Priest, 102, is last living child of 1916 ‘martyrs’

The last surviving child of those executed during the 1916 rising has celebrated his 102nd birthday.

Father Joseph Mallin, a Jesuit priest, celebrated the milestone on Sunday in Hong Kong and is also thought to be the oldest Irish priest in the world.

Fr Mallin is the son of executed 1916 leader Comdt Michael Mallin, who went out on Easter Monday, 1916, to command the fighting in St Stephen’s Green, with Countess Markievicz as his deputy, and never returned.

As chief of staff of the Irish Citizen Army, and second in command, Mallin served under James Connolly and was in charge of the ICA garrison at St Stephen’s Green.

The night before his father’s execution, Joseph was taken to Kilmainham Gaol by his mother, Agnes, who was pregnant with her fifth child, to say goodbye.

While Joseph, who was two at the time, has no recollection of the event, he was remembered by his father in his last letter. In it, he wrote: “Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can.”

Mallin was executed by firing squad on May 8, 1916.

Joseph fulfilled his father’s wish and became a priest. He then moved to China, in 1948, for missionary work, and secured a place at the Wah Yan College, a Catholic secondary school.

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