Rory O’Connor (1883-1922)


Life
; b. Dublin, ed. St. Mary’s College, Clongowes Wood College, and UCD (Arts and Engineering); College of Science diplomas; worked as railway engineer in Canada, 1911-15; returned to Ireland in answer to IRB summons; wounded in 1916 Rising; quit IRB after internment on the grounds that a secret movement could not gain popular support; Director of Engineering in IRA, and close associate of Collins; opposed Treaty, and became Chairman of IRA Military Council, March. 1922;
 
occupied Four Courts with Liam Mellows and others, 13 April 1922; rejected de Valera-Collins election pact of May 1922; remained in Four Courts under truce conditions with Free State up to government bombardment with guns supplied by Churchill, 28 June 1922; captured and later executed with other Republican prisoners, 8 Dec., along with Liam Mellows, Richard [“Dick”] Barrett and Joseph McKelvey,in retaliation for the assassination of Sean Hales, TD. DIH

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Commentary
Hugh Kenner founds his treatment of modern Irish history in Cast a Colder Eye (?1987) on the fact that O’Connor was best man at the wedding of Kevin O’Higgins, whose order as Minister of Home Affairs brought about his execution.

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Notes
Peter Megennis (Sup. Gen. of Calced Carmelites, writing to Mgr. John Hagan): “I received the news of the shooting of the four, amongst which was my dear friend Liam [Mellows] … I knew these fellows [the Free State govt.] were contemptible curs, but it never occurred to me that they were such vampires, drunk with their sudden greatness. Their one idea is to revel in human blood.” (papers in Irish College, Rome, quoted in Dermot Keogh, review of Patrick Murray, Oracle of God: The Roman Catholic Church and Irish Politics, UCD Press 2000, in The Irish Times, 11 March 2000.)

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