Biography of Collins, Michael (Ó Coileáin, Mícheál) - Archontology
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Collins, Michael (Ó Coileáin, Mícheál)

Mícheál Ó Coileáin = Michael Collins

b. 16 Oct 1890, Woodfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
d. 22 Aug 1922, Béal na mBlátha, near Macroom, Co. Cork

Title: Cathaoirleach an Rialtais Shealadaigh na hÉireann = Chairman of the Provisional Government of Ireland
Term: 16 Jan 1922 - 22 Aug 1922
Chronology: 14 Jan 1922, approved as a member of the Provisional Government, meeting of the members elected to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland convened in accordance with Art. 17 and 18 of the Treaty of 6 Dec 1921, Oak Room, Mansion House, Dublin [1]
16 Jan 1922, elected, meeting of the Provisional Government, Mansion House, Dublin [2]
22 Aug 1922, died (killed in action) [3]

The son of a Cork farmer, Michael Collins attended the Clonakilty National School. At sixteen he went to London as a clerk, first in the Post Office and then with a firm of stockbrokers. Collins joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in London and came to Dublin to fight in the 1916 Rising. He was imprisoned at Frongoch, Merioneth, but was released in December 1916. He became prominent in Sinn Féin and Volunteer movements and was a member of the Supreme Council of the IRB. The general election in 1918 returned Collins as MP for Limerick West and he sat in the first Dáil Éireann when it convened on 21 Jan 1919. Collins was made Minister of Home Affairs (22 Jan 1919 - 2 Apr 1919) and later Minister of Finance (2 Apr 1919 - 9 Jan 1922), also director of organisation and intelligence for the Volunteers. Collins organized the supply of arms and ammunition for the Volunteers and set up an intelligence system. Collins was a member of the delegation that negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 Dec 1921. Under the terms of the treaty, actual ratification on the Irish side was done by the meeting of members "elected for constituencies in Southern Ireland" on 14 Jan 1922 in Dublin. The same day the Parliament set up the Provisional Government to implement the treaty in cooperation with the Dáil Éireann presided by Arthur Griffith. Collins was elected Chairman of the Provisional Government at the first meeting of that body 16 Jan 1922. The formal handing over of power took place in Dublin Castle on 16 Jan 1922, between Collins and Lord Fitzalan, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. After the outbreak of the Civil War in June 1922 Collins became Commander-in-Chief of the government forces. On 22 Aug 1922, at an ambush at Béal na mBlátha, County Cork, he was shot in the head and died almost immediately. Biography source: "A Dictionary of Irish Biography", ed. by Henry Boylan (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1998).

[1] The Irish Times, No. 20,210, 16 Jan 1922, p. 5.
[2] National Archives of Ireland, TSCH/3/1/1/1/1.
[3] The Irish Times, No. 20,397, 24 Aug 1922, pp. 5-6.
Image: photograph, 1922.