Ireland’s Easter Rising took place over 100 years ago, so one could be forgiven for assuming that all those who lived through it are now long gone. Interestingly enough that assumption is wrong. Father Joseph Mallin was only two when his father was executed by the English for being one of the leaders of the insurrection. Today he is 104, and as of this writing he is not only still alive, but he is also still fighting to set the records straight about his father.
Fr. Mallin doesn’t have a lot of memories of his dad but he did end up carrying out his father’s last wish, even though he didn’t know it at the time. In Michael Mallin’s last letter to his family he included a line that said, “Joseph my little man be a priest, if you can.” Mallin’s mother never spoke about her husband with her children when they were young, nor did she put pressure on them to follow the paths that their father laid out for them. Nevertheless, Joseph could and did become a Jesuit priest, devoting his long life to the church and the priesthood.
Recently Michael Mallin’s role in the Rising and his good name have been challenged by official records. When the secret court martial statements were released they claimed that Mallin denied being in the Irish Citizen Army and being a confidante of James Connolly, which is in direct opposition to previous records. Michael Mallin was second-in-command of the ICA and that position would have guaranteed a close relationship with Connolly and many other leaders. The court records also state that Commandant Mallin threw blame on Constance Markievicz by saying she was the leader of the garrison and he was just following her orders. Father Joseph and many of Mallin’s descendants are highly skeptical about these assertions and are furiously trying to correct what they believe are biased lies in the official record.
To that end, Father Mallin has written a series of documents calling out inconsistencies in the reports and he has made a compelling argument for why the court martial officials would alter Michael Mallin’s records. He continues to chip away at the accounts of witnesses, and piles of research despite his advanced age. Last year Joseph Mallin granted numerous interviews and he is still remarkably sharp. Though he spent most of his life outside of Ireland, he remains interested in Irish politics and the legacy of 1916 and its leaders, which include his father. Mallin wants his dad to be remembered as the man he believes he was and he wants historians to take another look at his father’s achievements and his personality, which would have prohibited him from saying the things that were recorded during his court martial. He’s convinced at least one so far.
Joseph Mallin may not have really known his father, but he has certainly spent the many years of his very long life honoring him. It would be a great birthday present for such a devoted man to finally get the results and validation he wants, not for himself but for his father.
To read Father Mallin’s rebuttal of his father’s court-martial proceedings, please click here.