From Poblacht na h-Éireann, July 2, 1922.
Mountjoy Criminal Prison,
At 9 p.m. to-night 50 prisoners of the Irish Republican Army were brought under heavy escort to Mountjoy Criminal prison. On arrival there they demanded through the Chief of Staff, Comdt-Gen. Joseph McKelvey, that they be treated as prisoners of war. To this demand the officer in charge of the prison garrison troops of the so-called Provisional Government replied that the orders issued him by his superior, Gen O’Duffy, were that no concessions were to be granted – that is – that they would be treated as criminals. Comdt-Gen. McKelvey, speaking on behalf of the Republican prisoners, then stated that they would refuse to enter the cells, and that they would have to be carried there by force.
After further parley, the C/C in charge of the prison garrison, decided not to use force to put into effect his orders. The latest development of the situation is that at the moment of writing, 11 p.m. the orders issued to the C/C of the prisoners are: –
“That the Republican prisoners are to enter the cells without any conditions being agreed to beforehand. Failing acquiesce to these terms the prisoners are to lie on the grass all night with machine guns trained on them. If the prisoners move about or attempt to escape they are to be shot…”
The prisoners have accepted the alternative and many of them are asleep on the grass. The soldiers of the army of the Irish Republic now incarcerated in Mountjoy Prison recgonise only the authority of the Government they fought to establish, and during the last few days they sacrificed all and suffered to maintain it. Here in this spot, sacred to the memory of Kevin Barry and other martyrs of the Republic, they deny the authority of any usurping Government that recognises the right of the British King in Ireland. With this principle clearly defined they are prepared to carry on the fight for the Republic inside the jail.
(Signed) Liam Mellows,
Comdt.-Gen., I.R.A., Camp Adjutant.