Joe Mallin SJ, son of Commdt. Michael Mallin, who was executed for his role in the Easter Rising, has been invited to join dignitaries at the commemoration events this Easter. At 92, he is the only surviving child of any of the executed leaders, writes Dermot Roantree.
Fr Joseph Mallin SJ, the last surviving child of an executed 1916 leader, has arrived back in Ireland for the ceremonies to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. He is 92 years old, yet he still holds teaching duties in a Jesuit-run school in Hong Kong, his home since 1948.
Fr. Joseph received an invitation from the Taoiseach’s Office to attend the commemoration, as the child of Commandant Michael Mallin, who was chief-of-staff of the Irish Citizen’s Army and commander of the St. Stephen’s Green garrison during the Easter Rising. Commdt. Mallin was executed in the Stonebreakers’ Yard, Kilmainham Gaol, along with the other leaders of the revolt, and buried in Arbour Hill.
It wasn’t long after Fr Joseph’s plane touched down that he found himself the centre of a great deal of media attention. Gerard Barry interviewed him for the Easter Sunday edition of ‘This Week’ (RTE 1, 1.00pm), and he also spoke to Joe Little for RTE News and to a Sky News correspondent. “I will attend the parade on Easter Sunday, as the Government was good enough to invite me, but what I am most looking forward to is being able to go to the grave of my father in Arbour Hill, with the other families of those executed, for a ceremony in early May,” he said.
Fr. Joseph was born in 1914, just two years before his father was executed, leaving a wife and five small children. One of Fr Joseph’s brothers, Seán, also became a Jesuit priest, and his sister Úna entered the Loreto order in 1925. She was sent to a convent in Spain, where she spent the rest of her life. Commdt. Mallin would have been proud of his children. In his last letter he wrote: : “Úna, my little one, be a nun; Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can …”