Padraig O Caoimh in conversation with Richard Mulcahy in 1964 at 3 Leinster Road, Rathmines, our family home (my edits).
Dick Mulcahy asks my grandfather what he was doing in Sinn Fein ( and the IRB?) up to around 1912.
'We started drilling in a basement and Con Colbert, Lord have mercy on him, drilled us in 1912. Up to 1908 we had meetings with a chairman and there was a collection of a shilling then you see. There was a roll call and "have you any recruits? And if you haven't any recruits, what the hell are you doing? Why don't you get recruits?" And that went on until 1912 and then we started drilling. I attended the meetings. There was Con Collins and Jimmy Mac. They are both dead. We had Sinn Fein then in 11 Lower O'Connell Street and there was still work being done there, people reading papers and gaining recruits and they had no connection with the IRB at all because Griffith was blackballed by the IRB. Dinny McCullough will tell you all that and Cathal O'Shannon. We had Irish classes and Con Collins was teaching a class and Tadhg Scallon, who's alive yet, and one Saturday we were doing the Irish classes and a man by the name of Boland and a man by the name of Jack Rooney, do you know a brother of Willie Rooney's? I knew his brother Paddy, a forester. He cleared to America with Mary Quinn. Jack was a bodymaker in Corrigans in Camden Street, same as his father. At about 5 o clock these two gougers came in and nobody would believe it now but a man who was there and there was a photograph of Willie Rooney, Lord have mercy, a lovely one, and they came in. I wasn't teaching, I was walking around the room doing something else. Rooney took it off and he brought it out to the landing and he hit it down against the banisters and smashed it. "You can take that now, with your kings, lords and commons". The full brother of Willie Rooney took down his photograph off the Sinn Fein walls and smashed it. Mick Foley gave us the room. We paid so much a week for it. That was the start of the split between Griffith and the others. Put that down there, now, that would be 1908 or 1909. So I reported it to Griffith the next time I met him, but he smiled and said nothing. I was young at that time and I didn't know much'.