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,
Paperback Edition in
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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its selection of many hitherto unpublished photographs.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.