Wednesday 7 December 2016

Conor Gearty: Michael Collins was civil warrior cast in the mould of George Washington

Published 21/05/2013 | 12:00

To Michael Collins, violence was always a last resort
To Michael Collins, violence was always a last resort

THE Irish War of Independence was, I would say, a civil war and Michael Collins led the Irish side. Does it therefore follow that he cannot have been a terrorist? The first answer is a confident 'yes'; Collins was a civil warrior, a freedom fighter, more a George Washington than an Osama bin Laden.

  • Go To

But it is not this simple. Consider the Black and Tans and their sacking of Granard: surely a classic example of terrorism. Here was violence as a communicative act, a reprisal as old as warfare.

The Germans did it in World War Two and the British did it as they fought a largely losing battle to keep their Empire in the decades after 1945.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Read More

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice