In The News: Who killed Michael Collins?

Despite his peerless prominence, there was little by way of investigation into his death

Michael Collins at Portobello Barracks in August 1922. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

Michael Collins at Portobello Barracks in August 1922. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images

 

The course of Irish history was changed with the assassination of Michael Collins on a lonely country road in Cork 99 years ago this week. But who killed him?

Despite the passing of almost a century, a definitive answer to one of the most important questions in modern Irish history remains as elusive as ever.

When he was shot dead at Béal na mBláth on August 22nd, 1922, Michael Collins was the chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State. He had been a leading architect of the War of Independence and key negotiator and prominent signatory of the Anglo-Irish Agreement which proved to be the catalyst for the civil war.

But despite his peerless prominence, there was little by way of investigation. Files were burned, and leads were not followed up. Crucial questions were never asked.

The manner in which his death was handled has inevitably fuelled allegations of a cover up.

But who covered up what and why? Who did kill Michael Collins and did anyone stand to benefit most from his death?

In the latest episode of In The News, art historian and performer Paddy Cullivan tells Conor Pope that he has uncovered documentation in British and German archives which casts doubt on the guilt of the leading suspect Dennis ‘Sonny’ O’Neill.

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

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