“Press Communication drafted… but on advice of attorney general not sent”

Press Communication drafted by Solicitor General but on advice of attorney general not sent

We are now enabled to give a summary of the events that have disturbed Dublin on and since Easter Monday.

The first incident that marked the outbreak was the shooting by a party of Sinn Feiners of a soldier and a policeman who were on duty at the Upper Castle Yard. This event took place at 12 o’clock on Easter Monday. The rioters made no attempt, ether then, or at any time to enter the Castle Yard.

Simultaneously with the last incident, the rioters forced their way into a number of buildings, including public buildings. Thus, they took possession of the General Post Office, The City Hall, The Evening Mail Office, the […] and some other houses in Dame Street opposite or nearly opposite the City Hall, the South Dublin Union and various other houses throughout the city.

From the shelter of these buildings they proceeded to keep up a sniping fire on any military or police that came into view. Apparently their object into getting into such buildings as the South Dublin Union and buildings on Ushers Quay was to control the main entrances into the City. If they failed in their efforts because Troops from the Kingsbridge direction succeeded in making their way into the City and up to the Castle Yard. All day on Monday intermittent firing on the Castle by the Sinn Feiners took place from the Rates Department/City Hall from the City Hall itself, from the Evening Mail Office, from Henry and Jame’s Shop, and from other houses father down Dame Street.

Sufficient Troops, however, having arrived at the Castle Yard on Monday evening, a storming party carried the City Hall and took some prisoners there, and later and since that time they have cleared the Sinn Feiners out of the Evening Mail Office out of Henry and James and out of Dame Street. These proceedings as might have been expected caused some loss to the Troops. The Troops were also successful in dislodging the Sinn Feiners from the South Dublin Union, and also from the buildings on Ushers Quay.

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On Monday, it seems that in places such as great Brunswick Street the rioters attempted to put up barricades and to have made some efforts to patrol the streets, and they actually held up a number of persons coming from Fairy House, and took possession of some motor cars. But the tactics principally adopted by the Sinn Feiners was to get up on the roofs or into the rooms of houses in various parts of the City, and to snipe from such vantage ground any forces sent to oppose them. In this respect they seem to have adopted the methods of the anarchists of Sidney Street who kept at bay for quiet a length of time, a considerable body of troops some years ago.

At the time of writing there are no barricades in the City, nor are there any patrols of the Irish Volunteers or the Citizen Army or Sinn Feiners. All these have completely disappeared from the streets, and at the present time their presence only manifests itself in shots exchanged at intervals with the Troops from the tops of the houses.

On yesterday, Tuesday evening, Troops arrived in more than sufficient numbers to cope with the disturbance, which is now well in hand. As one of the soldiers graphically said, “Libery Hall is now a thing of the past”, because with the aid of artillery which arrived over night. Liberty Hall was reduced to ruins on this (Wednesday) morning and a number of prisoners taken. The Post Office is still in the possession of the rioters, but its recapture by the troops at an early moment is certain and we expect almost before these words appear in print that this object will have been achieved. Stephens Green was for a considerable time a centre of disturbance because the rioters after being dislodged from the Park itself took refuge in various buildings and around the Green and kept up therefore their guerrilla sniping warfare from these buildings. The latest information, however shows, that matters have much improved there.

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A rumour was spread through the City that Dublin Castle was one time taken. There is no foundation whatever for this rumour. In fact, at no time was it effectively besieged. For example, the Law Officers had no difficulty in finding a way into the Castle Yard on Monday, Tuesday and today for the purpose of consultation with the Under Secretary who has for the present taken up his residence in the Castle Yard. Since Monday, the Lord Chancellor and other Members of the Privy Council have been in daily consultation with the Lord Lieutenant at the Viceregal Lodge.

There can be no doubt that the worst efforts of the rioters have failed. They never gained any success of the slightest practical value, nor did this even to have achieved anything which would strike the imagination. But for the deadly effect of modern scientific weapons the present rising- if it could be dignified by such a name- would have been fit only to rank with the cabbage garden affair in Ballingarry. It is, however, difficult to estimate the number of persons engaged in the business. It is probable that not more than a thousand from the outside armed men have had the audacity to endeavour to take hold of our Capital City. From the tactics displayed the inference may fairly be drawn that these men are largely composed of members of Mr James Larkin’s Citizen Army. For example, they have shown the most extraordinary antipathy to shoot every policeman at sight. That they are as desperate as the anarchists of Sidney Street goes without saying for many of them have already lost their lives in their foolhardy enterprise, and many others are prisoners awaiting trial which having regard to the fact that martial law is proclaimed throughout the city is presumed will be by court martial. Many incidents which must bring a blush of shame to every Irishman have to be recorded. Thus the following are some of the things that have been done by people who published the proclamation forsooth in the name of Irish Liberty.

  1. They shot dead in cold blood an unarmed policeman at the Upper Castle Yard.
  2. They shot dead in cold blood an unarmed policeman in Stephens Green.
  3. They detained in custody all Monday night a Police Sergeant and shot him dead as he was walking away from them.
  4. They shot dead an unarmed soldier in charge of a motor ambulance, which of course bore the official red cross.
  5. They shot dead an unarmed soldier in Camden Street who had just returned from the front,
  6. They shot and seriously wounded [V.Dev.] D Doherty 66 who […]
  7. They shot dead certain civilians who refused to give up their vehicles and also it is stated shot dead one woman civilian simply because she gave them a piece of her tongue.
  8. They looted like any burglars a number of business houses in the City,

At the moment of writing there are no precise details as to the number of casualties on either side or in respect of the civilian population. It is to be feared that they are somewhat larger than the importance of the affair would seem to warrant: but the storming of houses occupied by snipers is always a matter not alone of difficulty and of danger but of slow progress. The government have taken the matter firmly in hand, and there is every reason to believe that in a very short time the City will be restored to its normal condition.

We understand that the state of affairs in the Provinces is practically normal.

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4 thoughts on ““Press Communication drafted… but on advice of attorney general not sent”

  1. The word in square brackets in the manuscript text at top of page 351 is, I think, ‘Solicitor’, to read . . . drafted by Solicitor General . . . . I believe there was no post of ‘Secretary General’, so titled, in the Dublin Castle administration. On the other hand a Solicitor General for Ireland held office and was next in line below the Attorney General for Ireland. In April 1916, the Solicitor General for Ireland was Sir James O’Connor, his term of office running from 1914 to 1917 (per Wikipedia).

    PS: This is a most interesting website, containing information of much historical interest.

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  2. Middle of page 353, in the following sentence: “Since Monday, the Lord Chancellor and other Members of the Privy Council have been in [..] consultation with the Lord Lieutenant at the Viceregal Lodge”, the queried word is: daily; to read “. . . have been in daily consultation . . “.

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