By Fearghal McGarry
Eoin O'Duffy was once probably the most debatable figures of recent Irish heritage. a pace-setter of the Irish revolution, and protГ©gГ© of Michael Collins, he commanded the Irish police and security forces, earlier than rising as Ireland's major fascist flesh presser within the Thirties. A crusading moralist, keen about the necessity to counter public immorality, and a closet gay and alcoholic, O'Duffy's impressive existence was once characterized by means of self-aggrandisement, myth, and contradiction.
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Extra resources for Eoin O'Duffy: A Self-Made Hero
M. m. General mobilisation of foregoing Companies to march to Coalisland, where they were reinforced by local Company of Volunteers and three Companies of Fianna na hEireann. Paraded the town and cleared streets of disorderly crowds . . m. ⁵⁶ The Dundalk Democrat viewed such displays as poor form: ‘the Sinn Feiners on the eve of the poll have had recourse to the last desperate expedient of trying to overawe the voters by a display of political violence. ⁵⁸ Despite the alarming precedents of 1914 and 1916, these bold displays often met with a patronizing response.
A serial committee-joiner, O’Duffy belonged to a remarkable array of social, sporting, cultural, and professional bodies: ‘I was at one period honorary secretary in my spare time of no fewer than ten voluntary organisations. ³¹ It was a life-style which demonstrated his voracious appetite for public life as much as his commitment to republicanism; in later life, his craving for public exposure would verge on the obsessive. Authority came easily to O’Duffy, his idealization of military life evident in his bearing and demeanour which imitated the obvious role model of the British officer.
Soon after, two of his key men were given ‘an instruction in Eoin O’Duffy’s handwriting’ to join the IRB. ’ He believed that ‘many of the officers were members . . ’⁵⁰ He was right. The key figures on the brigade staff, including O’Duffy’s deputy, Dan Hogan, were IRB men. ⁵¹ What was the purpose of this secret organization? ’⁵² The IRB’s influence was both facilitated and necessitated by the disorganized nature of the Volunteers in 1918: ‘Headquarters remained a shadowy institution, its influence largely exercised through the fraternal web of the IRB, spun the best man in ulster by Collins and his associates in Dublin.
Eoin O'Duffy: A Self-Made Hero by Fearghal McGarry