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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 29 May, 2020

Son of executed 1916 leader dies aged 104

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

Fr Joseph Mallin celebrating his 102nd birthday in Hong Kong in 2016.
Fr Joseph Mallin celebrating his 102nd birthday in Hong Kong in 2016.
Image: Courtesy of the Mallin family

Updated 5.45pm

THE ONLY SURVIVING child of an executed leader of the 1916 Rising has died at the age of 104.

Fr Joseph Mallin was the son of Commandant Michael Mallin who was in command of the Irish Citizen Army at St Stephen’s Green during Easter week. The Dublin socialist 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. In 2016, he was made a Freeman of Dublin.

The fourth of five children, he 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.


The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál MacDonncha expressed sympathy on the death of Fr Mallin, stating:

“It is with sadness we learned on Easter Sunday morning, as we commemorate the 1916 Rising, of the death of Fr Joseph Mallin. I extend deepest sympathy to all his family and friends.

“Fr Joseph was awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 2016 and the award was presented to him in Hong Kong by my predecessor Críona Ní Dhálaigh.

“Son of executed 1916 leader Michael Mallin, Fr Joseph cherished the memory of his father and his legacy of commitment to the cause of Irish freedom. Fr Joseph’s sincere patriotism was an inspiration and it was a great source of pride that he held the Freedom of the City of Dublin.”

Poignant timing of his death 

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald also expressed their sadness at Mallin’s death.

“Fr. Mallin, as the last surviving child of an executed leader of the Easter 1916 Rising, was a tangible connection to one of the defining moments of our country’s history. The fact that he has passed away at Easter adds extra poignancy,” said Martin.

He said Mallin was a committed, loyal and compassionate Irish missionary who made an enormous contribution around the world, adding that Fr Mallin remained proud throughout his life of his father’s role in his country’s formation.

“I was honoured to meet with and talk to Fr Mallin while Minister for Enterprise on a trade visit to Hong Kong some years ago. On my own behalf and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party, I would like to extend sympathy to his entire family and circle of friends,” said Martin.

McDonald said Fr Mallin had shown “remarkable energy and dedication during the latter years of his life to ensure that his father’s memory, and his heroic contribution to cause Irish of freedom, were rightfully vindicated in the face of politically motivated British court martial records”.

“I want to extend my condolences, and those of Sinn Féin, to the family and friends of Fr Mallin at this sad time. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.”

Read: Military ceremony commemorates those who died in 1916 Rising>

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