Image: Liberty hall after the rising
In response, at a rally on November 13 1913 the revolutionary socialist James Connolly had declared "The next time we are out for a march, I want to be accompanied by four battalions of trained men. Why should we not drill and train our men in Dublin as they are doing in Ulster?" An ex-British army officer, Captain Jack White, offered to organise a defence militia of ITGWU members. The ICA kept peace at meetings, protected workers from the police and prevented evictions. (2)
Preparations for insurrectionIn March 1914 the ICA was re-organised and a new constitution was ratified. The constitution was republican in character, without any explicit mention of socialism. It did however demand that "the ownership of Ireland, moral and material, is vested of right in the people of Ireland" and for "equal rights and opportunities for the Irish people".(3) The ICA was to be open only to members of a recognised union and the Dublin Trades Council gave its official approval.
The insurrection was planned by the ICA leader James Connolly, who was now also the leader of the ITGWU, and the nationalist leadership of the secretive Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). The IRB had successfully taken many of the leadership positions in the 20,000 strong Irish Volunteers without most Volunteers realising it. Even W.J. Brennan-Whitmore, who was one of the few non IRB Volunteer officers aware that the rising was planned, only learned of the IRB's role on the morning of the rising when he saw the proclamation that mentioned their participation on the morning of the rising.
From 1915 Connolly had been pushing publicly for a rising, he had even converted part of Liberty Hall (the union building) into a munitions factory which made bayonets, crowbars and bombs. He also published a number of articles in the 'Workers Republic' studying the tactics used in previous insurrections in Europe. Commenting on Connolly's article on the 1905 Moscow insurrection, a recent biographer Donal Nevin observes "It is impossible to read without noting the remarkable similarities in the tactics to those used by the insurgents in Dublin eleven years later".
By 1915 the ICA was regularly engaging in training exercises around Dublin. For example, "one night in October , when heavy fog hung over the city, the entire army, men and women, set out at midnight and for two hours engaged in 'attack' and 'defence' exercises around the Castle". (4) The minutes of the Commission on the Rebellion in Ireland include police reports on these armed training exercises.
Article Continues Here