"There Was Slaughter In Dublin"

Tom Devine was a member of 'E' Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers. He mobilised on Easter Sunday at the old St Enda's school, Oakley Road and he recalls how he felt when they heard of MacNeill's countermanding order,

I marched out with my .22 rifle, a blanket and days rations... We went home very upset.

Believing that the Rising was taking place that weekend he neglected to finish maintenance work on a gas plant in the laundry where he worked, and so on Easter Monday morning he went in to work to finish the job. At lunchtime he heard that the Rising had indeed begun. Despite all his efforts Devine could not locate his comrades in 'E' company. He made his way to O'Connell Street and gained entry into the General Post Office where to his surprise he found his Commanding Officer Liam Tannam.

He recalls asking James Connolly for his help adjusting the straps on his bandolier. Devine had not met Connolly before and did not know what he looked like and was quite embarrassed when he found out later that day just who had come to his assistance,

When the raw recruit asks the Commandant-General to fasten his straps it's a horse of another colour.

Throughout the week Devine was chosen to go to a number of outposts including Fairview and Henry Street but was then called back to the GPO. By Friday it was no longer possible to remain in the GPO and Devine remembers Pearse addressing the garrison telling them they would have to evacuate their position. An advance party led by 'The' O'Rahilly would have to make their way to Moore Street to attack the British barricades in order to let the main body make their way through to Williams and Woods Factory. Devine was chosen to go and describes what happened,

I think they waited til the last of us came round the corner from Henry Street and they let it all loose on us... An awful lot fell near me.  

On Saturday Pearse ordered the surrender and Tom Devine and his comrades were marched to the Rotunda and kept overnight out in the open. This was to have a profound effect on his health for the rest of his life. Devine recalls seeing some British soldiers making fun of Tom Clarke and the arrival of the detectives from Dublin Castle. From there they were brought to Richmond Barracks and Devine was placed in a room with Seán MacDiarmada who he describes as being,

Quite gentle, calm. He was a very fine man indeed.

Devine was held in Richmond Barracks for eight days. Due to his age, he was only seventeen years old at the time, he was released. Although he rejoined his company after his release, owing to health reasons Tom Devine did not play an active role in the War of Independence or Civil War, although he did continue to do support work for the Republican movement. He died in 1969, at the age of seventy-one. 

Tom Devine was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 23 January 1966.