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Rebel leader Thomas Ashe arrested for inflammatory speech
Thomas Ashe in British custody after the Easter Rising. He was released in July 1917, but has now been re-arrested Photo: National Library of Ireland

Rebel leader Thomas Ashe arrested for inflammatory speech

Dublin, 22 August 1917 - Thomas Ashe has been arrested in Dublin.

He was taken to the Bridewell where he was handed over to the British authorities and is currently being detained in the Garrison Barracks at the Curragh camp.

Ashe’s arrest has been linked to a speech he recently delivered at Ballinalee, Co. Longford.

He had previously been sentenced to death for leading the insurgents in fighting at Ashbourne, Co. Meath during the Easter Rising, but was recently released from prison as part of a general amnesty.

Arrests around the country
Ashe was not alone in being detained. Reports from across the country point to a wave of arrests and trials of Sinn Féin activists.

In Wexford, Henry Leader of Talbot Street was arrested and charged with use of seditious language. At Mountmellick, James Grehan was arrested and transferred to the Curragh where he is being held in an adjoining cell to Thomas Ashe, with no date set for court martial. On Dublin’s O’Connell Street, Mr James O’Sullivan of Arranmore Avenue, North Circular Road, was arrested and taken to the Bridewell Police Station, charged, it is understood, with delivering a seditious speech in Cavan.

In Galway, John Burke of Kinvara appeared before a court martial having been charged with ‘illegal drilling’ on the declaration of the result of the recent East Clare by-election.

Charges associated with ‘unlawful assembly’ have also been levelled against a number of individuals in connection with celebrations of the East Clare result.

Four men who appeared on such charges in Kilkenny were accused of marching in military-style formation and singing national songs around bonfires. 

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.