Tuesday 24 April 2018

Wanted! Christopher Brady, the man who printed the document...

Christopher Brady, one of the printers of the 1916 Proclamation.
Christopher Brady, one of the printers of the 1916 Proclamation.

Despite not fighting in the Rising, Christopher Brady is a central figure to the story of the event, as he was responsible for printing the Proclamation. A printer by trade, Brady had been employed at Liberty Hall since 1915, where he printed The Workers' Republic newspaper and union materials for the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union.

Brady recalled that James Connolly and Thomas MacDonagh informed him and two workmen at Liberty Hall of the importance of the document he was to print only on Easter Sunday. Owing to the secrecy around the document and the manner in which it was sprung upon the workmen, they were not entirely prepared for the task. He recalled that "the shortage of type was so great that wrong fonts had to be used and I had to make a new letter by converting an 'F' into an 'E' from sealing wax to make up the supply."

As they printed the Proclamation, an armed guard of Irish Citizen Army men protected the room, while Brady was also given an automatic pistol by Connolly for his own protection. The printing had to be carried in two separate halves - when British soldiers arrived in Liberty Hall during the rebellion, the lower half of the Proclamation was still set for printing, and some souvenir copies were run off.

Brady was ultimately unsuccessful in his applications for a 1916 medal in later years, though he appealed directly to the Taoiseach in 1968, writing that "for a long time after the Rising I was on the run as the much wanted man who had printed the seditious Proclamation".

Donal Fallon

Irish Independent

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