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Last surviving child of executed 1916 leader awarded Freedom of Dublin

Fr Joseph Mallin was just two years old when his father was killed by firing squad in May 1916.

Joseph Mallin celebrated his 102nd birthday in Hong Kong last September.
Joseph Mallin celebrated his 102nd birthday in Hong Kong last September.
Image: Courtesy of the Mallin family

THE LAST SURVIVING child of an executed 1916 leader has been granted the Freedom of Dublin.

Fr Joseph Mallin (102) is the son of Easter Rising commandant Michael Mallin, a Dublin socialist who was killed by firing squad days after the rebellion.

The Jesuit priest has lived in Hong Kong since leaving Ireland for missionary work in 1948.

He was conferred with the award at a ceremony in Wah Yan College in the city this morning.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh said Fr Mallin was honoured because of his work with the people of Hong Kong and Macau as well as his unique connection to the events of 1916.

“His skills as a priest, a mentor, teacher and giver of grace have made a difference to thousands of lives,” Ní Dhálaigh said.

‘Be a priest if you can’

Only 80 other people – including John F Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa – have been awarded the Freedom of Dublin since its inception in 1876.

Fr Mallin, the fourth of five children, was just two years old when he was taken to visit his father in Kilmainham Jail the night before he was killed in May 1916.

The elder Mallin is believed to have encouraged his baby son to become a priest in a letter sent to his family ahead of the execution.

“Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can,” he is said to have written.

His son, who was ordained in 1946, celebrated his 102nd birthday in Hong Kong last September.

Read: Postboxes around Dublin are being painted red for the 1916 centenary

Read: The mystery of the historic bomb-making equipment found in a Dublin attic

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Catherine Healy

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