Secret police files from one of the most pivotal periods in Irish history are being made public.
The collection dating from 1915 to April 29, 1916 – just four days before the Easter Rising – includes intelligence material and detectives’ reports on the movements of more than 200 pro-independence suspects including key players like Tom Clarke and Con Colbert.
Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said: “The files may be 100 years old, but they still paint a fascinating picture of how the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) were monitoring the people who they believed were plotting Ireland’s independence.”
The Chief Secretary’s Office, Crime Branch: Movement of Extremists collection, is being made available online on a weekly basis as part of the National Archives 2016 centenary programme.
Documentation detailing surveillance operations on locations including 75 Parnell Street – Clarke’s city centre tobacconist – and the Irish Volunteers Office on Dawson Street are being released.
And there are references to the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa and the Annual Convention of Irish Volunteers as well as details of anti-recruitment and conscription rallies and meetings of the Irish Women’s Franchise League.
Ms Humphreys added: “There is so much fascinating material about the period before the Rising and I am delighted to see the National Archives making these files available online, which will ensure they are accessible to the greatest possible audience.
“This is one of a number of digitisation projects taking place as part of Ireland 2016.”
John McDonough, director of the National Archives, said: “People will be able to read how key players were identified, followed, and put under surveillance, and read the thoughts of the detectives tracking them.”
The reports can be accessed on National Archives website at www.nationalarchives.ie.