Cathal Brugha, my grandfather, did his best to stop the Civil War happening. In April 1922 there was a meeting of the army council of the anti-Treaty IRA. Rory O'Connor and his followers occupied the Four Courts, but Brugha and Liam Lynch succeeded in opposing that move.
He visited the Four Courts and did his best to get those inside to leave in May 1922.
Brugha has been either glorified or vilified in history. The manner of his death on July 7th during the battle of Dublin was glorified by later IRAs, co-opting his memory for their purposes.
We wondered about this description of him emerging from the Hammam Hotel in O'Connell Street with a gun in each hand, blazing away at the Free Staters, but it is not accurate.
He never wanted the Civil War. He thought that if somebody of his stature was to die that might bring people to their senses
There is testimony given in 1950 by Linda Kearns MacWhinney to the Bureau of Military History which is based on her conversations with Brugha in the one to two hours before he emerged from the hotel.
He got everybody else to leave. He took all their guns. He took the bullets out of his own guns also and threw them in the fire.
He never wanted the Civil War. He thought that if somebody of his stature was to die that might bring people to their senses.
Did he need to die? I feel that he didn’t need to die, but he did it, not out of a desire to end his life per se, but out of the belief that it would serve some greater good.
It is now up to us grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who fought in the Civil War to look at our forefathers and foremothers in a more rounded way.
Brugha kept very few records of his activities (he served as minister for defence from April 1919 to the truce in July 1921) as he believed that this would be a potential risk, were he to be captured.
Brugha has been seen as an extremist, yet when Collins drew up the list of names for assassination on Bloody Sunday, Brugha removed names from that list
One of the effects of lack of information has been that he is seen through the lens of the Treaty debates. We know he made his bitter comments about Collins in the debates when he said: "Can it be authoritatively stated that he ever fired a shot at any enemy of Ireland?"
I do accept the view that his criticism of Collins was somewhat vitriolic, but Brugha was a great believer in the constitutionality of the struggle.
There is a critical point which partly explains his anger at Collins. Collins was still president of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a secret society, at the time of the Treaty vote. Brugha believed the IRB should be subservient to the Dáil. He had no time for a secret organisation that might try to influence the vote on the Treaty.
Brugha has been seen as an extremist, yet when Collins drew up the list of names for assassination on Bloody Sunday, Brugha removed names from that list. He would only include those names of people who he was absolutely sure were British spies.
It is also important for us all to remember that those who fought on both sides of the Civil War, which was partly instigated by the British government, were all deeply committed to the cause of Irish independence.