Born in Cork and educated in Kilkenny, Liam Tobin moved to Dublin in 1912, where he joined the 1st Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers. Tobin was based in the Four Courts during the Easter Rising, taking up positions at barricades on Church Street and Greek Street during the week. Following the surrender, he was placed in Kilmainham Gaol, where he recalled being awoken one night by an officer, who “said, “You have been sentenced to death”…With that he left, brought his soldiers with him, and closed the door. In a matter of minutes, as far as I can remember, he re-opened the door and said, “and the sentence of the court has been commuted to ten years’ penal servitude”. Tobin was interned in Britain until June 1917. He worked in Michael Collins’ intelligence branch during the War of Independence and was involved in the activities of Collins’ “Squad”. He supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty and became a Major-General in the National Army. He continued to work in intelligence, as well as taking part in operations such as the defeat of republican forces in Cork city in August 1922. As a founding member of the Irish Republican Army Organisation, Tobin was a leading instigator in the Army Mutiny of 1924. He was subsequently dismissed from the army and, after establishing the short-lived Clann na nGaedheal political party in 1929, Tobin undertook a variety of roles in his later life, the longest of which was as superintendent of the Oireachtas from 1940 to 1959.
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