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Home - Spying - The 1916 Easter Uprising - Edward Daly


Edward Daly (known as Ned) was born in 1891 in Co. Limerick, the only son in a family with nine daughters, in a family with a history of republicanism. His Father had taken part in the 1867 Fenian Rising, his Uncle (John Daly) was sentenced to Life Imprisonment in 1884 (serving 12 years) and Thomas Clarke was his brother-in-law.

In a memorandum sent by General Sir John Maxwell to the then British Prime Minister, Herbet Asquith, the following description was provided for Edward Daly:

This man was one of the most prominent extremists in the Sinn Fein organisation. He held the rank of Commandant and was in command of the body of rebels who held the Four Courts where heavy fighting took place and casualties occured. He admitted being at the meeting of officers which decided to carry out the orders of the executive council and commence the armed rebellion.

Edward Daly was tried by Field General Courts Martial on 3 May 1916. The proceedings are contained in the PRO document WO 71/344.

Court Martial Proceedings

The members of the courts martial were Brigadier-General C.G. Blackader (President), Lieutenant-Colonels G. German and W.J. Kent.

To the charge of " ... did take part in an armed rebellion and in the waging of war against His Majesty the King, such act being of such a nature as to be calculated to be prejudicial to the Defence of the Realm and being done with the intension and for the purpose of assisting the enemy." Edward Daly pleaded not guilty.

The 1st witness wasLieutenant Halpin (3rd Sherwood Foresters) who stated

I was arrested opposite the Four Courts on Monday 24 April and I was taken into the Four Courts and detained in Custody until the following Saturday. I first saw the accused on Thursday 27 April, he was armed and in uniform. I don't know if he was in authority. There was firing from the Four Courts while I was there.

When cross-examined by Edward Daly, Lieutenant Halpin confirmed that he had been well treated during his term of imprisonment.

The 2nd witness was Lieutenant A.P. Lindsay (5th Inniskillen Fusiliers) who stated

I was arrested on Tuesday 25 April by the rebels at the Four Courts and was fired on prior to arrest. Another officer with me was wounded. We were both taken into the Four Courts and confined there. I saw the accused during my confinement. I did not see the accused giving any orders. I saw him on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and had conversation with him. On Saturday I was informed that Commandant Daly wanted to see me. Commandant Daly is the accused. He said that he intended to make a counter attack as the position was hopeless. I told him it was useless and that he had better surrender. He said that he could not surrender without orders from his superior.

When cross-examined by Daly, Lieutenant Lindsay went on to say

He told me he had had a conference with the officers and that a counter attack had been decided upon. He also said that he did not expect anyone who took part in this counter attack would come back alive. He said that the object of making this counter attack was to save the lives of as many people as possible in the building.

Edward Daly did not call any witnesses but made the following statement in his defence

The reason I pleaded "Not Guilty" was because I had no dealings with any outside forces. I had no knowledge of the insurrection until Monday morning 24 April. The officers including myself when we heard the news held a meeting and decided that the whole thing was foolish but that being under orders we had no option but to obey.

Court Martial Verdict

Edward Daly was sentenced to death by shooting. This sentence was confirmed by General Maxwell. Between 4 and 4.30am on 4 May 1916, Edward Daly was shot in the former stonebreakers yard at Kilmainham Prison. His remains were later buried in Arbour Lane Cemetery.

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