Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The Easter Uprising and health care

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On Easter Monday 1916, Irish rebels took control of the General Post Office, the Four Courts, Jacob’s Factory, Boland’s Bakery, the South Dublin Union, St. Stephen’s Green and later the College of Surgeons. The General Post Office became the headquarters of the uprising. When the uprising was suppressed, 450 killed, 2,614 injured, and 9 were missing.

Sixteen leaders of the uprising were court-martialed and shot.

from Michael Collins’ Own Story, chapter 4 “Collins’ Own Story of Easter Week”

” On the Tuesday two Irish lads who had been caught red-handed by one of our patrols in the act of looting a shop were brought into the Post Office and before Tom Clarke. The old man was furious.

” ‘ Shame on you both ! ‘ he thundered. ‘ To desecrate the name of Ireland in this fashion ! You should be shot where you stand ! Sure, shooting is too good for a looter ! ‘

” And while the two wretched prisoners trembled under his tongue-lashing, our leader seemed to be on the point of ordering their instant execution. A minute went by and then, disgustedly and scornfully, he ordered them to be led away to the kitchen to peel potatoes.

” When Friday came, and our surrender was only a matter of hours, Clarke suddenly remembered the two looters and ordered them to be brought before him. By this time high explosive shells had smashed our stronghold into a shapeless ruin. Outside, from every quarter, machine-guns were sweeping the streets with a constant rain of fire. The looters were in a pitiable state.

” ‘ Now then, you two Clarke began. ‘ Tomorrow, maybe sooner, we’re going to surrender. We’re going out and give ourselves up. Every one of us may be shot. You can wait and go out with us or you can go now. Choose !’ ” Both of them spoke at the same instant. They would go then and there ! And so we swung open a door and let them go. We watched them as they ran across O’Connell Street, the bullets striking all about them. To our amazement, they escaped without being hit, finally reaching the comparative safety of Abbey Street. It seemed to us that we had been witnessing a double miracle. And then one of them turned round and came dashing straight towards us ! Again a thousand guns were trained on him, and again he managed to come through unscathed. We opened the door for him and he dived through it. ” ‘ Don’t you know your own mind ? ‘ demanded Clarke. ‘ Is it inside or outside you want to be ? ‘

” ‘ Oh, sir,’ came the deadly serious reply, ‘ I had to come back, sir. I left my insurance card in the kitchen ! ‘

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