The last surviving son of the 1916 Easter Rising leaders, Father Joseph Mallin, son of Michael Mallin, turns 102 today.
"As we enter the run up to the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising we must remember that the families of the volunteers should be central to all commemoration and celebrations," said Senator Mark Daly, a member of the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations.
Michael Mallin was second in command of the Irish Citizen Army under James Connolly and one of the fifteen leaders executed at Kilmainham Gaol after the Rising.
Father Joseph Mallin was just two years old when his mother took him and his siblings to the jail to see their father for the last time.
Just hours before his execution Michael Mallin wrote a letter to his family with his hopes and wishes for their futures. In it, he said: “Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can.”
Joseph Mallin became a priest and has spent over sixty years as a Jesuit missionary in China, working at the Wah Yan College – a Roman Catholic secondary school for boys run by the Society of Jesus.
Watch Joseph Mallin in this video as he reads the letter from his father aloud and also recalls watching Michael Collins march down a ruined O’Connell Street:
“My father I think was rather quiet, but very thoughtful about the political things and the state Ireland was in, and he was determined to do something about it for the good of the people – the good of the country,” he said. “He would follow what he thought was right and just, no matter what the consequences were.”