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Michael Collins

Updated: Apr 30




Michael Collins was born in County Cork in 1890. He played an important role in Ireland’s fight for independence. After working as a clerk in London, he returned to Ireland and participated in the Easter Rising of 1916. Despite being arrested and detained, Collins was released later that year. In December 1918, he was among the Sinn Féin members who convened the Dáil Éireann in Dublin, declaring for the republic. With key leaders like Éamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith in prison, Collins assumed considerable responsibility, serving as the Dáil’s Minister of Home Affairs and later as Minister of Finance after orchestrating de Valera’s escape.


However, it was Collins’s role as the director of intelligence for the IRA that brought him renown. He masterminded numerous attacks on British intelligence agents in Ireland, becoming a prime target for the British, who placed a large bounty on his head. Following the truce of July 1921, Collins, alongside Griffith, negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in London. Despite knowing the risks, Collins signed the treaty, which granted Ireland dominion status but required an oath of allegiance to the British crown, a point of contention for many republicans.


Collins’s persuasive skills helped secure a narrow majority in the Dáil for the treaty, leading to the formation of a provisional government under his leadership. However, internal strife within the IRA escalated, culminating in the seizure of the Four Courts in Dublin and sparking civil war. Collins took command of the army to suppress the insurgency.


Tragically, just weeks later, while on a military inspection tour in west Cork, Collins fell victim to an ambush by anti-treaty insurgents and was shot to death. His death marked a devastating blow to the independence movement, robbing Ireland of one of its most influential and strategic leaders. Despite the controversy surrounding his decision to sign the treaty, Collins’ legacy remains deeply ingrained in Irish history.


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  • more of a ‘force for good’

  • Less of a ‘force for good’


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