AN attempt by Michael Collins to be the principal speaker at a pro-Treaty public meeting in Killarney met with determined opposition, the Echo reported 100 years ago today, on Saturday, April 22, 1922.
He was due to address a crowd that weekend, but posters had been widely distributed declaring: “Notice is hereby given that this meeting cannot be allowed for the following reasons.
“1. The Free State Army is entering this county in a provocative manner with armoured cars and lorries.
“2. We look on its entrance as a direct challenge to the authority of the Irish Republican Army.
“3. We believe Michael Collins is bringing his mercenary Free State Army here to aid him in breaking up the IRA and disestablishing the Irish Republic.
“4. In order to prevent this meeting, we will take whatever action we deem necessary, and the civil population is advised to keep off the streets.”
Mr Collins was expected to travel that morning via Mallow to arrive in Killarney at 12.50pm but rails had been lifted at Headford and at Ballybrack.
Eventually, Mr Collins, Commandant McKeown and Kevin O’Higgins did arrive by rail and accorded enthusiastic ovation after ovation in the streets.
He next appeared at one of Dr William O’Sullivan’s windows, who had earlier been ordered to remove his tricolours. From there, Mr Collins said: “We have got here despite a few small obstructions. They were about the same size, I fancy, as the men who made them (laughter and cheers) and I hope others travelling have not been too inconvenienced.”
He added: “It has been put out that we are coming to Kerry with mercenary soldiers. Well, if the soldiers of the nation have to be supported by the nation, it is better they be supported than having them going around in a general way robbing the property of the people. That is the issue - order or disorder (cheers). You want a good run country, not a badly run country” (cheers).
“The Men of the South”
During the week, Daniel Corkery mooted that Cork Corporation and County Council make an effort to secure John Keating’s painting, Men of the South. At £250, a “better monument to the boys”, he says, “could not be got at six times the price”.
I fear it is a vain appeal, the Echo opined. That much for a picture is not a proposition likely to be accepted at the present time, when purse strings are being pulled tight and a needy population is clamouring for work and bread.
But the note struck by Mr Corkery should find a responsive echo in us all. We still have a certain amount of municipal pride, and the southern capital is the natural home for Keating’s work.
Unrest in Cork city
At about 9am today, a rather strange incident occurred on Patrick Street. An auxiliary postman from the GPO, John Boylan, was accosted by three men near the Pavilion Theatre and ordered “Hands-Up!” Boylan, refusing to obey, turned around to ask the reason, whereupon one of the men said if he did not comply he would have his brains blown out.
Boylan persisted and asked on whose authority he was being stopped. The man with the revolver said he had orders to hold up anyone he suspected who could have been involved in the theft of a large sum of money in the city yesterday.
Boylan then said he was willing to be detained and gave his name and address. He was then searched for firearms, and when none were found was allowed go. He reported his experience to the Irish Republican Police.
Meanwhile, shortly before midnight last night, a police patrol passing through William Street heard noises in the premises of the Cork Chemical and Drug Company. On investigating, they found the back door open and two men in the process of packing items into valises.
Strongly suspected of theft, the men were removed to the Bridewell and will be brought before a special court today.
Cork land group meets
A meeting of the executive of Cork Land & Labour Association was held this afternoon with unanimous agreement on the following resolution: “This Association directs all members to co-operate with the Irish Labour Party in their attitude towards the attempt to rule the country by militarism. No matter from what source it springs. Further, we direct all members to cease work on Monday in accordance with the manifesto issued by the Labour Party.”
The Gold Medal Hurling Tournament opens tomorrow at the Cork Athletic Grounds when Cloughduv and Fair Hill join issue at 4pm. Prior to that, county champions St Finbarr’s line out against Shamrocks in a challenge.
The IRA Pipe Band will be in attendance and special Cork, Blackrock & Passage trains will run from Albert Quay to the grounds. The 1.15 Crosshaven train will also make a special stop.