Cork Newspapers were “Actors and Reporters” Following the Rising

Pictured (l-r): Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC; student Alan McCarthy from Charleville; and Professor Liam Marnane, Dean of Graduate Studies, UCC at the launch of the fifth volume of The Boolean. Photo: Donagh Glavin
Pictured (l-r): Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC; student Alan McCarthy from Charleville; and Professor Liam Marnane, Dean of Graduate Studies, UCC at the launch of the fifth volume of The Boolean. Photo: Donagh Glavin

By R. Bryan Willits, Editorial Assistant
February / March 2016

An article written by Alan McCarthy, a first-year Ph.D. student in the School of History at University College Cork (UCC), reveals the unique importance of County Cork newspapers following the 1916 Easter Rising and the difficulties they faced under the strict and sometimes violent censorship campaigns of both British forces and the IRA. The article has been published in the fifth volume of The Boolean, an online journal that presents snapshots of postgraduate research at UCC.

The work examines “West Cork’s Southern Star and Skibbereen Eagle, and Cork City institutions, the Cork Examiner and Cork Constitution” all of which “acted as central actors, in conjunction with their role as reporters, in the equally significant battle for hearts and minds.”

McCarthy is keen to inform his readers that censorship in this period wasn’t just about the suppression of nationalist papers under the Crown Forces, but involved the IRA’s vigorous efforts to dismantle the loyalist organs also operating in Cork.

The article demonstrates how “the suppression of newspapers in Cork post-1916 represented a devastating restriction of freedom of speech during a pivotal period in history,” according to a UCC statement about the publication. According to the author, his work aims to “encourage closer engagement with the role of the media in the Irish Revolution and serve as a timely reminder, at a time when we take freedom of information and the freedom to access this information for granted, that editors, reporters, and journalists alike suffered grievous harassment and suppression in order to circulate the news to their respective communities.” ♦

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