The Squad/Twelve Apostles + Joe O'Reilly

diy01

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Twin Towers

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"Yerra, they'll never shoot me in my own county" - Collins to Joe O'Reilly prior to his jouney to West Cork in August 1922.





Michael Collins with Col. Joe O'Reilly arriving at Earlsfort Terrace for Dáil meeting.

Theres little enough to be found about the man appropriately for an aide-de -camp.

Which one in the photo is he?
 

Bogwarrior

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I remember seeing a television interview with Vinnie Byrne, one of the opeators on Bloody Sunday. I believe he killed two agents.
He told how he allowed them to say their last prayers..."den I said, May de Lord have mercy on your souls. And I plugged de two of dem."
He probably then went home for some coddle and stout. :lol:
I'm sure the interview was on the BBC series, "Robert Kee: History of Ireland."
 

Bogwarrior

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Have you tried Tim Pat Coogans book on Collins?
 

Rocky

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diy01 said:
Has anyone read The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins by T. Ryle Dwyer?
http://www.irishbook.com/vIndex.htm?item3603.htm

Has anyone come across good web articles about The Squad? The entry at Wikipedia is quite minimal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Apostles_(Irish_counter-intelligence_organisation)

Also, I can't really find any info about Joe O'Reilly (other than he was "the right hand man of Michael Collins".

Any info you can pass my way?
Yeah I've read Dwyer book on the subject. It's a brilliant book and if you’re interested I'd advise you to read it. After that their mentioned although in less detail in pretty much every book on Collins, the best one being of course Tim Pat Coogan's.
 

Daniel1920

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Has anyone read The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins by T. Ryle Dwyer?
Has anyone come across good web articles about The Squad? The entry at Wikipedia is quite minimal.

The Squad (Irish Republican Army unit) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]

Also, I can't really find any info about Joe O'Reilly (other than he was "the right hand man of Michael Collins".

Any info you can pass my way?[/QUOTE]


Re: Col.Joe O'Reilly March 8th, 2012

Yes, there is information on Joe O'Reilly (1894 - 1943).He is buried in Glasnevin cemetery.
I published two large full page articles on my granduncle Col Joe O'Reilly FSA and my grandfather Sgt Daniel Maunsell RIC in the Cork 2011 Hollybough magazine.
Regards
Daniel1920
 

Hitch 22

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Michael Collins and his right hand men Liam Tobin, Tom Cullen, Frank Thornton and Tom Kehoe and others put the unit together. Some of the names in the Squad include Mick MacDonald, Tommy Kilcoyne, William J. Stapleton, Jim Conway, Frank Bolster, Paddy Griffin, Ben Bryne, Johnny Dunne, Jim Slattery, Mick Kennedy, Eddie Byrne, Vinny Byrne, Mick Reilly and the driver Pat McCrea. At one stage they used a phony carpenter's business as a cover for their comings and goings.
 

turdsl

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Having read most books about Collins.one thing stands out about Joe OReilly was his total loyalty to Collins.
 

Hitch 22

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Found this on a dicussion on Irish military online posted by a person calling himself Daniel/1920

My granduncle was Col.Joe O'Reilly. Daniel/1920:

Col. Joe O’Reilly (1893- 1943) ADC to General Michael Collins

Margaret Mc Carthy nee O’ Reilly was the sister of Col. Joe O’Reilly.Margaret was born in Limerick in 1894 and Joe was born in Bantry, Co. Cork in 1893. Joe moved to London in 1911 at the age of 15 and took up employment as a postal official in the Post Office Saving Bank in West Kensington. According to Michael Collin’s first biographer, Piarse Beaslai, Collins had gone to London in July 1906 to work in the Post Office Savings Bank , and in 1911 he “first made the acquaintance of one who was to play a very big part in his after- life ”. This was Joe O’Reilly, “the faithful companion and right-hand man of Michael in all his labours and perils in Ireland”. The two got to know each other “through athletic interests” outside working hours. (1)

About four years after they first met, “the two friends returned to Ireland with a party of other London Irishmen who were determined to take part in the forthcoming 1916 Rising”. (2) They fought side by side in the GPO in Dublin and were interned together after the rising. (3 ) Immediately after the rising, Joe was among a batch of prisoners brought to Richmond Barracks in Dublin. Some 300 of these were then marched off to a boat for deportation to England. Michael Collins was among this 300, as was Joe. They were taken to Stafford Jail in England, where they were detained foe two months before being moved to Frongoch internment camp in Wales.(4 ) While at Frongoch both Michael Collins and Joe kept up their interest in athletics. According to Frank O’Connor, author of the book the Big Fellow, Collins was very good at the high jump, hammer throwing and the hundred yards. “ O’Reilly describes how he almost won the hundred yards when he suddenly saw Collins go past him; as he did, he hissed gleefully, all his face a grin of delight: Ah, you whooer, you can’t run!’’’(5)

Joe was released from Frongoth sometime before Collins. Most of the internees were let out under a general amnesty just before Christmas 1916. According to the author Piaras Beaslai, Joe went home to Bantry for around two months and then returned to Dublin in early March 1917, where he “commenced that close association with Collins and his work until the death of the chief”. By this time, Collins had become secretary of the Irish National Aid Association, an organisation set up to provide for the dependents of those killed in the rising and those who had been sentenced to penal servitude afterwards. Collins employed Joe as his assistant in early 1917 “and then began a close association which was to last until the tragic death of Collins”. (6)

According to Beaslai the nature of the working relationship between Joe and Michael Collins became more intense around late spring or early summer 1918. Collins gave up the position of secretary of the Irish National Aid Association as he became more deeply involved in the reorganised Irish Volunteer movement and in the revitalised Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). In October 1917 he became Director of Organisation of the Irish Volunteers. By the spring of 1918, he had also begun to act as Adjunct-General and indeed Quartermaster-General of the volunteers. He badly needed a capable assistant according to Beaslai. “He already had Joe O’Reilly as an assistant, but in a different capacity. I do not think Joe’s job was ever defined. He had to do a thousand things; but the nearest definition I can find for his position is confidential messenger and aide-de-camp.”(7)

David Neligan, from Templeglantine, co. Limerick, worked for the G-division (detective division) of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. He decided to leave the police in May 1920 but an acquaintance persuaded him stay and help Collins from within Dublin Castle. Neligan met Austin Stack, Minister of Home Affairs in the first Dail, at the Clarence Hotel, where he Neligan was staying. Austin Stack told Neligan that Collins wanted to meet him. Joe O’Reilly turned up.

This is what Neligan later wrote about O’Reilly:
I knew Joes appearance well, indeed all the G-men did. He could be seen at all hours pedalling an old bicycle furiously. The G-men never attached much importance to Joe, but they were wrong. He was Collins’s confidential courier and often carried important dispatches. As Frank O’Connor said in his readable book, The Big Fellow, Joe lived only for Collins. Like him, he was a Cork Man, a thin, eager, sparely built youth with lively movements, a very dynamo of energy. He was also innocent, ingenuous and intensely religious; altogether an admirable person. A poor labourer, he had given up his work to take on a life of drudgery far worse than labouring, for Collins was a hard taskmaster, sparing none, himself least of all. (8)

The night before Collis’s departure for Cork (on his last fatal journey), he went to bed at 7.30. He was suffering from a bad chill. O’Reilly treated him with poultices and then went for oranges and made him a drink. Collins said that was grand. “Encouraged by these, the first words of gratitude that had passed between them, O’Reilly went so far as to tuck him in for the night. But this was too much. Gathering all his strength, Collins bawled: ‘Go to hell and leave me alone!’’’
O’Reilly woke at six the next morning and, “moved by some impulse, rushed to the window. Collins was standing outside on the steps waiting for the armoured car to arrive. He wore a small green kitbag over his back, his head was bent in gloomy meditation, and O’Reilly thought had had never seen so tragically dejected a Collins as this man who, thinking himself unobserved, let himself fall slack in the loneliness and silence of the summer morning. The instinct of devotion was strong in O’Reilly. He pulled on his trousers and, indifferent to rebuffs, dashed downstairs to say goodbye, but the car was already gone. (9) He was not with Collins on his last fatal tour because other duties prevented him from going. By this time, i.e., august 1922, he had become a colonel in the new Irish army. (10) Michael Collins was shot dead at Beal Na Blath on 22 August 1922.

When W.T. Cosgrave became President of the Executive Council (i.e., leader of the newly independent Irish Government, a position the equivalent of today’s Taoiseach), Col. Joe O’Reilly became his aide-de-camp (ADC). Of his performance of his role, one Irish newspaper remarked: “When he was appointed ADC to President Cosgrave, he served him the same selfish devotion” as he had served Collins. (11)

When Cosgrave’s Cumann Na nGaedheal government fell from power in 1932, Joe O’Reilly was appointed to the Board of Works, “where, for the last 10 years, his duty was to provide fuel and other supplies to government offices all over Eire, a task which he discharged with efficiency”. (12) The following warm tribute was paid to him by the Irish Times on the 9 August 1943, in its article reporting on his death: “A man of high integrity, his personal qualities won for him the respect and admiration of all. To his many friends, the announcement of his death will come as a shock.” According to his niece, Mrs Eily Mc Caffrey, Joe had undergone two serious operations to his stomach. His imprisonment by the British in England and Wales in 1916 had long term serious consequences for his health in later years. He died due to stomach cancer in August 1943.

All three main Irish daily newspapers reported on Joe O’Reilly’s funeral on 11 August 1943. He died in St. Vincent’s Private Hospital on Lower Lesson Street, Dublin and his last address was 134 South Circular Road, Dublin. Ministers, members of the Oireachtas and the judiciary, high ranking officers and clergy were among the large attendance at the funeral. He was buried with full military honours at Glasnevin Cemetery following requiem Mass at the Franciscan Church, Merchant’s quay, Dublin. The coffin was draped in the tricolour and a military party fired three volleys at the graveside. Among the chief mourners were his widow, his daughter Grace-Claire and his sister Mrs Margaret Mc Carthy.(13) Margaret often used remark that “Joes funeral was one of the saddest days in my life”. Religiously she used attend the Beal Na Blath commemorations for Gen. Michael Collins, Joe’s hero, every August

Bibliography
1. Beaslai, Piaras, Michael Collins and the Making of a New Ireland (Phoenix,
Dublin, 1926), volume 1, p23
2. Irish Independent, 9 August 1943
3. Irish Press, 9 August 1943
4. Beaslai, Collins, I, p. 107; Frank O Connor, The Big Fellow (Corgi Books,
London, 1969), p 36. In his Acknowledgements, O’Connor thanked very
especially Joe O’Reilly for his hospitality and kindness and for the “quite
considerable assistance” he gave him when preparing this book. It was first
published in 1937 and a revised edition, the one cited in this text, was
published in 1965.
5. O’Connor, Big Fellow, p. 36
6. Irish Independent, 9 August 1943
7. Beaslai, Collins, I, p. 187
8. O’Connor, Big Fellow, p. 120
9. O’Connor, Big Fellow, p.211
10. Irish Independent, 9 August 1943; Irish Press, 9 August 1943
11. Irish Independent, 9 August 1943
12. Irish Times, 9 August 1943
13. Irish Independent, 11 August 1943; Irish Press, 11 August 1943; Irish Times,
11 August 1943

I would like to acknowledge the help of Brian Maye , a colleague of mine from Sancta Maria College, Rathfarnham, Dublin , and an accomplished historian.

The two attachments below are:
Col. Joseph O'Reilly
Timothy Mc Carthy and Margaret Mc Carthy nee O'Reilly
Col. Joe O'Reilly 1893-1943



Here is a picture of Joe O'Reilly with the Big Fellow.
 
Last edited:

Hitch 22

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Having read most books about Collins.one thing stands out about Joe OReilly was his total loyalty to Collins.
There has been speculation that Collins may have been bi-sexual - he enjoyed wrestling other men and besting them while biting their ears. If Collins was bi perhaps O'Reilly's devotion was out of more than duty but love. Of course they were devoutly Catholic as were their entire generation so it is unlikely any relationship was consummated.
 

turdsl

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Loyalty at that time was understood to mean that someone saved you from been shot in the back when the country was full of spies and informers.
 

Hitch 22

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Loyalty at that time was understood to mean that someone saved you from been shot in the back when the country was full of spies and informers.
[video=youtube;lGif2d0VZCA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGif2d0VZCA[/video]
 

Lain2016

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I remember seeing a television interview with Vinnie Byrne, one of the opeators on Bloody Sunday. I believe he killed two agents.
He told how he allowed them to say their last prayers..."den I said, May de Lord have mercy on your souls. And I plugged de two of dem."
He probably then went home for some coddle and stout. :lol:
I'm sure the interview was on the BBC series, "Robert Kee: History of Ireland."
:)
 

JohnD66

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What's hardly ever commented on (though this is begining to change) is what the Squad got up to in the civil war. Between Kerry and Dublin (and spread across CID, National Army Intel and the Dublin Guard) they killed in cold blood something in the region of 50 prisoners, or otherwise unarmed, anti-Treatyites.

The story of the Squad is really very dark indeed. What I've noticed recently is that in 1919-21 Collins controlled them quite tightly. Mostly young and loyal to him, they killed who he told them to kill. In the Truce there are lots of reports of them being totally out of control, drinking heavily and involved in random violence.

In the civil war, freed from Collins' control after he was killed, they killed all around them and there are also pretty serious cases of torture of prisoners. Even after the civil war several of them were invovled in apolitical killings - notably of two innocent Jews in Dublin.

Fortunately a lot of them were dumped out of the Army in 1924 arising out of the threatened mutiny. I don't say this as a party political thing, or from one side of the civil war, but the totality of what they werre involved in needs to be talked about.
 

controller

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There has been speculation that Collins may have been bi-sexual - he enjoyed wrestling other men and besting them while biting their ears. If Collins was bi perhaps O'Reilly's devotion was out of more than duty but love. Of course they were devoutly Catholic as were their entire generation so it is unlikely any relationship was consummated.
What is the purpose of this post, it suggests ignorance on the part of the poster
 

Mitsui2

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Also, I can't really find any info about Joe O'Reilly (other than he was "the right hand man of Michael Collins".
As best I recall, O'Reilly was one of Frank O'Connor's personal sources for his Collins biog, The Big Fellow, and is written about therein.
 

Roman Emperor

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What's hardly ever commented on (though this is begining to change) is what the Squad got up to in the civil war. Between Kerry and Dublin (and spread across CID, National Army Intel and the Dublin Guard) they killed in cold blood something in the region of 50 prisoners, or otherwise unarmed, anti-Treatyites.

The story of the Squad is really very dark indeed. What I've noticed recently is that in 1919-21 Collins controlled them quite tightly. Mostly young and loyal to him, they killed who he told them to kill. In the Truce there are lots of reports of them being totally out of control, drinking heavily and involved in random violence.

In the civil war, freed from Collins' control after he was killed, they killed all around them and there are also pretty serious cases of torture of prisoners. Even after the civil war several of them were invovled in apolitical killings - notably of two innocent Jews in Dublin.

Fortunately a lot of them were dumped out of the Army in 1924 arising out of the threatened mutiny. I don't say this as a party political thing, or from one side of the civil war, but the totality of what they werre involved in needs to be talked about.
Was this the group based in Dunlop House/Oriel House ?
 

Schomberg

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What's hardly ever commented on (though this is begining to change) is what the Squad got up to in the civil war. Between Kerry and Dublin (and spread across CID, National Army Intel and the Dublin Guard) they killed in cold blood something in the region of 50 prisoners, or otherwise unarmed, anti-Treatyites.

The story of the Squad is really very dark indeed. What I've noticed recently is that in 1919-21 Collins controlled them quite tightly. Mostly young and loyal to him, they killed who he told them to kill. In the Truce there are lots of reports of them being totally out of control, drinking heavily and involved in random violence.

In the civil war, freed from Collins' control after he was killed, they killed all around them and there are also pretty serious cases of torture of prisoners. Even after the civil war several of them were invovled in apolitical killings - notably of two innocent Jews in Dublin.

Fortunately a lot of them were dumped out of the Army in 1924 arising out of the threatened mutiny. I don't say this as a party political thing, or from one side of the civil war, but the totality of what they werre involved in needs to be talked about.
Interesting! Didn't know anything about this.

You'd have to wonder what affect the early murders these young men carried out had on them - mentally. Even in war killing another person, particularly up close and personal as these men did, is never an easy thing. I've seen interviews with some of them where they're all piss and vingear, but behind closed doors, it might have been a different story. I've no real background knowledge on them, but I assume they were civilians before they teamed up with the Nationalist movement? i.e. they weren't Forces people?
 

Paddy Sarkozy

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Michael Collins - the worst conman in Irish history.
And we still know nothing about who were his handlers - who were the shadowy characters who ordered him back to Ireland to foment trouble. Who were those charachters, and what did they know about him?
What was their hold over him?
Were they Brits or Russians??
 


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