All Roads Lead To Tone


From top: ‘The Death of Wolf Tone’ by Walter Mills (1897); Michael McDowell in last night’s ‘Rome Vs Republic’ documentary on RTÉ 1

‘Our starting point was in Paris. We wanted to challenge the viewer to see the revolutionary era in Europe, beginning in the French capital in 1789 with the Declaration of the Rights of Man, as the starting point of the bloody birth of the modern relationship between the Catholic Church and the Irish state.

Why was this?

Theobald Wolfe Tone, a man of the Enlightenment and one of the leaders of the United Irishmen, had come to Paris in 1796 with a bold and daring plan to create a Republic along French lines…

…This was the decisive moment in church-state relations in Ireland. Both the British Crown and the Catholic church reviled the notion of a republic, and now the threat of revolution reconciled these age-old enemies. The French did land in Ireland but Tone was arrested, court-martialled and sentenced to death. His dream of a republic died with him.’

Niamh Sammon, director of Rome Vs Republic, RTÉ 1.


‘Niamh Sammon’s historic revisionism reaches incredulity when she writes that the British brutally suppressed the Wolfe Tone led rising of 1798 ‘with the support of the Church ‘.

The ’98 rebellion was suppressed brutallly by the forces of the Crown and the Crown alone. Catholics, including celebrated priests like Fr Murphy of Co Wexford, were among the rebel ranks.

It is true that the Church, having witnessed the excesses of the French Revolution, did officially oppose the movement. In this they were prescient as it quickly descended into sectarian strife between Protestant and Catholic rebels, leading to the slaughter with fork and pitch cap of many Catholic supporters. The Act of Union that quickly followed the failed rebellion excluded Catholics from participation in Parliament.’

David Quinn, Iona Institute.

The making of ‘Rome v Republic’: How a senator came to examine church-state relations in Ireland (Niamh Sammon, RTÉ)

Yet another exercise in Church-bashing (David Quinn, Iona Institute)

Pic: RTE

22 thoughts on “All Roads Lead To Tone

    1. missred

      I don’t think he approves of bashing one’s bishop or the sticky end one gets as a result…

  1. Chris

    I was reading the reply to the documentary thinking maybe it was one sided and then I saw the by line was David Quinn and I realised straight away that it was just Catholic propaganda BS.

  2. senbob

    ” the excesses of the French Revolution”

    So fighting for liberty, equality, and fraternity are now excesses?

    1. Yep

      Prob could have gone easy with the mass executions of clergy and those suspected of not being totes behind the cause….tbf.

  3. shitferbrains

    There was a toast in Wexford….three cheers for the United Irishmen and to Hell with Protestants .Protestants were put into barrels and spikes were hammered in before they were rolled down the hill. Then about 200 were burned alive in a barn. Catholics, eh ?

  4. Holden MaGroin

    But they are never heard at the Iona Institute. I mean when will they get a fair hearing?

  5. The Photo Caption Corrector

    That’s not Niamh Sammon in the photo; it’s Prof. Mary Daly, Emeritus Professor of History (UCD) and former President of the RIA.

  6. Duncan Wheeler

    As soon as one sees the source of information is from the Iona institute all credibility goes out the window. Simple religeous bias. Bonkers.

  7. Kevin Higgins

    Nope that is not Niamh Sammon that is Professor Mary Daly President of the Royal Irish Academy and one of three Commissioners of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes

  8. Kevin Higgins

    Nope that is not Niamh Sammon that is Professor Mary Daly President of the Royal Irish Academy and one of three Commissioners of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes -ah I see you’ve changed it !

  9. newsjustin

    Ah yes. The French Republic. Where there have been dozens of attacks on Catholic churches in the first few months of this year. A secular masterpiece clearly.

    I saw most of the documentary last night and found a lot of it quite interesting. But it got a bit ropey when they rolled out McAleese, McGarry and O’Gorgan for their views…..such brave, rarely heard voices on the Church….lol. Icing on the cake would have been Fr Brian D’Arcy and Fr Josepha Madigan. Seriously though, it lacked a few actual, orthodox Catholic voices (and no, The Archbishop of Dublin doesn’t count). Finally, in a documentary on the church there was no mention of the seismic impacts of Vatican 2. That’s a clear gap.

      1. newsjustin

        Yeah. Decent look at Cullen and McQuaid. Maybe it should have been a 3 parter or something.

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