At the end of the War of Independence, two brothers were shot at Coolacrease, Co. Offaly, and their house burned. Their execution was ordered by the senior IRA command for taking up arms against the democratically elected Irish government in time of war.
In 2007 the Irish national broadcaster, RTÉ, screened a film portraying the execution of the Pearson brothers – who were Protestant - as a sectarian atrocity and an act of ethnic cleansing by local Republicans in furtherance of a land grab, with the complicity of the Irish Land Commission. They claimed their case was proven by official documents.
This book, producing the full documentary record, rebuts the charges made by RTÉ against the local people of Cadamstown, the Army of the Dáil and the Irish Land Commission. It shows the charges to be baseless, refuted by the documentary evidence.
The documentary records reproduced include contemporary IRA reports, the Proceedings of the British Military Courts of Inquiry into the executions, the Land Commission and Land Registry records, and the records of the British compensation body (“Irish Grants Committee”) which examined the case.
This for the first time is the full true story of the tragic events at Coolacrease.
Paddy Heaney is a historian in Co. Offaly who published a first account of these events in 2000. Dr. Pat Muldowney has written widely on Irish history and poetry. Philip O’Connor, who edited the book, is a trained historian. Dr. Brian P. Murphy osb is a renowned Irish historian. Brendan Clifford has published extensively on Irish history and politics. Nick Folley comments on current affairs. John Martin writes for the Irish Political Review and is author of the recent history, The Irish Times – Past and Present.
Introduction – Jack Lane