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MacEVILLY, Michael. A Splendid Resistance. A Life of IRA Chief of Staff Dr. Andy Cooney. Foreword by Sean O Mahony. Illustrated. Dublin: De Búrca, 2011. pp. xix, 427.

Paperback Edition in coloured illustrated French flaps. €20

Hardback Edition in coloured illustrated dustjacket. €50

Limited Edition of 50 copies in full green morocco gilt, in slipcase. €225

The appointment of Andy (Andrew) Cooney as Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) while still a medical student was the highpoint of a military career which began in 1917 and was not to end until 1944. Prior to this he had served as a Volunteer, GHQ Officer, Brigade Commander and Divisional Commander before being appointed to the IRA General Staff with the rank of Quartermaster-General in 1924 and Chief of Staff in 1925, at which time he was elected as Chairman of the IRA Executive. He was to retain this post until 1927. Afterwards, he remained close to the IRA General Staff until he emigrated to the USA. While in the USA he remained a committed supporter of the Republican movement.

Michael MacEvilly's meticulously researched life of Dr. Andy Cooney sheds valuable light on a chapter of Irish republicanism which has hitherto been seriously neglected. No student of Irish republican history can afford to ignore this book, which is also to be commended for its selection of many hitherto unpublished photographs. - Tim Pat Coogan.

Michael MacEvilly narrates the life story of Andy Cooney in compelling fashion. Readers will be fascinated by the manner in which a young man combined his studies to be a doctor with his duties as an IRA Volunteer from 1917 onwards. In terms of the wider historical narrative of the period, the book, using much original source material, makes an important new contribution. It makes clear the command structure of the IRA, at both a national and local level, during the War of Independence, the Civil War and beyond. The strengths and weaknesses of individuals are also delineated with remarkable clarity. In particular new information is provided on 'Bloody Sunday,' November 1920; the role of the IRB and Michael Collins at the time of the Treaty; and the differences between the IRA and de Valera when Fianna Fail was founded. Above all the book is extremely well researched and eminently readable. - Brian Murphy OSB.

Michael MacEvilly was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He was educated at St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam, Co. Galway and subsequently studied Arts and Commerce at University College, Galway. He worked as an accountant and auditor in his own firm located in Dublin, and had a long association with and interest in the Irish Judo Association and the Olympic Council of Ireland. Irish history and the Irish language were Michael’s major interests. This primarily stemmed from his detailed research of the history of the MacEvilly family, especially their involvement in the War of Independence of which he was particularly proud. Irish republican history was an enduring passion and he became a keen scholar and book-collector on the area. He was an active member of the Committee of the 1916-21 Club and was President from 2000 to 2001. Michael passed away in 2009. He is sadly missed by his family and friends.


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