May 1915

IRB establish Military Committee

The Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) set up a military council to plan an armed uprising in Ireland. The IRB was a small, secret, revolutionary body (previously known as the Fenian movement), who wanted to establish an independent Irish republic.

The military council was eventually composed of seven members – Thomas Clarke, Sean MacDermott, Patrick Pearse, Éamon Ceannt, Joseph Plunkett, James Connolly, and Thomas MacDonagh. Their plans were kept highly secret.

They chose Easter in 1916 as the date of the uprising, and planned to use the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army. Many members of the IRB had joined the Irish Volunteers in the previous years and they had a controlling majority in the Executive Committee.

The council did not let Eoin MacNeill, the 'leader' of the Irish Volunteers, know about their plans - as MacNeill would not have agreed with the plan of an uprising.

Republicanism, Military & Policing, Easter Rising
Copy of the 1916 Proclamation, showing the co-signatories and members of the military committee.
National Library of Ireland [EPH D131]