Denis McCullough talks to Brian Farrell about the restructuring of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the movement's role in the Easter Rising.

Denis McCullough grew up in Belfast where his parents were both separatists. At the age of 17 McCullough's father took him to a meeting of the Irish Republican Brotherhood to have him sworn in to the movement.

He explains how he in 1915 he reluctantly became President of the IRB having been persuaded by Sean McDermott. McCullough recalls the IRB has being a tired and old organisation until his generation took it over and restructured it. He says that the IRB was key to the foundation of the Irish Volunteers because they already had a presence across the country.

At a meeting in the Clontarf Town Hall in 1915 it was decided that a rising would have to take place before the First World War ended. Although McCullough says they were aware that there would not be widespread public support for a rising it was felt that "an armed demonstration against English occupation" must take place.

The planning and organisation of the Easter Rising was down to the IRB. A military committee within the IRB of Connolly, Pearse, McDermott, Clarke, McDonagh, Ceannt and Plunkett were left to their own devices.   

He is keen to emphasise that Tom Clarke was the inspiration for the rising to take place. McCullough recalls Clarke as having only one idea in his mind, the freedom of Ireland and that it should be gotten by "physical effort".

In Belfast McCullough is anxious that due recognition is given to F.J. Biggar a Protestant who fostered and supported many nationalist movements and organisations.  

This interview was recorded on 8 March 1965.