In what was now becoming a brutal civil war between pro and anti-Treaty parties, the pro-treaty government had instituted in October 1921 an aggresive policy of execution of Republican prisoners or “Irregulars.” Here, you can read the final letter from Patrick Hennessy on the eve of his execution:
The Government’s view was that anti-Treaty irregulars were rebels fighting against a legitimate Irish authority, elected by the people. 77 official executions occured, 34 in January. Most of the people shot would have fought on the same side as their executioners in the War of Independence against Britain.
The brutal reaction of the Irish government did bring a swift response with anti-treaty forces laying down their arms in April, but the bitterness of the civil war permeated Irish politics and society for much of the twentieth century.
Photo: Patrick Hennessy IRA volunteer courtesy of clarelibrary.ie.