Emmet Dalton recalls the IRA attack on the Custom House Dublin in 1921 to strike a blow to British administration in Ireland during the War of Independence.
On 25 May 1921 the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) led by General Tom Ennis sacked and set fire to the Custom House, then the headquarters of nine government departments of British authorities in Ireland.
Much of the information necessary for the country's civil administration went up in smoke, but the effort was costly for the IRA in terms of captured men and arms.
The concept behind the attack explains Emmet Dalton was to obstruct the functioning of the civil service in Ireland to the greatest extent possible.
Approved by the Dáil, the operation was assigned to the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army, who were supported by the Intelligence branch, Active Service Unit, and the Guard. The potential magnitude of the operation required, strategic and complex planning,
It was much more than just burning the Custom House.
While the goal of setting the Custom House on fire and disrupting the civil service was achieved, the effect on the Dublin Brigade, which consisted of Volunteers from Dublin city and county, was large.
From an original lineup of about one hundred and twenty Volunteers, approximately eighty were captured, five were killed and a number were badly injured. Four civilians were also killed during the gun battles.
Any possibility of obtaining weapons had disappeared and those remaining members of Dublin Brigade found themselves in
Literally a hopeless position...there was no fighting force left.
'Emmet Dalton Remembers' was broadcast on 7 March 1978. The interviewer is Cathal O’Shannon.