Michael Collins’s ‘assassination’

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 5 (Sep/Oct 2005), Letters, Letters, Revolutionary Period 1912-23, Volume 13

Sir,

—It’s good that evidence suppressed by Peter Hart in pursuance ofhis agenda has seen the light of day (‘In defence of Cork’s politicalculture’, HI 13.4, July/August 2005). But why is the Civil War death ofMichael Collins described as an assassination? Collins, in uniform,rifle in hand, had been firing on his attackers, as had his escortparty, including an armoured car with a Vickers medium machine-gun. Itdoes not diminish his reputation, nor lessen the tragedy of his death,to say that he died in battle. Cathal Brugha died with gun in hand. Washe assassinated?

—Yours etc.,
DONAL KENNEDY
London

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