Readers of books such as Deasy's and my own (Guerrilla Days in Ireland
) should be made aware of an important happening relative to this period about which the two books were written. This was the setting up, in later years, of the Bureau of Military History. I have no intimate first-hand knowledge whatever of this body, but following his retirement from the army, the late Lt-Colonel Tom Halpin, who lived in Cork, told me and others still alive that, during his later years, he was assigned to the Bureau as some kind of recording officer.
His duties were to record every single word from anyone who wished to appear before the Bureau and who claimed service with the I.R.A. It did not matter whether the deponent was obviously mentally disturbed, intoxicated or phoney, his statement had to be recorded. None of these statements was open for inspection by anyone else, not even by a maligned person. They were all to be locked away and not to be re-opened for fifty years, after which they were to be handed over to a group of historians who would, from that material, write a military history of the period. If this is correct, then God help Irish history.
Perhaps some professional historians will investigate what we were told about the depositions, and if it is true, ask that a bonfire be made of the lot in the Garden of Remembrance.