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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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Last surviving child of executed 1916 leader turns 102

Fr Mallin still writes home to relatives in old Irish script, according to his niece.

Image: Courtesy of the Mallin family

THE SON OF the 1916 Easter Rising commandant Michael Mallin has celebrated his 102nd birthday.

Fr Joseph Mallin, the only surviving child of an executed 1916 leader, marked the event with friends in Hong Kong on Sunday.

The Jesuit priest, who was two years old when his father died, has lived in China since 1948, when he left Ireland for missionary work.

His niece Una Ó Callanáin told TheJournal.ie that he is still in good physical shape, though his mobility is “not so great”.

She said Fr Mallin regularly writes home to relatives in old Irish script, keeping them abreast of current affairs in the region.

He was last in Ireland to celebrate his 90th birthday, but has long considered Hong Kong home and is held in high esteem there, Ó Callanáin said.

He’s a very quiet person but he’s very alert. He could tell you everything that’s going in China as well as Ireland.

11999996_854764201238875_1500662298_n Source: Courtesy of the Mallin family

‘Be a priest if you can’

Fr Mallin, the fourth of five children in the family, was taken to visit his father in Kilmainham the night before he was executed in May 1916.

Michael Mallin was the Irish Citizen Army’s chief of staff and commanded a garrison on St Stephen’s Green during Easter Week.

A socialist who had previously served in the British army, Mallin was 41 when he shot for his role in the rebellion.

He is believed to have encouraged his baby son to become a priest in a letter sent to his family shortly before he was shot.

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

Read: The government, Sinn Féin and the battle for 2016

Pictures: Incredible photos of a ruined Dublin after the 1916 Easter Rising

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Catherine Healy

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