We were very pleased to welcome John Dillon’s grandson (John Dillon also) to the barracks recently. His grandfather an MP, for East Mayo and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. He reminded us of the speech his grandfather made in the House of Commons in response to the trials of those involved in the 1916 Rising at Richmond Barracks and the executions of the leaders in Kilmainham Gaol.
Westminster, 12 May 1916 – An emotional, dramatic speech from John Dillon MP, a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, dominated proceedings in the House of Commons in London yesterday.
..I say I am proud of their courage, and, if you were not so dense and so stupid,as some of you English people are, you would have had these men fighting for you, and they are men worth having. … ours is a fighting race … The fact of the matter is that what is poisoning the mind of Ireland, and rapidly poisoning it, is the secrecy of these trials and the continuance of these executions … I do not think Abraham Lincoln executed one single man, and by that one act of clemency, he did an enormous work of good for the whole country… why cannot you treat Ireland as Both a treated South Africa… victims of misdirected enthusiasm and leadership..’