Son of executed 1916 leader donates Easter Rising trial account

Michael Mallin’s last surviving son (103) donates documents to Kilmainham Gaol

Documents and recollections of 1916 Easter Rising leader Michael Mallin’s military trial and execution, written by his son Joseph Mallin, were donated to the Office of Public Works (OPW) on Thursday.

Fr Joseph Mallin (103) is the last surviving first-generation relative of one of the executed leaders of the Rising. His documents, given to the OPW and Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, provide an account of Michael Mallin's last days leading up to his court-martial trial and execution.

Cmdt Mallin was the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) military chief of staff during the Rising, and led the Irish rebels stationed at St Stephen's Green and the Royal College of Surgeons. He held the rebel position in the city centre alongside Constance Markievicz, who was second in command at the outpost.

The group of rebels came under heavy fire from British snipers positioned in the tall Georgian buildings looking down upon St Stephen’s Green, and the force surrendered to the British army on Sunday, April 30th, 1916.


Controversial trial

Mallin’s court-martial trial was one of the most controversial trials, due to allegations made against the ICA leader that he had attempted to pass command of his garrison to Markievicz, to avoid execution when the rebels surrendered.

The historical documentation donated to the OPW and Kilmainham Gaol yesterday provide a firm rebuttal to the claims made against Mallin during the trial, outlining he surrendered to the British as the commander of the St Stephen’s Green forces.

Fr Mallin said the historical evidence showed up the court-martial account of Cmdt Mallin’s trial as a “malign document with an ulterior purpose”.

The court martial record was written by British army brigadier Maconchy, one of three members present at Mallin’s trial. It’s account of Mallin’s actions and surrender was not witnessed or signed by Mallin as the defendant, or the other two judges of the court martial.

Fr Mallin said the "secrecy of the so-called court, the absence of any defence counsel and the significance of the role Cmdt Michael Mallin had in the 1916 Easter Rising and its organisation explains perfectly the conspiracy behind this reputational damaging claim, especially given Cmdt Mallin's military background".

A spokesperson from the OPW said: “Fr Joseph Mallin’s presentation is an exceptional historical document.” The historical account will remain in Kilmainham Gaol museum for the public and historians to view.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times