A Civilising Effect
War might have been ended in Ireland, or at least paused, by the Truce of July 1921, but that meant for Michael Staines an increased workload. No longer confined to sitting on the side-lines in prison, Staines was now the liaison officer on behalf of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) with the British military authorities in both Co. Galway and his native Mayo. While he had his doubts that the ceasefire would hold for very long, Staines dutifully set forth from Dublin to Galway railway station and there to Eglinton Street Barracks to make the acquaintance of his British counterpart, Divisional Commissioner M.G. Cruise of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC).
The scars from the past two and a half years of conflict were apparent almost as soon as Staines stepped off the train. The Railway Hotel he passed while leaving the station was adorned with barbed-wire loops, courtesy of its Auxiliary garrison – unsurprisingly, Staines refused Cruise’s offer of accommodation there. He preferred instead his usual venue in the county, Ballinasloe House at Salthill, despite its current boarded-up state from when a British patrol had smashed its windows a few months ago. But Staines was not to be deterred, arranging for every pane of glass to be replaced and Ballinasloe House reopened before the day was done.
Nor was he intimidated when drunken Auxiliaries came knocking roughly at Ballinasloe House, a few weeks later, in search of him:
I reported the matter to Mr. Cruise, and told him that if he allowed anything like it to happen again these men would have to be deported. This had a civilising effect and I was not troubled further by them.
Galway had been in need of a ‘civilising effect’ for quite a while, having suffered a large number of Crown reprisals during the guerrilla campaign. This was in contrast with neighbouring Mayo, despite it being similarly rebellious and how both counties had been under Cruise’s military authority. When Staines pointed out this difference to Cruise, the Divisional Commissioner replied: “We were afraid of the Mayo lads.”
Which must have stirred Staines’ heart to hear his people held in such dread regard by the enemy; indeed, he had already forwarded his gun to Mayo in preparation for his return when the Truce broke down, as he was sure it would. While he had spent the proceeding conflict either in Dublin or as a prisoner, next time would be served as part of a Mayo IRA Flying Column.
That opportunity veered perilously close at least once, according to Seán Gibbons, who briefly worked alongside Staines in liaising duties: “By the beginning of October, 1921, the Truce seemed in great danger of breaking”; enough for Gibbons to rejoin the ranks of the Mayo IRA Brigade and for Staines’ recall to Dublin. His Galway office on University Road was closed accordingly. “The position was very delicate apparently for two or three weeks” before the heat died down and life resumed its prior state of ‘not at war, not quite at peace’.
“Looking back on it, while I must say that the time in Galway was interesting for a week or two, I got tired of it rapidly, as there was not enough work to do,” Gibbons later wrote.
Which would have been news to Staines. For him, it was one thing after another to delay the seemingly inevitable return to war and keep Galway on a relatively even keel. When trees were reported lain across the road at Kilmaine, apparently in preparation for an ambush – an IRA speciality – he and Cruise drove over together. After inspecting the suspicious site, the pair agreed that it was the recent storm to blame. A closer shave was at the Galway Town Hall, on the Sunday of the 2nd October 1921, when shots were fired, a man was killed and the situation became, as Gibbons put it, very delicate.
A Delicate Position
It says much about the state of Ireland at the time that the bullets – according to one witness – that came through the Town Hall window just before midnight, in between songs, were not considered sufficient to cancel the dance, held in aid of the Republican Prisoners’ Dependents’ Fund. Everyone threw themselves on the floor, some women doing so involuntarily upon fainting, and a panic was close to breaking out when the Volunteers of the IRA, who had been acting as door stewards, came in to quell it.
Evidently they were successful, for the dance was soon restarted. It was not until Cruise and Staines appeared together to request the postponement of any further activities, out of respect for the British Army officer who had been shot dead outside, that the revellers had any idea that anything more serious had occurred.
The deceased was Lieutenant G.H. Souchon, 17th Lancers, a popular man with his fellow officers as well as the Galway townspeople, some of whom he would have known through his participation in the local boat club. “A pathetic coincidence is that the officer was to have retired from the Army last month,” noted the Irish Times, “but owing to some delay in the arrival of his papers his retirement was postponed.” Another victim that night was Temporary Constable Driver Barnes, wounded in the hip, gravely but not life-threateningly so.
Naturally, everyone had their own version of what happened – and where the responsibility lay. With an official inquiry pending, there were two theories, according to the Galway correspondent of the above newspaper:
It is alleged on the one hand that the origin of the trouble was an attempt on the part of some members of the Crown Forces to enter the building without payment, and, on the other hand, that members of the Crown Forces were held up by Republican police [IRA] and searched in the vicinity of the hall.
Either way, an already tense situation boiled over into violence, resulting in the firing of the gunshots, one of which struck Lieutenant Souchon as he drove by with colleagues:
He received the fatal shot in the forehead, almost between the eyes, and collapsed into the arms of a brother officer, who was sitting next to him in the back of the car.
Meanwhile, Staines, Gibbons and the other guests at Ballinasloe House were abed and had been since eleven, as per the rules – the proprietor ran a tight establishment. Roused by some commotion, Gibbons got up to find Staines in the next room, already dressed and about to depart:
I asked him where he was going. He replied to the effect that he was going down to the Town Hall where an officer of the Dragoons had been shot, with the resultant danger to the Truce. I suggested that he should take me along with him, that I would be helpful on a journey of this nature, but he was just not in that particular frame of mind and said that perhaps it would be better if he saw Cruise himself and got an idea of the position generally for Headquarters.
Staines never mentions Gibbons in his own account, written thirty-three years later in 1954 as part of his Bureau of Military History (BMH) Statement. Joe Ring, in contrast, features prominently, perhaps because Ring had Staines’ respect while Gibbons did not. A fellow Mayo man and Staines’ assistant in liaising duties (later taking over from him when the latter was recalled to Dublin), Ring had previously fought in the Mayo IRA, most notably as commander at the Carrowkennedy Ambush in June 1921, where he had treated captured Auxiliaries chivalrously, providing the wounded with first-aid and allowing them to be removed for treatment. Such humanity had earned him the esteem of even the British forces in Galway.
At least, that’s how Staines told it.
As with much else in the period, what occurred exactly that night would be tussled over by conflicting sources. Douglas V. Duff wrote in his memoirs (published in 1934) about how his fellow Black-and-Tans streamed out of their Eglinton Street Barracks upon news of the shooting, some straight out of bed and in various states of dress. Coming across one man in a green uniform at the scene, and identifying him not only a ‘Shinner’ but one responsible for the deaths of several of their comrades, they dragged him to the back of the hall. An impromptu firing-squad was forming when the RIC Divisional Commander, in a dressing-gown, put himself between the Tans and the ‘Shinner’, daring the would-be executioners to shoot through him, causing them to back down and thereby saving the other man’s life.
Though unnamed in Duff’s book, the heroic (and almost-self-sacrificing) Divisional Commander was probably Cruise. Whether the ‘Shinner’ who narrowly escaped death was supposed to be Ring or Staines is uncertain; unlike Ring, Staines had not seen active combat during the insurgency, instead serving in an administrative role as IRA Quartermaster in Dublin. He was, however, the one to be threatened when arriving, as Staines told it:
…at the Town Hall several Auxiliaries rushed at me with their revolvers, and two of them actually had their revolvers on my chest.
The saviour is this version was not Cruise but Ring, who:
…came in behind me with a gun in each hand. He covered the two British officers, saying, “Put down those guns or I’ll shoot”, and they put down the guns.
Ring had warned Staines at Ballinasloe House against coming in the police car that was waiting for them outside. Staines decided to do so anyway – while Ring came in a separate vehicle – which, according to Staines, allowed him to catch the other side in a ‘gotcha’ moment:
On the journey the car in which I was travelling was held up by Auxiliaries in Shop Street. It was held up because it was a police car. The Auxiliaries told the driver about the shooting and said they wanted to get out of Galway as quickly as possible to Lenaboy. In my hearing they admitted that they were the culprits who had done the shooting. Of course they did not know I was in the car.
Staines was able to use this inside information when finally meeting Cruise. The Divisional Commander was in a thunderous mood at Souchon’s death until Staines repeated what he had overheard in the car. Instantly contrite, Cruise threw his arms around Staines’ shoulder and accepted responsibility on behalf of the Crown forces in Galway, agreeing to Staines’ advice to withdraw them from the town that night before they made good on their threat to burn the town. At the subsequent inquest, “the British admitted that one of their D.I.s [District Inspectors] had done the shooting” under the mistaken impression that the car with Souchon in it was an IRA-owned one, according to Staines.
The inquest in question, held two days after the shooting, on the 4th October, had actually said no such thing, to go by contemporary coverage. As Staines had told Cruise beforehand that the witnesses the latter requested for the hearing would not attend, the only ones who did testify were Auxiliaries or Lancers. None of them, however, were able to provide a definite version of events; it is not even clear if Souchon’s death and the ruckus at the Town Hall were connected.
Initially, it was reported that the deceased had died in ‘the arms of a brother officer’; the Lancer who had been in the front seat at the time told of how he had not known Souchon was dead until arriving back at their camp at Earl’s Island and finding the blood-stained Lieutenant slumped in the backseat. He had been still alive when the car was stopped in Galway town by a police cordon, during which puffs of smoke and flashes of light were seen from the windows of a house before them. Three bullet holes were later found in the back of the car-hood, with the fatal shot believed to have gone through the back window to strike Souchon – which would rather contradict the insistent of the surviving passengers that the firing they witnessed had come from the front, not behind them.
As for the fracas at the Town Hall, testimony depicted the IRA as the aggressors. A District Inspector was struck in the face when an argument with the Volunteers – in civilian dress but marked out by green ribbons in their coat button-holes – over their legal status as a police force turned violent. Shots were made as the RIC retreated from the scene, prompting return-fire and the arrival of Crown reinforcements who forced their way into the Town Hall. It was at that point Staines joined them. According to an unnamed “high official” of the RIC, the IRA liaison officer admitted that the breach of the Truce had been on the Irish side.
‘A Highly Efficient Officer’
Whichever version one chooses to believe (if any, given how self-serving each is), Staines emerges in all of them as cool-headed at a pinch. But then, he had had a lot of practice, such as during his stint as prisoner commandant in Frongoch Camp after the Easter Rising of 1916. When a “very difficult situation” occurred, he was able to handle it “with remarkable efficiency and tact”, as described by fellow resident W.J. Brennan-Whitmore.
The Camp Commandant – dubbed ‘Buckshot’ on account of him warning his charges that they would be met with buckshot should they risk an escape – had approached Staines with the idea of each of the sixteen huts in Frongoch having a leader appointed who would then provide a list of everyone inside. This was ostensibly for greater efficiency but Staines, suspecting it as a means of identifying whoever was liable for British military service, refused to cooperate. Even when threatened with withheld rations, Staines held his ground, retorting to ‘Buckshot’ that he would sooner be a corpse than a spy, which was what such a role amounted to.
An attempt by the Frongoch authorities to force the issue with a roll-call flopped when 342 out of the 546 detainees stayed mum rather than respond to their names. For this, they were sent to internment without privileges but the point had been made, in no small part due to Staines, according to Brennan-Whitmore.
“He was a highly efficient officer who earned the love and respect of every individual prisoner,” Brennan-Whitmore wrote. “Could I pay him a higher tribute?”
Staines was released from Frongoch at the end of 1916. Despite continuing to play an active role in the Irish revolution, Staines would not see the inside of a prison again until the 6th of December 1920, when a session of the Dublin Corporation at City Hall was interrupted by a squad of armed Auxiliaries. The roll book allowed the British officer in charge to know exactly who was present, and he was undeterred by the silence that met his call for a ‘Mr Staines’. It looked like he would have to arrest everyone in the room, he said out loud.
After that, an Auxiliary approached a man sitting in one of the back seats and asked his name.
“Mr Staines,” came the answer. He was at once taken into custody. The officer went through the rest of the names in the roll book. By the time the Auxiliaries departed, six Dublin aldermen were accompanying them to jail.
Staines would tell the story a little differently. The sole reason he had attended in the first place – for life was risky enough for the Quartermaster of the IRA Executive – was because a motion was about to be presented before Dublin Corporation that amounted to a vote of loyalty to the British Government. Which would not do at all and so Michaels Collins ordered Staines to oppose it. Staines stayed dumb as the British officer read out his name and it was only the glances in his direction from the rest of the Aldermen that gave him away.
At least Staines could have the gratification of the story reaching not only the newspapers but the House of Commons, where Joe Devlin MP was sarcastically asking the Chief Secretary of Ireland if such arrests were supposed to make Ireland a more peaceful place. As justification, Sir Hamar Greenwood provided a quick summary of each detainee’s rebel CV:
Alderman Michael Staines, captain in the 1st Dublin Battalion, Irish Republican Army, so-called ‘Minister of Trade and Commerce’ to ‘Dail Eireann,’ previously a tailor. He has been continuously ‘on the run’ since February last, and slept the night previous to his arrest in a hay shed. Hidden ammunition was found in his last permanent address. He is known to be a member of the Inner Circle of the Irish Republican Army Headquarters.
“Staines is not what I expected,” Mark Sturgis, a senior administrator in Dublin Castle, wrote in his diary upon meeting him in October 1921. “I am told he is a cunning twister but he has the appearance of a good looking type of honest peasant – the dark Galway type, keen and straight forward but not foxy.” Staines was by then out of jail, freed as part of the Truce of July 1921, but the bulk of the prisoners continued to linger behind bars.
It was on their behalf that Staines and Fintan Murphy were meeting with Sturgis, to discuss their conditions and possible release. After appraising the two Sinn Féin representatives up close, Sturgis decided that, while Murphy was better educated, “on the whole Staines made a better impression on me.” Whether friend or foe, Staines seems to have had that effect on people.
Sovereignty vs. Slavery
Regardless, the prisoners remained as such by the time Staines stood up to address Dáil Éireann on the 6th January 1922. Since most of the session had been and would be “scenes of excitement, outbursts of passion and stormy protests” – not surprisingly, given how the debate was on that most emotive of topics, the Anglo-Irish Treaty – Staines promised he would be brief, for two reasons:
The first is that I don’t want to import any bitterness into this discussion; I want to have the Dáil and the country united if possible, if they are not united I sincerely hope that no word or action of mine will be responsible for disunion.
As for the second:
There are two thousand Irishmen in Irish and English jails; they have got to stop there while we are talking and repeating the same things over and over again; there are forty-one of these men in jails in this Republic of Ireland under sentence of death. I don’t want, and I am sure these prisoners don’t want me to bring up their case here in order that it would decide the vote one way or another; I am speaking for myself; but anyway for their sakes I think we ought to hurry up and finish this debate.
With that said, Staines got to the question on everyone’s minds: yes, he was voting for the Treaty. In doing so, he was following his own accordance and the wishes of the inhabitants of Dublin North-West, who he represented as their TD, as well as that of the Irish people in general. Or, as he summed up, with a flair for alliteration: “My conscious, my constituency, my country.”
Despite the worthy sentiment at the start, it did not take long for the bile to seep into his words as Staines picked at the apparent inconsistencies of the opposition. Had not President Éamon de Valera stated that anyone believing the Plenipotentiaries could return from London with a Republic expected them to do what a mighty army could not? And now de Valera was putting forward a document – the controversial ‘Document No. 2’ – of his own that was neither a Republic nor, unlike the Treaty, actually signed.
“Today the President made a statement in which he said he is going to stand by the Republic,” Staines said, rather snidely, to cries of ‘Shame!’ around the hall. “I am glad he is a Republican again, and I am very sorry he ever left the rock of the Republic.”
This was too much for the man in question to take lying down:
De Valera: If that could be proved –
Staines: President de Valera will understand me, he will admit that I don’t want to say anything to hurt his feelings or the feelings of anyone in this House. We know each other a good many years. We have been always good friends, and I hope we will remain good friends to the end.
De Valera: Show where the document is inconsistent with the Republic.
Staines: First, as to your leaving the British Navy in possession of some ports.
De Valera: For five years.
It took an intervention by Michael Colivet, the TD for Limerick City-Limerick East, to cut off this particular thread: “In discussing the Treaty, we can’t keep to it [as in, Document No. 2].”
Staines continued with his arguments. What needed to be done now was whatever was best for the country and that was clearly, in Staines’ mind, the Treaty. What else was the other side – “I don’t know what side to call it” – suggesting? Did anyone think that if the President took four or five other Plenipotentiaries to Downing Street and started the negotiations all over again, a different or better result could be had? Would de Valera come back with a Republic on another go?
“He will not,” Staines said in yet another jab at the man whose feelings he professed to care about.
At least the end of the speech was on a pragmatic note. The Dáil had heard about all sorts of laws: international law, constitutional law and common law. But the only type Staines had ever really experienced, “as an ordinary common man” in Ireland, “was the law of force and the law of might.” With the withdrawal of the British Army and its replacement by an Irish one, it would seem that, for once, Irish people would have a chance at deciding what type of freedom they wanted. “I will vote for this Treaty because it stands for Irish freedom against English oppression,” he said as his finishing line, “and Irish sovereignty against English slavery.”
Staines was but one speaker amongst many but his contribution was gratefully noted by some journalists, who were observing the proceedings, as “pleasantly brief. How we could wish to see the others follow their example.”
Ruling in Hell or Serving in Heaven
Another argument for the Treaty were the odds against the IRA should it resume its armed campaign. That the Truce had been agreed to in the first place was due to “the fact that the position of the fighting men was very precarious in view of the grave shortage of ammunition,” according to Staines. He did not state this at the time, perhaps wary of being seen as defeatist, and waited until 1954 to include it in his BMH Statement. That he was in prison for the last seven months of the conflict would raise the question of how informed he could be of IRA strength in July 1921; nonetheless, Staines believed that the paucity of munitions “very definitely influenced [Michael] Collins in his negotiations with the British” that led to the Treaty being signed.
Staines said very little in his BMH Statement about the split following the Treaty and the resultant Civil War; needless to say, his stated wish during the Dáil debates for national unity to be maintained went unanswered. “Big numbers of people were delighted about the Treaty, but some of them turned the other way overnight,” was all he provided, the anger palpable and still raw even after three decades. “Somebody must have got after them.”
When the acrimony of the Treaty debates bled out into the daily work of government, Staines was as guilty as anyone of adding to it. “I am very glad to see that here today Mr de Valera told us that the Dáil was a sovereign assembly,” he told the Dáil on the 27th April 922, the sarcasm practically dripping from his words. “It is wonderful when people are in power how they delegate authority to themselves and, when they are not in power, how they try to take that authority away.”
As catty as Staines sounded, he was raising a pertinent question: from where did the sovereignty of the Irish revolution – now the Irish state – derive? The Cabinet? The Dáil? Both had been used by the Opposition – by which Staines meant the TDs who had resisted the Treaty and still did – at different points, depending on whichever served at the time:
You all remember that the debate here on the Treaty all turned on the one point – that the Plenipotentiaries did not come back and report to the…Cabinet. Now we are told today that the Dáil is a sovereign assembly.
The cause of this apparent volte-face was the accusation from de Valera – now just Mr de Valera, having resigned as President – that Cabinet Ministers were acting without consideration and consultation of the Dáil. In truth, wherever predominance lay had never been determined in the three years since Dáil Éireann and its accompanying government formed in the Mansion House, Dublin, in January 1919. Too much had been happening, and the question too delicate for it to be confronted, let alone solved, but it did leave openings to be exploited in ways that Staines considered the height of hypocrisy:
Today we are told that the Dáil itself is the Government of the country. Of course it is, and of course it was. But when the Opposition was in power it was the Cabinet. They want it different today, because some people would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven.
Staines was evidently acquainted with Paradise Lost if he could quote from it. Several months had passed since the Plenipotentiaries returned with the Treaty and the wounds from the tooth-and-nail struggle over it remained raw and unhealed. Staines was unafraid to bare his to the Dáil, telling the assembly of how he had advised de Valera – back when they were still on civil terms – not to publish his famous letter urging the Irish people against the Treaty. Staines’ reasoning had been that, by doing so as a Cabinet member, the then-President was intruding into the prerogative of the elected assembly.
Staines had further advice to give, this time to his colleagues as a whole. “While we are coming here and squabbling for power, people are being slaughtered all over the county,” he warned. “Let the people decide and decide quickly, and let all this squabbling end. We are making a disgrace of ourselves.”
As before, his advice went unheeded.
But then, Staines was not finding it easy to make himself heard, even with his promotion to Commissioner of the Civic Guard. Intended to replace the disbanded RIC, this new police force was troubled from the start, as the appointment of former RIC officers to senior positions bred resentment in the ranks. Other than the occasional, insubstantial remark from Eamonn Duggan, the Minister for External Affairs, the rest of the Cabinet were largely ignorant of the brewing tensions, assuming, as Ernest Blythe described:
…that it was one of those disputes that would settle itself as similar causes of agitation had settled themselves elsewhere. Then, suddenly, we were told that the bulk of the Civic Guard had mutinied and that they had chased certain of the higher officers, including Michael Staines…Joe Ring and others, out of the camp.
To add insult to injury, the Civic Guard had only been in existence for a few weeks. With the finger of blame needing to be pointed: “According to the report that reached the Government, Staines behaved with singular ineptitude…All Ministers took the view that when Duggan and Staines knew that the situation was really threatening, they should have given a full report to the Government.”
‘Ineptitude’ might be a bit harsh, considering the hurdles Staines faced from the start. The anti-Treaty IRA was never anything but hostile to the fledgling police force; the Civic Guard was both unnecessary and tainted by its (alleged) acceptance of Black-and-Tans, Rory O’Connor told a journalist. What O’Connor did not add was that he was in secret contact with some of the recruits, who had been playing their employer false from the start and were only waiting for the chance to wreak havoc.
And they did. Staines would indignantly learn, as he was campaigning to hold his parliamentary seat in the general election, that some of his supposed subordinates had left their Kildare Barracks on the 15th June 1922 to post handbills around his Dublin constituency “containing baseless statements intended to injuriously affect my candidature as TD,” so he informed the later inquiry into the mutiny. Staines kept his seat but worse betrayal was to follow a mere two days later when Anti-Treatyites from the Four Courts, led by O’Connor, looted Kildare Barracks of its armoury. Adding insult to injury was how this had been done with the connivance of some of the garrison.
Even without such saboteurs, it is unlikely that the Civic Guard would have gone off to a smooth start, if only for its use of former RIC men in positions of command. As many of the rank-and-file had been trying to kill Crown police personnel only months before as part of the IRA, this was a provocative arrangement. Staines defended it to the inquiry as both necessary – the former RIC men possessing “special qualifications for the posts to which they had been appointed” – and entirely proper, the credentials of the new officers being “satisfying to the Provisional Government” on account of them either having resigned from the RIC or worked as IRA moles within it.
Separating the Sheep from the Goats
None of this was enough for the malcontents, however. But the villain of the piece, in Staines’ eyes, was his Assistant Commissioner, Paddy Brennan, whose unsanctioned absence from Kildare Barracks allowed the dissent to fester at the cost of them all:
I feel that throughout I have had insufficient support from officers who should have known that the weakness in my authority was the sure prelude to the disappearance of their own, and I think they have behaved most unfairly to the men in not explaining matters to them, and bringing them to a sense of their duty.
That is, at least, one version. In reviewing the whole sorry affair, historian Brian McCarthy found more than enough blame to go around, from the arrogance and entitlement of the mutineers to the tone-deaf failure of the Provisional Government to anticipate the resentment the ex-RIC appointments would engender.
As for Staines, McCarthy is particularly damning in his verdict:
While his nationalist credentials as a 1916 veteran and Sinn Féin TD initially satisfied the recruits, he was not keen to take on the role and proved a weak leader. His lack of leadership skills quickly became evident and when threatened with a mutiny over the issue of RIC leadership in the new force, he effectively abandoned his position, fled from his base and Kildare Barracks and was consequently unable to regain control of the force.
Whether anyone else could have done better is debatable; Staines had at least tried to put his foot down on the parade ground on the 15th May 1922, challenging anyone unwilling to obey orders to step forward. The assembled men did more than that, openly revolting and driving their Commissioner and his aides out of Kildare Barracks. A last-ditch attempt by Staines to restore order by calling in armoured military cars floundered when the army officer in charge refused to proceed any further; in this, Staines made the wrong call and the officer the right one, Blythe judged, as the last thing the Provisional Government needed was two of its own bodies at each other’s throats.
If Staines had needed reinforcements, the Cabinet agreed upon reviewing the debacle, he should have requested them “before he made any attempt to separate the sheep from the goats, and not to send for them after the mutiny had broken out.” The steady nerves and finesse Staines demonstrated throughout his IRA career had clearly deserted him at this last hurdle.
While his policing tenure may have been short-lived and ignominious, there is one postscript of note. Staines remained as Commissioner until September 1922, enabling him to put the Civic Guard at the disposal of the Free State when the Four Courts were attacked in June 1922, triggering the Civil War. Armed policemen were placed accordingly around various government buildings in Merrion Square, Stephen’s Green, Kildare Street and other parts of Dublin, as well as elsewhere in the country where railway stations, bridges, culverts and communication centres needed guarding.
“The men were frequently under fire at their posts in the [Dublin] City and Suburbs, where such attacks and sniping were of nightly occurrence,” Staines told the Military Pensions Board in 1925.
Staines was not recording this for the sake of posterity; whether the Civic Guard at the time could be counted as part of the ‘National Forces’ would make all the difference in the amount of money he could claim for his past services. This led to some debate on the Board – as someone pointed out, ‘not an unarmed force’ is not quite the same thing as an armed force – until it was decided that the police then did indeed come within the framework of the National Forces. Trust Staines to spin gold even out of straw of failure, ‘cunning twister’ that he was.
 Staines, Michael (BMH / WS 944), pp. 25-6
 Ibid, pp. 25, 29-30
 Gibbons, Seán (BMH / WS 927), p. 56
 Ibid, p. 55
 Staines, pp. 26
 Irish Times, 04/10/1921
 Gibbons, p. 55
 Staines, pp. 25, 30
 Duff, Douglas V. Sword For Hire: The Saga of a Modern Free-Companion (London: John Murray, 1934), pp. 88-90
 Staines, pp. 27-8
 Irish Times, 05/10/1921
 Brennan-Whitmore, W.J. With the Irish in Frongoch (Cork: Mercier Press, 2013), pp. 28, 166-8
 Ibid, pp. 172-3
 Ibid. p. 82
 Irish Times, 11/12/1921
 Staines, p. 13
 Irish Times, 11/12/1921
 Sturgis, Mark (edited by Hopkinson, Michael) The Last Days of Dublin Castle: The Mark Sturgis Diaries (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1999), p. 220
 De Burca, Padraig and Boyle, John F. Free State or Republic? (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2002), p. 57
 ‘Debate on the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, signed in London on the 6th December 1921: Sessions 14 December 1921 to 10 January 1922’ (accessed on the 11th March 2018) CELT: The Corpus of Electronic Texts, https://celt.ucc.ie/published/E900003-001/index.html, pp. 296-8
 De Burca and Boyle, p. 62
 Staines, pp. 24-5
 Ibid, p. 24
 Dáil Éireann. Official Report (Dublin: Published by the Stationery Office, ), p. 302
 Blythe, Ernest (BMH / WS 939), p. 154
 Ibid, pp. 154-5
 McCarthy, Brian. The Civic Guard Mutiny (Cork: Mercier Press, 2012), pp. 79-80
 Ibid, pp. 124, 127-9
 Ibid, p. 142
 Ibid, p. 144
 Ibid, p. 210
 Blythe, pp. 154-5
Brennan-Whitmore. W.J.. With the Irish in Frongoch (Cork: Mercier Press, 2013)
Dáil Éireann: Official Report (Dublin: Published by the Stationery Office, [1922?])
De Burca, Padraig and Boyle, John F. Free State or Republic? (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2002)
Duff, Douglas V. Sword for Hire: A Saga of a Modern Free-Companion (London: John Murray, 1934)
McCarthy, Brian. The Civic Guard Mutiny (Cork: Mercier Press, 2012)
Sturgis, Mark (edited by Hopkinson, Michael) The Last Days of Dublin Castle: The Mark Sturgis Diaries (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1999)
Bureau of Military History Statements
Blythe, Ernest, WS 939
Gibbons, Seán, WS 927
Staines, Michael, WS 944
CELT: The Corpus of Electronic Texts
Military Service Pensions Application