The great cover-up: the truth about the death of Michael Collins

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2019), Letters, Volume 27

Sir,—Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc’s letter in response to Nigel Jones’s review of my book, The great cover-up (HI 27.1, March/April 2019), is a rather sad attempt at shooting the messenger. I think what he is trying to tell us is that scientists should not study history. But whether you are a scientist or a historian, if you take the trouble to write a letter in response to a book review, the very least you should do is get your facts right. Ó Ruairc builds his case on just two facts, both of which he manages to get wrong. He tells us that Michael Collins was shot some 40 yards away from where the Collins monument now stands. Yet the photograph taken the morning after the ambush shows the bloodstains across the road from the monument’s position. Ó Ruairc says this is ‘misinformation’, but presumably the girl who took the picture believed that this is where Collins fell. So unless the bank and the hill behind the monument moved in the meantime, this is where Michael Collins died. He also claims, on the basis of a quick glance through the internet, that I am a biochemist, which is also wrong. This sloppy use of data and half-cocked research suggests that we might have a clearer picture of matters historical if more scientists were to study them. More’s the pity that they don’t. Because, if he cannot get his basic facts right, Ó Ruairc is in no position to criticise anybody else. This kind of irrelevant and vindictive nonsense, based on little more than word-play, damages nobody’s reputation but his own.—Yours etc.,

GERARD MURPHY

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