Seán Russell - Wikipedia

Seán Russell (1893-1940) was an Irish republican leader who served as Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and as a prominent member of its Army Council. Born in Dublin, he joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and would fight in the Easter Rising as an officer in the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. Serving as IRA director of munitions during the War of Independence, he would fight for the Anti-Treatyites during the Civil War, and endured a forty-one day hunger strike as a result of his eventual imprisonment. Upon his release, Russell worked to reorganise the IRA and was renowned as a military organizer, paying little heed to the internal politics of the IRA and its various divisions within. In 1938, Russell became the IRA Chief of Staff and following a declaration of war on the United Kingdom by the IRA on 12 January 1939, Russell oversaw the S-plan bombing campaign that targeted the civil, economic and military infrastructure of Britain. Following the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, Russell sought relations with Nazi Germany, namely the Abwehr, the German military-intelligence wing, and spent three months in Germany undergoing military training. Russell however would not return to Ireland, falling ill and dying at sea on 14 August 1940, on board a Kriegsmarine U-boat. His collaboration with the Germans is controversial, although little evidence exists to suggest that Russell held any sympathies with Nazi ideology, and he was rather seemingly purely motivated by the hope of obtaining military aid.


Address at Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown (1932)