,

—Risteárd Mulcahy certainly has a point (HI 16.2, March/April 2008) when he states that the role of the IRA’s GHQ staff during the War of Independence has been somewhat ignored. Outside historical circles, who could even name the 13 members of the pre-treaty GHQ staff at the time of the truce in 1921? They can be viewed in Leo Whelan’s 1922 group portrait that hangs in the National Museum, Collins Barracks. Apart from Michael Collins (director of intelligence), Richard Mulcahy (chief of staff) [seated left], and Eoin O’Duffy (deputy chief of staff) [seated third from right], the names no longer ring a bell. For the record the remaining 10 were: [standing, left to right] J.J. O’Connell (assistant chief of staff), Emmet Dalton (director of training), James L. O’Donovan (director of chemicals, whose biography I am currently completing), Liam Mellows (director of purchases), Piaras Béaslaí (editor of An t-Óglach); [seated, left to right] Gearoid O’Sullivan (adjutant general), Eamonn Price (director of organisation), Rory O’Connor (director of engineering and O/C Britain), Seán Russell (director of munitions) and Seán MacMahon (quartermaster-general).

DAVID O’DONOGHUE
Leinster House
Dublin 2

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