A named leader involved in the struggle for Irish independence
Born in West Cork in 1890, Michael Collins was an extremely significant leader who fought for Irish independence from Britain. Emigrating to London in 1906, he was a bank & post office worker but he secretly became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). He returned to Ireland in 1916 to fight.
He fought for independence in the General Post Office (GPO) but the 1916 Easter Rising ultimately failed. He was arrested in Frongoch Prison Camp (Wales). When he returned to Ireland, he was elected as an MP (Member of Parliament) of the political party Sinn Féin for South Cork. He was soon elected to the first Dáil (Irish parliament) as the Minister for Finance. The Dáil was later made illegal by British authorities.
Collins formed the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to fight for Irish independence. He introduced guerrilla war tactics to fight against the British. This involved attacking them & quickly retreating. He also established the Squad, a special group of the IRA who assassinated anyone thought to be against Irish independence. In 1920, this Squad murdered 12 British secret service men. The British responded by killing several spectators & players at a Gaelic football game in Croke Park. This day became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’.
After the Irish decided to call a truce, Collins reluctantly signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 that divided Ireland into North & South. However, in 1922, he ordered the shelling of Anti-Treaty IRA men occupying the Four Courts.
He was killed in an ambush at Béal na mBláth in West Cork in August 1922.