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  • History of barracks & camps

    Anyone know of any websites, books or info on the history of the countrys barracks in particularly kilbride, mckee and collins
    cheers

  • #2
    Originally posted by paul469 View Post
    Anyone know of any websites, books or info on the history of the countrys barracks in particularly kilbride, mckee and collins
    cheers
    Which Collins Bks?
    Vickers
    .303 MMG
    Last edited by Vickers; 29 June 2009, 15:26. Reason: Added Bks in case anyone thought I didn't know who Collins was!
    "Fellow-soldiers of the Irish Republican Army, I have just received a communication from Commandant Pearse calling on us to surrender and you will agree with me that this is the hardest task we have been called upon to perform during this eventful week, but we came into this fight for Irish Independence in obedience to the commands of our higher officers and now in obedience to their wishes we must surrender. I know you would, like myself, prefer to be with our comrades who have already fallen in the fight - we, too, should rather die in this glorious struggle than submit to the enemy." Volunteer Captain Patrick Holahan to 58 of his men at North Brunswick Street, the last group of the Four Courts Garrison to surrender, Sunday 30 April 1916.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by paul469 View Post
      Anyone know of any websites, books or info on the history of the countrys barracks in particularly kilbride, mckee and collins
      cheers
      Old copies of the Cosantoir back in the 60s. Should be availabe in the DF Library or Militray Archives. A book on Kilworth was released a few years back and there's a good one on the Curragh called A Most Delightful Station.
      sigpic
      Say NO to violence against Women

      Originally posted by hedgehog
      My favourite moment was when the
      Originally posted by hedgehog
      red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

      Comment


      • #4
        As Groundhog states, old copies of an Cosantoir i.e. Short Histories of Irish Barracks (Collins Barracks, Clancy Barracks, Griffith Barracks, McKee Barracks, Keogh Barracks, Aiken Barracks/Dundalk, Mellowes Barracks/Galway), in An Cosantoir (Journal of the Irish Defence Forces), 1969-1973 by Comdt Patrick Denis O'Donnell. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Denis_O%27Donnell. They should also be available in the university libraries.
        "Fellow-soldiers of the Irish Republican Army, I have just received a communication from Commandant Pearse calling on us to surrender and you will agree with me that this is the hardest task we have been called upon to perform during this eventful week, but we came into this fight for Irish Independence in obedience to the commands of our higher officers and now in obedience to their wishes we must surrender. I know you would, like myself, prefer to be with our comrades who have already fallen in the fight - we, too, should rather die in this glorious struggle than submit to the enemy." Volunteer Captain Patrick Holahan to 58 of his men at North Brunswick Street, the last group of the Four Courts Garrison to surrender, Sunday 30 April 1916.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Vickers View Post
          As Groundhog states, old copies of an Cosantoir i.e. Short Histories of Irish Barracks (Collins Barracks, Clancy Barracks, Griffith Barracks, McKee Barracks, Keogh Barracks, Aiken Barracks/Dundalk, Mellowes Barracks/Galway), in An Cosantoir (Journal of the Irish Defence Forces), 1969-1973 by Comdt Patrick Denis O'Donnell. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Denis_O%27Donnell. They should also be available in the university libraries.
          There are old copies of An Cosantóir from that era archived in .pdf format on
          www.dfmagazine.ie aswell
          "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

          Comment


          • #6
            The Magazine Fort in the park

            I have come across details of the Parliamentry Report on the Raid on the Magazine Fort just prior to Christmas 1939

            Dáil Éireann - Volume 79 - 30 April, 1940

            Committee on Finance. - Raid on Magazine Fort—Motion for Select Committee.

            An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy

            An Ceann Comhairle: I understand that a period of three hours has been allotted for this discussion. At 7.30. therefore the question will be put.


            Dr. O'Higgins: I move:—

            That the Dáil is of opinion that in order to allay public disquiet and anxiety a select committee consisting of seven Deputies to be appointed by the Committee of Selection and with power to send for persons, papers and documents should be established publicly to investigate and report to the Dáil on the following matters:—

            (1) The causes of the failure to defend the Magazine Fort against the raid made thereon by armed persons on the 23rd December, 1939, and
            (2) The extent, if any, to which these causes are attributable to defects in the general administration of the Defence Forces or any of its branches or in the general organisation, efficiency or discipline thereof.

            Page 1980

            This motion has been so long on the Order Paper that, I think, most of us have forgotten its terms, and some of us may have even forgotten what it refers to. The motion refers to a raid which took place on the 23rd December last year, six long months ago, and during those six months by every trick and Parliamentary device, the Government has dodged and evaded a discussion of that particular event. It has refused to take Parliament into its confidence and apparently has refused to allow Parliament or a Committee of Parliament, to investigate the conditions in the Army which led up to that particular catastrophe. Moreover, having left Parliament under the impression that an Army inquiry was to be held for the information of [1980] Parliament, we had a secret inquiry and the evidence, the findings and results of that inquiry were withheld from Parliament. In other words, we have every attempt by political chiefs to wrest the Army from the control of Parliament and to revive, in an official way, what can well be described as the greatest curse within the country, namely a secret Army, secretly controlled, secretly administered, with arms in its hands and not answerable to any elected body. It is generally accepted in every democracy that the army, unlike other Government Departments, is more intimately the concern of Parliament than it is the concern of the Government. In ordinary democratic States, it is usual and normal when a major blunder or a major disaster occurs in any of its Departments other than the army for the Department concerned itself to investigate, always on the understanding that the results of the investigation are reported to Parliament. But in the case of the Army, unlike any other Department of State, precedent, custom and commonsense direct that when a major blunder occurs or a major disaster takes place—the Army being the Army of the people and the instrument of the Parliament—a full, searching and public inquiry be carried out, not by people within the Department, not by people wearing the uniform of that Army, but by all Parties of the Parliament of the country. There is more necessity to adhere to the decent code in this country, in view of its history and in view of present dangers in the country, than there would be in any other country in the world.

            page 1981

            One of the principal reasons why such a procedure was asked for is stated in the first line of the motion— “to allay public anxiety and disquiet” —to restore confidence in the Army, the shattered confidence of the people. Nothing could be better calculated to undermine public confidence than the despicable secrecy and shirking of Parliamentary investigation which has characterised the two Ministers during the last six months. This was something which no Minister attempted to minimise, which in varying tones [1981] each and every Minister agreed was a disgraceful catastrophe, a major disaster, a shocking occurrence, which took place six months ago. The shock it gave to the Minister was nothing to the reeling, staggering shock which it gave to the ordinary member of the public. Every citizen asked what was the cause, what it was about, why it took place, what was going to occur next; and everybody wanted assurances that, whatever rottenness there may be within the machine to make such an event possible, there would be a full, searching and impartial investigation—not by those who might be associated closely with it, not by those who rightfully might be blamed for the occurrence, but by a committee appointed by the whole of Parliament, working through the ordinary machinery of Parliament, and reporting back to Parliament.

            The mere suggestion, the mere hint, that such procedure might be followed had, at least, the effect of temporarily restoring confidence. The belief and the impression created in the public mind and in the minds of Deputies, that the Army inquiry was merely a preliminary and that at all events the evidence and the findings would be submitted to Parliament and to the people, temporarily restored confidence. Then we learned, after waiting and expecting, that the result was to be suppressed, that the evidence was to be suppressed, that the findings were to be suppressed, and that the causes, if any were ascertained, were to be kept a closely-guarded secret. Whatever sore, whatever wound, had been created in the confidence of the public on the 24th December was reopened in an aggravated form.

            Page 1982

            Then, to make matters worse, to further undermine confidence, we had the long procession of victimised individuals—all victims sacrificed on the altar of Ministerial security. Remember, there is nobody inside or outside this House, and no decent-minded man or woman, who does not regard those unfortunate officers as scapegoats— scapegoats to save the positions of one or two Ministers. There is nobody on this side of the House or any other [1982] side of the House who has not agreed that, if any officer, non-commissioned officer or soldier was responsible and if the responsibility were pinned on him for what happened on the 23rd December, to ask him for his resignation, to place him on half pay, or even to dismiss him without any other penalty, would be leniency to the extent of folly. The idea that, without fixing responsibility, without having any evidence, without bringing any charge, without going through any trial, unfortunate officers—conscientious, upright, hard working officers with wives and families depending on them—would be made walk the plank, their careers blasted, their source of income removed, not because of any fault, not because of any connection with the disaster that the Minister or anybody else dare give a name to, but merely because action had to be taken against somebody, and if it were not taken lower down it might be taken higher up, is not a course of events calculated to give anybody confidence in the Army or in the administration of the Army.

            Page 1983

            There is a major disaster, a secret inquiry, a suppression of the evidence before that inquiry, a victimisation and a penalisation of individuals without any charge or without anybody having the courage to make a charge. Then we rely merely on the power of censorship to make people presume—like the Deputy who spoke last week from the Government Benches—that suitable action had been taken against those responsible for the disaster. The Deputy who spoke was a lawyer. I have rarely met a lawyer who had not a high sense of justice, a kind of inherent sense of justice. I feel that that Deputy had that sense just as much as any other lawyer, and that he made use of that particular statement in the belief that the responsibility had been pinned on these men. Certainly, he would have cut out his tongue rather than make use of such phrases, if he thoroughly understood that no charge ever had been made, that no opportunity ever had been given to them to put up any defence, and that they had been “turfed” out [1983] of their appointments merely because somebody had to go in order to save somebody else.

            What is the normal procedure all over the world when an event of that magnitude occurs? There is no Minister of Parliament who would ask in a case like that for somebody underneath him to send in his resignation. Events of this kind occur, periodically, in different countries. If the blame can be clearly assessed, then the individual who is blameworthy suffers the penalty. If the blame cannot be clearly assessed, then the man who is in charge of the administration of the particular branch concerned says: “Then I must take the blame.” He says, in effect: “Since there is no one underneath me on whom I can fix the blame anywhere, therefore I must take the blame myself.” In that way, it is the man on top who resigns and, as far as possible, the men concerned with him tender their resignations also.

            page 1984

            Comment


            • #7
              Continued

              even the officers who were to be removed from the Army, temporarily or otherwise, were not informed as to whether or not there was sufficient evidence to be formulated against any one of them? If there was, I suggest that the Minister is following up one blunder by another. If there was evidence against anybody, no matter how exalted that person might be, the Minister would be failing in his trust if the charge against these officers was not followed up and fully investigated. The officers concerned should be proved guilty of the alleged offence or otherwise.

              Here, however, we have a number of officers, with their livelihoods gone, their good names tarnished, and with no evidence against them, and along with that we have a whole queue of humble, private soldiers, put through a definite charge, I admit, but in every case, except one, found not guilty. We have put down a motion here for Deputies from all Parties to join together and, in accordance with the procedure laid down by this House by statute, to set up a committee of inquiry of this House to report back to Parliament. That has been delayed for six months. Even the discussion of it has been delayed for that time. Is not anybody entitled to ask, in such circumstances, what is the skeleton in the cupboard, or what cupboard is the skeleton in, or what is the Government either ashamed or afraid to disclose? If everything is all right, and if nothing is to be hidden from Parliament, why then should there be any objection to the setting up of the inquiry that is suggested here? If you think that there is no necessity for such an inquiry, and if you have already found out where the fault is, then why keep it secret, and why should we be left in the position of having to take action against men—innocent men and men against whom you are afraid or ashamed to bring any charge? Is it not right that these men should be given an opportunity of defending themselves?

              1985

              I suppose there are occurrences in every State that bring discredit on the State and that bring Departments of [1985] State under the contempt of decent people and people with a sense of fair play and with a desire for decency. In that connection, I suggest that the behaviour of the two Ministers concerned here, for the last six months, has been despicable. Their treatment of the unfortunates under them has been contemptible. The position that we are in at the moment, with regard to decent, conscientious, hard-working officers—family men—who have given several years' loyal and faithful service to this Parliament under two Governments, is that they are being “turfed” out of the Army, disgraced and discredited, although no charge has been made against them, but with the impression left in everybody's mind that they must have been, in some way, culpable for what has happened. I say that that is a violation of ordinary decent procedure, and also a violation of what is due to a decent uniform. I suggest, however, that the harm was done outside the Army. The events, since January last, did incalculable harm. You have the case of men, with a devotion to duty and faith and loyalty to their duty, who would expect to be tried according to military law and regulation, if any charge were to be brought against them, being deprived of their livelihoods without any charge being brought or any opportunity being given to them to defend themselves.

              In this motion, we are asking the Oireachtas to appoint a committee to inquire into this whole business with a view to removing the cause of the trouble. It was in order to do that that the motion was originally tabled. It is moved now for that purpose but also for the purpose of seeing that justice is done to decent, honourable, able, loyal and efficient officers who have been since discredited and victimised without cause.

              Mr. McGilligan: I formally second the motion.

              Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor) Oscar Traynor

              1986

              Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): With your permission, A Chinn Comhairle, I should like to intervene here. I promised to make a statement [1986] about the raid and would like to do so at this stage.
              The items of Government property which were taken by the raiders were as follows:—.303 machine gun ammunition, 472,111 rounds; Thompson gun ammunition, 612,300 rounds; .45 revolver ammunition, 12 rounds; total small arms ammunition, 1,084,423 rounds; four Lee Enfield rifles, three rifle slings, three bayonets, three oil bottles, four scabbards, three pull-throughs, seven rifle magazines, one revolver, Webley pattern; and one gas mask.

              The circumstances of the raid were investigated by a military Court of Inquiry but before summarising the evidence taken by the court, I think it well to give some preliminary facts.
              The Magazine Fort is a military post within the Eastern Command area. On the 23rd December, 1939, it was in the charge of an officer of the Ordnance Service who had held the appointment of officer in charge of the Fort since 1924. The officer resided in married quarters within the Fort. His duties as officer in charge, apart from the defence of the Fort, to which I shall presently refer, consisted in the receipt, storage, inspection and issue of ammunition and explosives. To assist him in these duties he had a staff of two non-commissioned officers and four privates.

              As in the case of all other posts within the Eastern Command area the general responsibility for the defence of the Magazine Fort devolves upon the officer commanding the Eastern Command. In February, 1939, that officer made the officer in charge of the Fort immediately responsible to him for the defence of the Fort. Actually, the immediate responsibility had, except for a short period in 1929 and 1930, been vested in the officer in charge of the Fort since 1924, but until February, 1939, his responsibility was directly to the officer commanding, Islandbridge Barracks.

              1987

              The entrance to the Fort consists of an outer iron barred gate and an inner wooden gate with a wicket and grille. In the day-time the inner gate is kept [1987] open and the outer gate locked. After nightfall, both gates are locked. In the courtyard immediately inside and directly facing the inner gate is a sentry post known as No. 1 post. To the right of the entrance and adjoining the inner gate is a room occupied by the military policeman on duty. The bell push on the outer gate is connected to a bell in this room. To the right of the policeman's room, from which it is separated by a dividing wall, is the guardroom. Approximately 30 yards distant is a block of buildings which includes the room occupied by the fire picquet.

              The circumstances connected with the raid as elicited by the Court of Inquiry from the sworn evidence of the various witnesses were as follows:—

              The personnel at the disposal of the officer in charge of the Fort on the night of the 23rd December, 1939, for the defence of the Fort was: A guard consisting of one non-commissioned officer and six men armed with rifles and one Lewis gun; a fire picquet consisting of one non-commissioned officer and four men armed with rifles; a military policeman armed with a revolver.

              1988

              The Fort is not garrisoned and the guard is provided by one of the infantry units of the command area. The guard on the 23rd December, 1939, was supplied by the 7th (Dublin) Infantry Battalion, a reserve battalion which some time previously had replaced the regular battalion stationed at Portobello Barracks and had taken over its duties. The guard was made up of a Volunteer corporal, two Class. A reserve privates, and four Volunteer privates. In accordance with the usual practice, personnel of the battalion intended for guard duties on the 23rd December were warned for duty on the night of the 22nd, but were not assigned to their particular posts until the morning of the 23rd when, on parading, they were detailed to the various guards—the non-commissioned officers by the battalion sergeant major and the men by the orderly sergeants. The Magazine Fort guard, having been thus detailed, proceeded to the Fort by lorry. The guard was mounted at [1988] 9.45 a.m. and was due for relief at the same hour on the following day. There were two sentry posts at the Fort, so that two members of the guard were on sentry duty at a time, each period of duty being two hours. The guard commander and the four men not on sentry duty occupied the guardroom.

              The fire picquet was supplied from Islandbridge Barracks. It was drawn from personnel serving at Islandbridge Barracks or on the permanent staff of the Fort and was made up of a Volunteer sergeant, two privates of the regular force and two Volunteer privates. The same picquet was detailed for duty for the period 22nd to 29th December and, on the 23rd December, reported for duty shortly after 1 p.m. The picquet occupied a room known as the fire picquet room.

              The military policeman was detailed from the No. 2 Garrison Company, Military Police Service, Islandbridge Barracks. He had been on duty daily at the Fort from 4 p.m. to midnight since the 18th December, returning to Islandbridge Barracks each night on completion of duty. His period of duty was due to terminate at midnight on the 24th December. He had done duty at the Fort intermittently for seven years—on an average on week in every nine.

              The following orders were issued by the officer in charge of the Fort in 1929 and were in force on the night of the raid:—(1) A scheme of defence for the Magazine Fort, (2) special order for guard commander, (3) general order for sentries, (4) orders for military police.
              These orders are rather detailed and I think it will be sufficient for the present, at any rate, to mention the following provisions:—


              to be continued.......

              Comment


              • #8
                After nightfall only the wicket of the inner gate should be opened for any purpose. Before opening the wicket, either to permit anybody to leave the Fort or to answer the bell at the outer gate, the military policeman should call the guard commander and they should proceed together to the inner gate. The policeman should, en route, switch on the lights which illuminate [1989] the area between the inner and outer gates and the passage way between the inner gate and front courtyard. After the policeman had opened and passed through the wicket (accompanied by persons leaving the Fort, if such were the case) the guard commander should bolt the wicket and should not reopen it until the policeman, having admitted visitors or allowed persons to leave, had relocked the outer gate and returned. The orders for military police provided that during the absence of the officer in charge of the Fort, nobody should be admitted to the Fort except visitors to the officer or his family, who were identified by a member of the family. There was a later instruction of 1934 from the adjutant, Islandbridge Barracks, to the officer in charge of the Fort that the latter, whenever leaving the Fort, should direct the military policeman not to admit any person in his absence. The orders entitled “orders for Military Police” were, however, not amended in the light of this instruction. Finally, the orders provided that the inner door of the guardroom should be kept locked at all times. The guardroom in question has an outer wire door with a bolt and an inner wooden door.
                The sequence of events at the Magazine Fort on the night of the raid as described in the evidence taken by the court was as follows:—At about 8.15 p.m. the officer in charge of the Fort left the Fort and proceeded to the city. To let him out, the military policeman on duty, having switched on the lights, opened half the inner gate. He did not call the guard commander. Passing through and without locking the inner gate, he opened the outer gate. The policeman stated in evidence that this procedure, which was contrary to the orders already mentioned, was that always followed by him in letting the officer in charge of the Fort out, and that the officer did not at any time check him for it.
                Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
                Mr. McGilligan: Was the officer present when that evidence was given?
                Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
                1990
                Mr. Traynor: He also stated that he [1990] usually opened the inner gate, instead of the wicket, for the officer in charge of the Fort and his family and for other officers because the wicket was small and the step high. The officer in charge of the Fort confirmed in his evidence that the general practice was as stated, and that he did not check the policeman because he regarded the procedure as an act of courtesy to him. He did not, when leaving, direct the military policeman not to admit any person in his absence.
                Having locked the gates after the officer in charge of the Fort left, the military policeman returned to his room. Shortly afterwards, the bell of the outer gate rang. He went out, switched on the lights, and, on looking through the grille of the inner gate, saw that the person desiring admittance was the son of the officer in charge of the Fort. He went out through the wicket, leaving it open behind him and admitted the visitor, then locking the gates—first, the outer and then the wicket—and switching off the lights. He did not call the guard commander in this instance either.
                1991
                At about 8.35 p.m. the bell of the outer gate again rang. Once more, without calling the guard commander, the policeman proceeded to the inner gate, switching on the lights en route. On looking through the grille, he saw a man dressed in civilian clothes, and with a bicycle, standing at the outer gate. He opened the wicket, according to his own statement, and went to the outer gate, leaving the wicket open. The civilian said that he had a parcel for the officer in charge of the Fort, and the policeman replied that he himself would take it in. As he said this, he bent down and unlocked the gate. His own evidence of the succeeding incidents is that, as he stood up, the civilian pointed a gun at his face and said: “Stick them up.” He tried to push the gate shut, but failed. He refused to put his hands up, whereupon the civilian said that if he did not, his brains would be blown out. He then obeyed and marched through the wicket with the raider behind. He [1991] made no effort to draw his revolver nor did he shout, or give any sign to the sentry because, to quote himself: “I thought the sentry had appreciated the situation and would open fire.” He was marched past the sentry and, at the same time, a man in uniform of Army pattern rushed by him. He was taken to the rear of the sentry post, where he was disarmed and then marched to the guardroom. He noticed that by this time a number of raiders had entered.
                The No. 1 sentry's account of this episode differs somewhat from that of the policeman. He states that the policeman, when going out, almost fully opened the inner gate—not the wicket. The sentry saw him converse with the civilian, after which he opened the outer gate. The civilian entered and then dropping the parcel, pointed what appeared to be a revolver at the policeman. The latter shouted loudly, turned and ran towards the inner gate. The raider followed him, shouting “Halt”. The sentry alleges that the policeman ran past his post, saying: “You don't leave there”. Just then, according to the sentry, a civilian with a revolver came up on his right and ordered him to hand over his rifle. The rifle was at the time resting on the corrugated iron breastwork as the sentry had been “covering” the gate. He refused to hand over the rifle and states that he tried to step back a few paces so as to be able to point it at the raider. The latter closed with him, pointed the revolver at his throat and gave him a minute to hand over the rifle. He then obeyed, and was marched towards the house of the officer in charge. He saw the military policeman being marched from that direction. When the two parties met, the policeman and sentry were marched in single file to the guardroom by two of the raiders, including the one who appeared to be the leader.
                1992
                The raiders entered the guardroom by opening the outer wire door. There was a hole in the wire which enabled anyone entering to insert his hand and pull back the bolt on the inside. The military policeman stated that they [1992] then pushed open the inner door, which was unlocked, rushed in, pushing their captives before them, and ordered the guard, who were sitting round the fire, to put their hands up. The guards' rifles and bayonets were in a rack near the door. The guard commander stated that he was sitting by the fire with three of the four members of the guard not on sentry duty when a knock came at the inner door. The fourth man had temporarily left the guardroom to attend to the cookhouse fire.
                The guard commander said that, on hearing the knock, he opened the door, which he confirmed was unlocked. On seeing the two raiders, he attempted to slam the door, but it was immediately pushed open by the raiders who entered, shouting “Hands up”. One of the guard unsuccessfully attempted to get his rifle, which, with those belonging to the others, was in the rack near the door. Otherwise, the raiders' order was immediately obeyed. The raiders took possession of the guards' rifles, ammunition and equipment. While these incidents were taking place, another party of the raiders had gone to the fire picquet room, held up the members of the fire picquet and taken possession of their rifles and ammunition. There was no attempt at resistance. The time was now about 8.55 p.m.

                1993

                Comment


                • #9
                  After the raiders in the guardroom had taken over and counted the rifles, the man who appeared to be the leader asked: “Where is the other rifle?” The guard commander replied that the sentry on No. 2 post had it. The leader left the room, returned after a short while and ordered the guard commander to come with him and find the sentry. The guard commander obeyed and went out with the leader and a second raider dressed in Army uniform. The latter accompanied the guard commander to No. 2 post, on approaching which they were challenged by the sentry. The raider ordered the guard commander to reply and to bring the sentry up. On hearing the reply “guard commander, it's all right”, the sentry gave the order “Advance, guard commander, to be [1993] recognised”. The guard commander said “Come on down, it's all right”, whereupon the sentry advanced at the “on guard” position. When about three paces distant, the guard commander ordered “slope your rifle”, and the sentry obeyed.
                  The raider in uniform then stepped forward and pointing a revolver at the sentry said: “Hand over your rifle or I'll shoot you”. The sentry at first refused, but the guard commander advised him to give up his rifle, saying: “You might as well; I'm disarmed”, or words to that effect. The sentry then handed over the rifle and the guard commander and he were marched back to the guardroom. In his evidence, the guard commander stated that he made no attempt to disarm the raider while they were alone because he was confused and shocked and it did not enter his mind to do so. Shortly afterwards, the entire guard with the military policeman and the son of the officer in charge of the Fort, who had also been brought to the guardroom, were marched to the fire picquet room.
                  The officer in charge of the Fort returned at about 9.45 p.m. He was held up at the entrance to the Fort by the raiders and brought to the fire picquet room. A few minutes later, a gatekeeper of the Park was also brought to the fire picquet room, suffering from head injuries inflicted by the raiders. The party in the picquet room was detained there until 10.20 p.m. approximately, and during the time of their detention, no attempt was made to organise resistance to the raiders either before or after the arrival of the officer in charge of the Fort. During the entire period for which they were in the picquet room, they heard the sounds of lorries moving into and out of the Fort.
                  1994
                  At 10.20 p.m., the entire party, with the exception of the Park gatekeeper, were removed to “C” magazine from which the ammunition had been taken by the raiders. Before they left, the leader of the raiders advised the party not to identify any of them subsequently, stating there were amongst [1994] them, the military, men who would tell if anyone identified them. Shortly after 11 p.m. the officer in charge of the Fort made his way out through a ventilator with a member of the guard and proceeded to inspect the Fort. He found that the raiders had gone, and that a relief party of troops had arrived.
                  To explain the arrival of these troops, it is necessary to go back a little in point of time to events which were taking place elsewhere. At 10.10 p.m. approximately, as the military policeman on duty at the upper gate of Islandbridge Barracks was opening the gate to allow an Army car to leave, he was fired on by one of a party of four armed men standing outside. After the shot was fired, the party ran away. The military policeman closed the gate without letting the car out and went to the hut just inside, where he telephoned the orderly officer's room and reported the incident of the shooting to the orderly sergeant. While the telephone switchboard operator at the Barracks was putting this call through, he noticed the Magazine Fort indicator on the switchboard drop. On plugging in, he found that the line to the Fort was dead. It may be mentioned that there was no telephonic communication between the Fort and outside, other than the line connected with the switchboard at Islandbridge.
                  1995
                  At 10.20 p.m. the orderly officer (a second lieutenant of the Reserve of Officers) was informed of the shooting and proceeded at once to the gate where he received a report from the policeman on duty. While at the gate, he also received a report from the telephone switchboard operator that telephonic communication with the Magazine Fort had failed. The orderly officer immediately telephoned the orderly officer, Command Headquarters, Portobello Barracks, to whom he reported the shooting incident and the absence of telephonic communication with the Fort. He was put through to the command duty officer, a captain of the regular forces, to whom he repeated his report. The duty officer at once ordered the “stand-to” party >[1995] at Portobello, consisting of one officer, two non-commissioned officers and ten men, to proceed to the Magazine Fort to investigate and report. The party left barracks by lorry at 10.50 p.m., the officer being seated in the driver's cab and the remainder of the party in the body of the lorry. They entered the park by the main entrance and as they turned into the road leading to the Fort the officer noticed in the beam of the headlights four civilians in a crouching position on the side of the road and about 30 yards in front of the lorry.
                  Calling on his men to follow, he jumped out and ran towards the men shouting to them to halt. Two halted and two ran away. Handing over the two men who halted to his non-commissioned officers, the officer proceeded down the road and met two Volunteers who had been sent from Islandbridge Barracks to ascertain the position at the Fort. While speaking to them the officer noticed a man in civilian dress crouching near the railings. The man came back on being called upon to halt and on being searched was found to be in possession of two loaded revolvers and 17 rounds of ammunition. The officer brought the man back to the lorry, finding, en route, a soldier's haversack containing five fully loaded revolvers and 36 rounds of ammunition. He then proceeded to the Fort.
                  At the house of the officer in charge of the Fort he interviewed that officer's wife, who told him that the Fort had been raided and that she did not know where the guard was. Leaving a non-commissioned officer in charge, the officer proceeded to Islandbridge Barracks with his prisoners and escort. He placed his prisoners in the guardroom and then, at 11.45 p.m. approximately, reported by the telephone to the command duty officer, Portobello, the capture of the prisoners and the fact that the Fort had been raided. He was directed to return to the Fort and to post a new guard. Accompanied by three officers, and with some of his own men and a party of men from Islandbridge Barracks he went to the Fort, arriving there about midnight.
                  1996

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [1996] Having received the report of the officer in charge of the “stand-to” party, the command duty officer telephoned the orderly officer, McKee Barracks, informed him of the situation and requested that the Chief of Staff be informed. He sent a car for the command adjutant, who resided outside barracks. The car arrived at the house at midnight. At 1 a.m. he telephoned the acting officer commanding, Eastern Command, who resided at Howth. That officer directed that a car be sent out for him.
                    From this stage onwards it would be difficult to give clearly, in the form of a continuous narrative, the remaining events of the night and I propose, therefore, to deal separately with the movements of certain individuals and with certain other important incidents which occurred that night.
                    1997
                    Shortly after 11.45 p.m. the Chief of Staff was informed by the orderly officer, McKee Barracks, that the Fort had been raided. He immediately left home for the Fort after first having arranged for the Adjutant-General and Quartermaster-General to be informed. He arrived at the Fort just before midnight and obtained reports from the officer in charge of the Fort and the officer in charge of the “stand-to” party. He ascertained that the police had been notified, but as they had not arrived and telephonic communication with outside was not available, he proceeded to the Gárda Depôt with the Quartermaster-General, who had also arrived at the Fort. At the depôt he spoke to the Gárda Commissioner by telephone and arrangements were made for all Gárda districts to be informed of the raid and to be directed to send out patrols to watch lorry movements. The Chief of Staff returned to the Fort at 12.30 a.m., gave instructions for the old guard and military policeman to be placed under arrest, had a discussion with the command adjutant who had arrived at the Fort at 1 a.m. went to his office at the Department of Defence where he wirelessed orders to all commands to take the greatest protective precautions for posts and ammunition and to assist the Gárdaí in the search for lorries. He telephoned [1997] all commands and brigades in elaboration of the radio messages and told them that the Gárdai, who were receiving separate instructions from their own headquarters would get in touch with them. At 1.30 a.m. he informed me of the raid by telephone and of the steps he was taking to deal with the situation. He remained in his office until 3.30 a.m. receiving reports from the commands and brigades as to the steps taken.
                    The command adjutant arrived at Portobello Barracks at 12.15 a.m. and was given details of the situation by the duty officer. He proceeded immediately to Islandbridge Barracks, where, however, no additional information was available, so he went to the Magazine Fort, arriving there at 12.40 a.m. The Chief of Staff, who was there, discussed the situation with him. He returned to Islandbridge at 1.30 a.m. and telephoned the command duty officer who informed him that the acting officer commanding desired to get into barracks and that a military car was not immediately available. He then proceeded to Howth in the Army car which he was using and there he met the officer commanding, and returned with him to Portobello Barracks. He went home at 4 a.m.
                    1998
                    The acting officer commanding, Eastern Command, received a telephone message from the command duty officer at 1 a.m. He stated in evidence that the duty officer informed him that something had happened at the Magazine Fort and that they could not get into the Fort. He directed the duty officer to send out a car for him. He waited some time and as the car had not arrived went to Howth Gárda Station where he was informed by the Superintendent that a large quantity of ammunition had been taken from the Fort. He telephoned the duty officer, inquired why the car had not been sent and was informed that the command adjutant was on his way out. When the command adjutant arrived he received particulars of the situation from him. On reaching barracks at 3 a.m. he made transport arrangements for any troop movements that might be required and, according to [1998] his own evidence, having ascertained that the Gárda authorities had taken charge of the situation, he left for home, arriving there at 4 a.m.
                    The events in Collins Barracks, Dublin, on the night of the raid may now be related. On that night there were on duty in Collins Barracks the following officers:—A staff officer (a commandant of the regular forces) representing the officer commanding barracks; a duty officer (a captain of the regular forces); an orderly officer (a second-lieutenant of the Volunteer force). There was also a “stand-to” party consisting of two non-commissioned officers and 24 men.
                    One of the tasks of the duty officer is to visit at least once during the night the posts at which guards are provided by the unit in Collins Barracks. As these posts are scattered, it is necessary that the visit or visits be made by car. About 8.30 p.m., on the 23rd December, the duty officer telephoned to the supply and transport company at Islandbridge Barracks requesting that a car should be sent immediately to Collins Barracks to enable him to visit the posts. He was informed that the car intended for him was on other duty, but that it would he sent to Collins Barracks immediately it returned. Sometime later, the orderly sergeant at Collins Barracks again telephoned for the car and was informed that it had not returned up to that time. The car arrived at Islandbridge at 10 p.m. and left the transport yard for Collins Barracks at 10.10 p.m., the duty officer at Collins Barracks being informed by telephone at the same time that the car was on its way.
                    1999
                    When, however, the car reached the gate of Islandbridge Barracks the shooting incident, previously mentioned, occurred. The car returned to the transport yard. Shortly after, a further telephone message was received at the supply and transport office, Islandbridge Barracks, from the duty officer at Collins Barracks inquiring why the car had not arrived. He was informed that something had happened at the gate and that the car could not [1999] leave for the moment. The duty officer thereupon telephoned to the orderly officer at Islandbridge and inquired as to the non-arrival of the car at Collins Barracks. It would appear that at this time two, if not the three, of the officers on duty in this barracks conversed with the orderly officer at Islandbridge, who informed them of the shooting incident and stated that the car had then left for Collins Barracks. This was about 10.30 or 10.40 p.m. The car duly arrived at Collins Barracks and, after questioning the driver as to the shooting incident, the duty officer proceeded on his round of inspection. Some ten minutes later, the orderly officer at Islandbridge again telephoned to Collins Barracks and asked for the orderly officer there. The latter was unable to understand the message and handed the telephone to the staff officer. He was informed that it was desirable that the adjutant of Islandbridge Barracks—who resides in official quarters in Collins Barracks— should report to his station immediately. The staff officer was, therefore, requested to send a message to the adjutant's quarters. After some conversation, the staff officer stated that the information regarding the shooting was too indefinite and suggested that further details should be obtained before the adjutant was sent for.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      According to the evidence of the orderly officer at Islandbridge, he was informed by the staff officer that none of the officers in that barracks (Collins) was going to chase married officers for him. Shortly after, another officer in Islandbridge Barracks telephoned to the officers' mess in Collins Barracks. The call was taken by an officer who was not on duty. He was informed of the shooting, and was requested to send to married quarters for the adjutant of Islandbridge Barracks, which he did. The adjutant, however, was not at home. The officer who received the telephone call reported its substance to the orderly officer and the staff officer and was informed by the last mentioned that he, the officer who reported, was taking too serious a view [2000] of the incident and should forget about it.
                      About midnight the orderly officer at Islandbridge again telephoned to the orderly officer at Collins Barracks and stated that Verey lights had been seen over the Magazine Fort and requested that six men should be sent from Collins Barracks to investigate. The orderly officer at Collins Barracks, however, thought it wise to obtain the permission of the staff officer before sending the men. He (the orderly officer) reported the request to the staff officer, who was then in his bedroom, and was instructed to inquire from the orderly officer at Islandbridge if he had the authority of command headquarters to requisition the party. He did so and the orderly officer at Islandbridge informed him that he had no authority to requisition the party and that he was acting on his own initiative as he thought that the Fort had been attacked. On this being reported to the staff officer, he directed the orderly officer to inform the orderly officer at Islandbridge that the party would not be supplied. In passing, it may be mentioned that a similar request for men was made to the orderly officer at McKee Barracks and he at once complied with the request.
                      Meanwhile, shortly before midnight, the Quartermaster-General, who resides in Collins Barracks, was informed by telephone from the Chief of Staff's residence of the raid on the Magazine Fort. He immediately telephoned to the officers' mess in Collins Barracks and informed one of the regular officers not on duty of the raid and instructed him to get a party out at once to the Fort. The Quartermaster-General then proceeded to the Magazine Fort. The officer who received the telephone message informed the orderly officer of the Quarter-master-General's instructions, but the men were not sent to the Fort.
                      2001
                      The staff officer, Collins Barracks, in his evidence, maintained that he did not hear of the raid on the Fort until lunch time on the 24th December. Both he and the orderly officer, however, must have known that something [2001]
                      very unusual had taken place at Islandbridge. Barracks or the Magazine Fort —more especially having regard to the Quartermaster-General's message—and it would have been a simple matter for them to have sent personnel to either place to ascertain the facts.
                      We now come to the recovery of the stolen property. From the 24th December onwards the search for the ammunition by the Gárda Síochána continued incessantly. On the military side the fullest arrangements were made for any troop movements which might be necessary to aid the Gárda. It was not until the 26th December, however, that any information became available which enabled the military to be used. As a result of information received on that day, the City of Dublin and the Wicklow-Kildare area were cordoned by the military while an intensive search was carried out by the Gárda. This resulted in a portion of the missing ammunition being discovered. On the 28th December the military, in addition to holding the cordons, participated actively in the search, which continued until practically nine-tenths of the missing ammunition were recovered.
                      The quantities recovered to date are:—.303 machine gun ammunition, 368,165 rounds; Thompson gun ammunition, 607,365 rounds; total small arms ammunition, 975,530 rounds; two rifles.
                      The following quantities have not yet been recovered:—.303 machine gun ammunition, 103,946 rounds; Thompson gun ammunition, 4,935 rounds; .45 revolver ammunition, 12 rounds; total small arms ammunition, 108,893 rounds; two rifles; one revolver, one gas mask, and some small components.
                      Having dealt with the raid itself and indicated the circumstances in which it occurred, it remains to summarise for the House the causes, direct and indirect, which, from the evidence, enabled the raid to be successfully carried out, to indicate the manner in which responsibility for its success was assigned, and to state the disciplinary action which has been taken.
                      2002
                      [2002] From the facts elicited by the court of inquiry I formed the conclusion that the successful raiding of the Fort was directly attributable to the following causes:—
                      “(1) The failure of the military policeman to carry out his orders as to the precautions to be taken when opening the entrance gates to the Fort after dark, and his failure to offer any resistance to the raider who held him up or to attempt in any way to alarm the guard.
                      “(2) The failure of the sentry on No. 1 post to fire on the raiders in the defence of his post or to make any attempt to alarm the guard.
                      “(3) The failure of the guard commander to ensure that the door of the guardroom was locked and his inaction when presented with the opportunity of disarming the raider at No. 2 post.
                      “(4) The failure of the sentry on No. 2 post to attack the raider who attempted to disarm him. This failure on the part of the Volunteer was largely due to the action of the guard commander who assisted in placing him in a position where he could be disarmed and advised him to hand over his rifle to the raider.
                      “(5) The failure of the officer in charge of the Fort to appreciate his responsibility as such in that after he was arrested by the raiders and fully understood the situation he made no attempt to organise resistance to the raiders in an effort to retrieve the position.”
                      Indirectly responsible for the success of the raid was a spirit of laxity and a lack of observance of the orders for the defence of the Fort which had grown up over a number of years and had been permitted to go unchecked. For that position the officer in charge of the Fort, who was charged with its defence, and the officer commanding, Eastern Command, whose duty it was to ensure that the officer in charge of the Fort did not neglect his charge must be held responsible.
                      2003
                      The orders for the defence of the [2003] Fort were originally prepared in 1929 and remained unaltered up to the date of the raid. With the passage of time, however, they had in many respects become considerably out of date and inapplicable. For instance, when they were issued the guard consisted of one non-commissioned officer and nine men, thus providing for three sentries on duty at a time, whereas for many years the guard had been reduced to one non-commissioned officer and six men, which permitted of only two sentries at a time. They also provided for a duty officer, which appointment had been unfilled since 1932. In addition to being out of date, they contained many glaring omissions and contradictions. Thus, while the scheme of defence provided for the employment of the fire picquet in the defence of the Fort, the duties of the picquet in this regard were not contained in fire picquet orders. The fire picquet commander on the night of the raid stated in evidence that he had no orders to reinforce the guard in the case of attack. At one point in the orders the military policeman was authorised to allow persons identified by the family of the officer in charge to enter after dark, whereas, elsewhere, the admission of any officer after 6 p.m. was specifically prohibited.
                      The evidence of the officer in charge of the Fort and that of other witnesses, showed clearly that in recent years, at least, he did not appreciate his direct responsibility for the defence of the Fort. He admitted that he carried out no systematic inspection of the guard or guardroom. Had he done so, he must have realised that his orders were not merely imperfect, but were, for the most part, being disregarded. Thus, although it was provided in orders that the guardroom should be kept locked at all times, it transpired in evidence that there was no key for the door for a considerable time prior to the raid. As previously stated, the wire of the outer door of the guardroom was broken, and it was possible for any person, by inserting his hand, to push back the bolt on the inside, instead of having to call a member of the guard to open the door.
                      2004
                      [2004] At no time did he personally supervise the changing of the guard, or inspect the guard to satisfy himself that they were familiar with their duties and the scheme of defence.
                      The military policeman in his evidence stated that over a considerable period he did not comply with his orders regarding the procedure for the opening of the inner wooden entrance gate after dark. Not only did he fail to summon the guard commander to close the wicket of the inner gate while the outer gate was being opened, but he habitually opened half the inner gate, instead of the wicket, to allow the officer in charge and his family to enter or leave, and left it open while he opened the outer gate. This was a decisive factor in facilitating the entry of the raiders, and the officer in charge continuously acquiesced in this vital breach of his own orders.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        With regard to the responsibility of the officer commanding, Eastern Command, it transpired in evidence that that officer, from the time of his appointment in June, 1935, to November, 1938, did not on any occasion inspect or visit the Magazine Fort, nor did any of his staff. In November, 1938, however, as a result of a change in the appointment of camp commandant, Islandbridge Barracks, the question of direct responsibility for the defence of the Magazine Fort arose. As a result, the officer commanding, Eastern Command, visited the Magazine Fort in November, 1938, and verbally informed the officer in charge of the Fort that, in future, he would be held directly responsible to Eastern Command headquarters for the defence of the Fort. In January, 1939, the officer commanding, Eastern Command, sent a staff officer to discuss with the officer in charge of the Fort certain matters arising out of the arrangements mentioned which was confirmed in writing in February, 1939. At the same time, the staff officer in question wrote for copies of the orders for the defence of the Fort. He stated in evidence that he was satisfied as to the adequacy of the orders. The officer commanding, Eastern Command, stated that he did not actually see the orders, but obtained a summary of their contents, [2005] with which he was satisfied. It is unquestionable, however, that had the orders been carefully examined by the officer commanding, Eastern Command, and by his staff, it would have been seen that they were in many respects out of date and required considerable revision.
                        The absence of regular inspections by the command headquarters staff was clearly instrumental in leading to the development of the serious spirit of laxity in carrying out the orders for the defence of the Fort. A further aspect of this matter was that, while such inspections were not carried out, no instructions were issued to the battalions supplying the guards for the Fort to ensure the carrying out of the orders (such as they were). The evidence showed that there was a very definite misunderstanding as to the responsibility of battalion and duty officers in regard to the inspection of the guards at the Fort.
                        The officers commanding the two battalions which supplied the Fort guards in recent years both maintained in evidence that since an officer of another unit (the ordnance service) was immediately responsible for the defence of the Fort, it was not within their province to interfere in any way with his arrangements, more particularly as he was not responsible to them.
                        In the case of one of the units, which supplied the guard up to December 5th, 1939, the Magazine Fort was omitted from the list of guard posts which the duty officer was required to visit and inspect daily. The orders issued by the officer commanding the other unit required that the duty officer should visit all guard posts once every day and at least five posts every night. Actually the Magazine Fort was visited by the duty officer of this unit only on seven occasions between December 6th and 23rd. None of the visits took place at night owing to the order of the officer in charge of the Fort already mentioned, that officers were not to be admitted to the Fort after 6 p.m. The officer commanding, Eastern Command, was, however, under the impression that the duty officers' visited the Fort as a matter of routine.
                        2006
                        [2006] To sum up as far as the Eastern Command was concerned there was a complete absence of inspection of the Magazine Fort from the point of view of defence. For that absence of inspection, the officer commanding, Eastern Command, must be held responsible.
                        The incidents succeeding the raid also indicated in a number of cases failure on the part of certain officers to realise their responsibilities, and to take the action which the circumstances clearly demanded. The following may be particularly mentioned:
                        The acting officer commanding, Eastern Command (a colonel). This officer was informed of the situation at his home in Howth at about 1 a.m. on the 24th December. Owing to delay in having Army transport dispatched to his residence, he did not arrive at Command Headquarters, Portobello Barracks, until 3 a.m. On his own evidence he took no action beyond detailing “stand-to” parties and arranging for transport. As he was the senior executive officer of the command and was actually in charge at the time it is only reasonable to expect that immediately on his arrival he would have taken initial steps for the recovery of the ammunition or have sought instructions from the Chief of Staff. He did not even visit the Magazine Fort to see the position for himself. His inaction indicated that he was indifferent to his responsibilities.
                        The staff officer, Collins Barracks (a commandant). The forces at the disposal of this officer on the night of the raid consisted of a motor squadron of the cavalry corps, a “stand-to” party (two non-commissioned officers and 24 men) and the troops of the 5th Battalion in barracks. These might have been effectively used if the situation had been properly made known to him in the initial stages. While the information given to him may not have been of a definite nature, it might reasonably be expected that, in view of the numerous urgent messages received from Islandbridge on the night of the raid, he would have realised that something most unusual was happening. His failure to take steps to ascertain the real position showed gross indifference to his responsibilities.
                        2007
                        [2007] The orderly officer, Collins Barracks (a second lieutenant of the Volunteer Force). This officer performed his duties in a most irresponsible manner. He made no effort to ascertain the real position at Islandbridge Barracks. His evidence at the Court of Inquiry was regarded as inaccurate and untruthful.
                        The proceedings and findings of the Court of Inquiry were duly considered and the following disciplinary action was decided upon:—
                        “The officer commanding, the Eastern Command, for the reason that, as such, he failed to ensure the adequate defence of the Magazine Fort, was placed on the half-pay list for a period of 12 months from 12th March, 1940. At the end of that period, his case will be reconsidered.
                        “The acting officer commanding, Eastern Command, because of his unsatisfactory conduct immediately following the raid was also placed on half-pay for a period of 12 months from 12th March, 1940, his case to be further considered at the end of that period.
                        “The officer in charge of the Fort was informed that for culpable negligence in his duties (the details were fully stated) it was proposed to request the Government to advise the President to dismiss him from the service. He was given an opportunity to make such representations as he thought proper within five days in relation to the proposed dismissal. He made no such representations and for the moment he has been placed on the half-pay list.”
                        The staff officer, Collins Barracks, was informed that in view of his conduct on the night of the raid it was not in the interests of the Service that he should retain his commission and that while his conduct would merit retirement for misconduct or inefficiency, the Minister was prepared to give him an opportunity of resigning voluntarily on the appropriate pension and to recommend to the Government to advise the President that such resignation be accepted.
                        2008
                        The orderly officer, Collins Barracks, [2008] was similarly informed. As a Volunteer officer he is not entitled to a pension.
                        Five other officers were censured or admonished.
                        In addition, as Deputies are no doubt aware, the military policeman on duty on the Magazine Fort, the guard commander and the sentry on No. 1 post were tried by general court martial in connection with the raid.
                        The military policeman was charged with neglecting to obey orders in that on the night of the raid he opened the inner and outer gate of the Fort without the commander of the guard being present, thereby enabling armed raiders to enter the Fort, and also with neglect to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that when an armed raider had gained entry to the Fort he did not use his best endeavours to prevent himself from being disarmed. He was found “not guilty” of both charges.
                        The corporal guard commander was charged with having been guilty of an act to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he counselled the sentry on No. 2 post to give up his rifle to a raider. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment with hard labour.
                        The sentry on No. 1 post was charged with having been guilty of neglect to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that when an armed raider held up the military policeman on duty at the gates of the Fort, he neglected to take any steps to defend the Fort. He was found “not guilty” of the charge.
                        2009
                        From what I have said it will be evident that were it not for (1) the laxity displayed by the officer commanding the Eastern Command and the officer in charge of the Fort, and (2) the breaches of orders by the military personnel in the Fort, the successful raiding of the Fort could not have been accomplished. I am satisfied that these causes of the raid cannot be attributed to defects in the general administration of the Defence Forces or any of its branches or in the general organisation, efficiency or discipline [2009] thereof. I am prepared to admit that the discipline in the Magazine Fort and in Collins Barracks on the night of the raid was not what it should have been but the responsibility for this position lies with individual officers and reflects no discredit on the general behaviour of the Defence Forces whether Regular or Reserve.
                        Dr. O'Higgins Dr. O'Higgins

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dr. O'Higgins: Might I put a question to the Minister before he gets away from this discipline section? Was there any charge brought against any officer?
                          Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
                          Mr. Traynor: I want to conclude my statement.
                          Dr. O'Higgins Dr. O'Higgins
                          Dr. O'Higgins: I am asking a question.
                          Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
                          Mr. McGilligan: The answer is “no”.
                          Dr. O'Higgins Dr. O'Higgins
                          Dr. O'Higgins: Was there any charge brought against any officer?
                          Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
                          Mr. Traynor: I think it desirable at this stage to refer to certain matters raised by Deputy McGilligan on the 12th March last in the course of supplementary questions arising out of my reply to his question regarding the placing of an officer on half pay. The Deputy inquired whether the Court of Inquiry had been asked to report why the relative Defence Force Regulations had not been observed in so far as they require that a member of the forces whose character or military reputation may be affected by an inquiry should be given an opportunity of being present throughout the proceedings; of cross-examining witnesses and of producing evidence in defence of his character or military reputation. The Deputy also suggested that the court had given as one of the reasons for their failure to observe the regulations that the room in which the proceedings were held was too small to accommodate all the persons involved.
                          2010
                          In my reply to the Deputy's original question, I stated that in view of the urgent military situation created by the raid, and the large number of officers and men involved, or likely to be involved [2010] in the inquiry, it was impracticable to relieve them all from duty for attendance throughout the inquiry. I also pointed out that it was essential that the Government should have the facts as early as possible. Lest, however, the impression may have been created that the position of the officers against whom disciplinary action was taken was prejudiced in any way by the failure to observe the strict letter of the Regulations mentioned, I propose to indicate in detail the facts of the matter.
                          The President of the Court of Inquiry was requested, immediately after the proceedings of the court had been submitted, to indicate why the provisions of the relative Regulations had not been observed in toto. In his reply the President stated that at the outset of the proceedings, it became apparent that the military reputation of a large number of officers and soldiers would be affected by the evidence. If the procedure prescribed by Regulations were observed in toto, it would have meant that a large number of persons would have been present during the hearing of the evidence of each witness and that each such person would have the right of cross-examination. This would have been very cumbersome, and would have prolonged the proceedings unduly. In addition it would have entailed relieving all such persons from duty for the duration of the proceedings. A further consideration was that if even one of them were unable to attend for any reason, such as illness, the proceedings would have had to be postponed.
                          In these circumstances the court considered that the spirit and intention of the Regulations would be met by first hearing the evidence of all witnesses, and then recalling witnesses whose evidence, in the opinion of the court, affected the military reputation of any other person, the person so affected being present and afforded an opportunity of cross-examination. This was done in every case, and each witness called before the court had ample opportunity of defending his character and military reputation.
                          2011
                          While it was agreed that in the peculiar circumstances it was impracticable [2011] to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Regulations, the court was re-convened for the purpose of reviewing, and, if necessary, revising its findings in the light of that fact. The court duly reviewed its findings, and reported that any portion of its original findings which adversely affected the character or military reputation of any person were based on the evidence of the person concerned; the documents handed into court; facts admitted and not in dispute, and the court's inspection of the Magazine Fort. The court, therefore, adhered to its original findings.
                          There was no suggestion whatever from the court that the room in which the proceedings took place was too small to accommodate all the persons involved, nor, until it was mentioned by Deputy McGilligan, had such an aspect of the matter arisen in any shape or form.
                          As I already stated I have gone into this matter in detail merely to ensure that a false impression of the position will not exist.
                          Before concluding, there is one aspect of the affair on which I should like to say a few words. Nobody desires in any way to minimise the seriousness of this raid, but I think it very regrettable that certain Deputies should, in the course of various debates in this House in which the matter was mentioned, have gone to the other extreme and endeavoured to paint the blackest possible picture of the occurrence. I think that such a course was particularly objectionable when in doing so Deputies made statements which, to say the least of them, were rash and ill-informed but at the same time of a nature calculated to create uneasiness and to disturb the public confidence. I may quote, for instance, the following extracts from speeches made here by Deputy O'Higgins. Speaking on the 3rd January last in the course of the debate on the Emergency Powers (Amendment) Bill, he said—the statement is reported at column 1415 of volume 78, No. 4 of the Official Debates:—
                          2012
                          [2012] “I suppose in the whole history of armies since the world began there was never such a disaster as the picture of an army losing all its ammunition without as much as a blackthorn being used.”
                          Dr. O'Higgins Dr. O'Higgins
                          Dr. O'Higgins: Does the Minister disagree with that?
                          Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
                          Mr. Traynor: In the debate on the Supplementary Estimate for the Army, on the 5th March, Deputy O'Higgins is reported at column 66 of volume 79, No. 1 of the Official Debates, as saying:—
                          “We had the dangerous state of affairs reaching its peak point at Christmas week when practically the whole ammunition reserve of the Army was passed out to people who would use it against the Army.”
                          And at column 68:—
                          “... all the reserve of ammunition, 28 tons in weight, was loaded deliberately, slowly, and carefully in more than a dozen lorries and scattered throughout the country.”
                          The fact is that the Army did not lose all or nearly all of its reserve stock of ammunition. Of the reserve stocks of small arms ammunition stored in the Fort alone, the quantity removed by the raiders was not much over 5 per cent. If we take the stocks stored in magazines and barracks throughout the country, the quantity removed was less than 3 per cent. I would remind Deputies that 90 per cent. of the ammunition taken has been recovered.
                          Deputy O'Higgins also said in the course of the debate on the Emergency Powers (Amendment) Bill on the 3rd January last, column 1416 of volume 78, No. 4 of the Official Debates:—
                          “.... there was more ammunition lost in a couple of hours ... than could be bought by all the revenue which will be obtained from the revenue tax and the sugar tax put together.”
                          2013
                          The cost of the stolen ammunition was very far from the combined total of revenue and sugar taxes mentioned by Deputy O'Higgins. The cost was approximately £4,000, while the [2013] revenue figures given to this House by the Minister for Finance, when introducing the Supplementary Budget in November last were as follows:—
                          1. Anticipated increased yield during 1940-41 as a result of the increased income-tax imposed by the Supplementary Budget £780,000
                          2. Anticipated increased yield during 1939-40 as a result of the increased Customs duty on imported sugar imposed by the Supplementary Budget £243,000
                          Total: £1,023,000

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                          • #14
                            Excellent find! Its very hard to get info on the incident

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                            • #15
                              Very good post very informative...

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