Saturday June 10 2006
Markievicz related that at 12 noon, the time that Constable Lahiff was shot, she was delivering supplies to City Hall by car with Dr Kathleen Lynn.
Dr Lynn’s statement to the Bureau of Military History confirms the detail and times given in Markievicz’s account.
Maire Nic Shuibhlaigh related in her biography that, as the Jacob’s factory contingent prepared to occupy the building, she saw the car go past, Markievicz shouting encouragement at them. When Markievicz arrived at St Stephen’s Green, the occupation was well under way.
As I have already related (Letters, May 12), Diana Norman discredited the story of the St Stephen’s Green killing, revealing that it was based entirely on innuendo and that no witnesses backed it up – aside from Caulfied’s anonymous source.
Another Markievicz biographer, Anne Haverty, also casts doubt on the story.
In fact she offers clear evidence of the Countess having in fact intervened to save the life of a British soldier who had mistakenly entered the College of Surgeons thinking it had already surrendered.
In a separate instance, Frank Robbins of the St Stephen’s Green contingent related that, as the College of Surgeons was being occupied, the doorkeeper let off a shotgun blast, nearly hitting Robbins.
Markievicz’s intervention saved the man, whom Robbins and the others considered shooting.
Brian Barton has shown that false rumours of Markievicz’s supposedly craven conduct at her court-martial were circulated alongside the rumour that she had shot PC Lahiffe.
Miss Mahaffy, daughter of Trinity College’s Provost, who recorded them, unconsiously revealed their object: Markievicz was, she observed “the one woman amongst them of high birth and therefore the most depraved . . . She took to politics and left our class . . . ”
This campaign of vilification is, Diana Norman believes, “an extreme example of a process by which women are denigrated until they disappear from history”.
It is only necessary to bring to mind the example of Muriel MacSwiney, who has up to lately been maligned on the basis of false rumours and innuendo, to give credit to this assertion.
CLAIRE MCGRATH GUERIN, CO TIPPERARY