March 10th, 1924
FROM THE ARCHIVES:The “Army Mutiny” in 1924 was caused by the reduction from 55,000 to 18,000 in the strength of the Defence Forces following the Civil War, and the grievances of ex-IRA men who felt they were overlooked for promotion. This report tried to piece together what was happening. - JOE JOYCE
‘TWO ARMY officers have attempted to involve the Army in a challenge to the authority of the Government.”
In these words, General [Richard] Mulcahy, Minister for Defence, described on Saturday the action of Major-General Liam Tobin and Colonel Charles Dalton, who were said to be evading arrest on a charge of mutiny.
The issue of orders for the arrest of these officers of the National forces was announced officially on Saturday evening. In view of the official statement, certain small incidents reported from the provinces seemed to gain significance.
The incidents occurred at the same time as the publication of particulars of the reorganisation of the Army.
The official statement issued from Government Buildings, Dublin, on Saturday evening was as follows:
“Orders have been issued for the arrest of two officers of the National forces – Major-General Liam Tobin and Colonel Charles Dalton, who are charged with mutiny. For the purpose of effecting their arrests, several houses in Dublin were visited by a party of military last night, but without result. The two officers are at present evading arrest.”
Later it was announced that the following statement had been issued to the Army by General Mulcahy: “Two Army officers have attempted to involve the Army in a challenge to the authority of the Government. This is an outrageous departure from the spirit of the Army. It will not be tolerated. Particularly will it not be tolerated by the officers and men of the Army who cherish its honour. . .”
It is now known that at Templemore Barracks something unusual occurred which has not yet been fully explained.
An officer of the Limerick Command was sent to take over the barracks (presumably in consequence of the changes in commands consequent on the reductions of personnel), and met with a refusal.
The matter was reported to headquarters, and forces were dispatched to Templemore. It is understood that no conflict took place, but that some of the troops who were to have been relieved at Templemore did not obey their orders as to their subsequent movements.
From Gormanstown Camp, the headquarters of the Army Transport, 21 rifles were taken away by two officers, who left with them in a tender.
Later the tender was recovered, empty. Following the discovery, several men were placed under arrest.
It is not clear whether these occurrences are connected with the matter described as “a challenge to the authority of the Government.”