Debate on Michael Collins

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JIM:

Collins was a soldier fighting a war. He did what he thought was necessary as did many during that period in time and indeed in every other time people have rose up and sacrificed their consciences to the unthinkable for what they thought to be the greater good. Theirs was a very old fight and because of their actions successive generations in the Republic haven’t had to fight.




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I’ve read all this page and I still havent been able to understand what was so vile about the man. I dont agree with soldiering anymore but thats what Collins was doing. He may have had unarmed men shot but in his new kind of war where the little nation had a chance against an Empire it was merely an exercise in crossing the I’s and dotting the T’s. Its a dirty war but its the only war Ireland could fight and as a veteran of 1916 Collins saw the waste of conventional warfare on both soldiers and civilians. Part of his genius was in trying to limit the bloodshed as mush as possible. That he refused to do what the ‘soldiers’ of the later troubles did is to Collins credit. Collins didn’t only arguably invent a new kind of warfare he also created new rules for it. That later men ignored those rules ( tactically idiotic also by the way ) shows their characters to be vile IMO not Collins.
Maybe your perception of Collins is coloured by living during the troubles. The original men were a different breed.

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RESPONSE.

Michael Collins was never a soldier. He could have enlisted in Ireland’s army; the British Army.

When tens of thousands of Irishman had volunteered to fight in the Great War this mean that Collins and his cabal were traitors in that they took the side of the Central Powers.

Republicans did not want Ireland to be neutral. They very dishonestly pretended that they wished Ireland to stand aloof from the conflagration. Pearse and his co conspirators invited German troops into Ireland. In fact came.

The republican movement was mainly funded and directed by men in the United States.

Collins fought for a 32 county republic which has never existed and maybe never shall exist.

Our tradition is monarchy. We were connected with Great Britain. Since Strabo named the British Isles ‘Pritanike’ it has been known that Ireland and Great Britain come as a pair. We ought to be united with our kith and kin in Great Britain.

Irish republicanism has only existed since the 1790s. Since our connection with Wales and England began in 1171 it was seldom questioned that we ought to be linked to our neighbours to the east. We even had a join parliament with our friends and relatives in England and Wales under Edward I and then again in the 1650s.

There were rebellions in Ireland but these were seldom separatist revolts but often actuated by other grievances. Almost everyone in Ireland is of Welsh, Scots and English stock. Many people in Great Britain are of Irish heritage. It is illogical to seek divide us from our own people.

I vow allegiance to Her Britannic Majesty Elizabeth II as the rightful queen of the whole of Ireland.

The IRA in the 1916 to 21 period usually did not wear uniforms. They did not follow the Geneva Convention.

The IRA killed at least 200 civilians 1919-21. Many of these were sectarian murders. Don not try that old canard that the IRA was anti sectarian.

78 people were killed by the IRA February 1920 to July 1921 in Cork alone. The IRA COllins’ own county was especially vicious.

In this same period the loyalist terrorists – the UPA – committed many monstrous crimes in this era.

Collins had no compunction about killing unarmed men. He often order the slaying of civilians such as civil servants. This was not a military action. Even IRA men noted that Collins was merciless. His premature death was thus very welcome.

By contrast to the IRA the Crown Forces fought fairly cleanly. There was the egregious episode of Croke Park. The police may well have been fired on by people in the stadium. If not then yes it was murder to kill these civilians. Those policemen who killed civilians ought to have been prosecuted.

The conduct of counter insurgent forces is often poor. The behaviour of the Crown Forces was good overall. Note that immediately after Southern Ireland left the UK there was no stigma in enlisting in the British military.

Collins was plainly not seeking to limit deaths but to maximise him,

I concur that Collins was fairly successful in eliminating the Crown Forces intelligence. He terrorised the civilian population lest they assist His Majesty’s forces. He plainly recognised that many people in Ireland viewed themselves as British and wished to save the Union. Otherwise why did he have to intimidate so many people?

The IRA was paranoid about spies. If there were so many spies then the British Army and RIC would have been more successful.

About 2 300 people were slain in this conflict. Over 1000 in the Crown Forces. Perhaps 800 IRA and perhaps 500 civilians.

The Crown Forces were not bested. The UK could easily sustain such losses.

We gained nothing through leaving the UK.

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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