In the Irish Mail on Sunday of 3rd October, Dermot Bolger's review of Damian Corless's Irish Hospitals Sweeptstakes contains some remarkable claims. Joe McGrath, one of the leading lights of the Sweepstakes racket, as is well known, is also stated to have been 'Michael Collins's former enforcer and torturer'. More than that, Bolger alleges that SeŠn Lemass's brother Noel 'was tortured and murdered by McGrath'.
The murder of Noel Lemass is notable for the fact that it took place after the end of the Civil War, he being abducted in July 1923 and his dismembered body located at the Featherbed in the Dublin Mountains in October (the spot is marked by a monument). While it is accepted that Free State forces were to blame, I have never seen anyone mentioned by name as the killer, and although McGrath might have turned a blind eye, one wonders if he is being unfairly accused? Ulick O'Connor wrote in the Sunday Indo in 2002 that Noel Lemass was killed because of the mistaken belief that he had been involved in the murder of Sean Hales.
Those were indeed terrible times, and it is suspected that the Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks may still hold some surviving secret files that just might throw a little more light on these officially sanctioned murders. You will still find the odd 'Blueshirt' justifying the killings today, in the cause of preserving order and democracy. Of course the Republicans killed ruthlessly as well and have their apologists, but they could not match the ferocity and resources of their former colleagues and friends in the Free State government.