Whatever notions or ideas you may have about the murder of Michael Collins, the equivalent in Irish history of the JFK assassinations in the United States, prepare to cast them aside when the musician, comedian and writer Paddy Cullivan will present his latest production at a venue near you. .
This week the producer, writer and performer brings it to the village in which the plot to assassinate Ireland’s most iconic leader of the War of Independence and Civil War is said to have hatched a day before the shooting.
The murder of Michael Collins while touring with a small detachment of bodyguards in West Cork, teeming with anti-Free State forces, at the height of the Civil War, remains unsolved 100 years later this death. The mere mention of it can lead to heated arguments, but no light has ever been shed on the identity of the man who fired the fateful shot on August 22, 1922.
As we approach the centenary of this day which is as memorable in Irish history as November 22, 1963 in United States history, it is likely that this will not be the last production we will see strive to get to the bottom of what happened.
In fact, the purpose of the 90 Minute production, in addition to providing entertainment, is to call for a proper and full investigation into the murder of Michael Collins. “At least JFK got the Warren Commission,” Paddy told The Corkman.
The murder of the iconic leader of the Revolutionary War and the Free State during the Civil War has not been the subject of a commission or even an investigation. it becomes a play.
As the name suggests, “The Murder of Michael Collins” is no ordinary show.
The producer, screenwriter and sole performer promised several revelations during the show.
He compared his production to an episode of the 70s TV show, Columbo, with several of the trademark “Just one more thing” requests from the crumpled mackintosh detective.
Before his visit to the Muscraí Gaeltacht, which was a hotbed of Republican activism during the conflicts of a century ago, he had this warning for the public.
“I will annoy people in Baile Mhúirne,” he said. “There was no plot to kill Michael Collins, so the idea that the plot to kill him was hatched in a pub in this village is rubbish.”
The claim that the Béal na Blath ambush had been planned during a meeting at the Hibernian pub in Baile Mhic Íre in the days before the murder which occurred around dusk on August 22, 1922, was contained in the biography of Tim Pat Coogan on Michael Collins.
According to research carried out by Paddy in preparation for the show, which will take place at the Mills Inn in Baile Mhúirne on Wednesday March 9, anti-Treaty Republicans in and around Cork have always planned ambushes against the Free State. convoys venturing into the area.
“Why I called it The Murder of Michael Collins and why I believe it was a murder is because of the cover-up that happened afterwards.”
“There was no autopsy, there was not even a death certificate,” he said. “The bullets disappeared from the scene.”
One more thing: “There are many different accounts of the last words spoken by Michael Collins in the newspapers of the time.
“It would have been impossible for him to say anything before he died – the head wound he received would have resulted in his death in a tenth of a second.”
Although there have been a number of books which have made different claims about who killed Michael Collins, those which suggest it was an IRA man from West Cork named Sonny O’Neill and others who point to Michael Collins’ right-hand man, General Emmet Dalton. , Paddy Cullivan believes the people of Ireland owe these two men and their families a proper investigation into the death of Michael Collins so that the fog can be cleared as to who pulled the trigger.
He argues that Michael Collins’ body should be exhumed and properly examined for real clues as to how he died.
“That’s what we owe to Michael Collins – he was that kind of man, he paid attention to forensic detail.”
“There’s going to be a documentary later this year in which there’s going to be an analysis of the bullets that might have been used, the injury he had and all that – it’s pure speculation because we don’t We don’t have any bullets or we don’t have an autopsy report or anything like that.
One more thing: “I researched Sonny O’Neill, who was indicted for the murder, and nothing I found about him suggested he was a sniper or a expert with a gun.
“Béal na Blath, where the shooting took place, is longer than the Grand Parade. From what we know of the conditions when Michael Collins was shot, it was getting dark, around dusk.
“The shot that hit Michael Collins was fired 450 years away, which is twice the distance, for example, from which Lee Harvey Oswald is supposed to have shot JFK with the third bullet (when the presidential car was driving away from the supposed position of the shooter in the Book Depository and it happened in the middle of the day.
“It should have been a gunshot.”
One more thing. Dismissing the idea that there was an ambush specifically aimed at killing Michael Collins, all of the research that Paddy Cullivan has seen suggests that the ambush team was in fact preparing to leave when Collins and his group arrived on places.”
Another theory is that Michael Collins was hit by a stray bullet, that his death was accidental, “It appears he was hit by an accidental bullet rather than more than 20 intentional bullets.”
Is there a file in a dusty shelf in a back room of government buildings that would tell everyone what happened at Béal na Blath on August 22, 1922?
“There was a dossier on Michael Collins, a very thick dossier according to those who saw it, but on March 7, 1932, then Defense Secretary Desmond Fitzgerald issued the infamous ‘burning order’ to burn it and records in connection with the murder of Erskine Childers and others who were executed by the Free State.
“It was two days before the government of Cumann na nGaedhal handed over the reins of power to Fianna Fáil led by Eamon Devalera.” he said.
Paddy Cullivan has promised a number of reveals in the 90-minute show in two halves as well as his own version of a news reel, two original songs and production that will provoke debate questions and, perhaps, a reopening of the Michael Collins Murder case. So even if you are not convinced by its theories and evidence, you will at least be entertained.
The Murder of Michael Collins will be performed at the Mills Inn in Ballyvourney/Baile Mhúirne on March 9 and tickets can be booked by calling 026 45237. The show will also be performed at the Church of the Sea in Ballycotton on Thursday March 10. Details of other productions are available at www.paddycullivan.com.