JJ "Ginger" O'Connell

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Jeremiah Joseph "Ginger" O'Connell (1887–1944) was a General (later demoted to Colonel) in the Irish Defence Forces.[1]

Born in County Mayo and educated at University College Dublin, he spent the years 1912-1914 in the United States Army.[1]

He returned to Ireland in 1914 and joined the Irish Volunteers, becoming Chief of Inspection in 1915.[1]

At the time the 1916 Rising, O'Connell was operating in Dublin under instruction from Joseph Plunkett;[2] he was dispatched to Cork by Eoin MacNeill to prevent the Easter Rising. He was arrested and interned, spending time in Wandsworth Prison with Arthur Griffith.[3]

During the Irish War of Independence, he was a member of the Irish Republican Army headquarters staff, as Assistant Director of Training and, after the killing of Dick McKee, as Director of Training.[1]

In the IRA split after Dáil Éireann ratified the Anglo-Irish Treaty, he supported the treaty and was made Deputy Chief of Staff in the National Army.[1] On 26 June 1922 he was kidnapped by anti-treaty forces in reprisal for the arrest of an anti-treaty officer; his kidnap was a precipitating factor in the formal outbreak of the Irish Civil War, when government pro-treaty forces attacked anti-treaty forces occupying the Four Courts, two days later.[1] O'Connell survived the fighting and spent the rest of the civil war as General Officer Commanding the Curragh Command.[1]

He held various positions in the Irish defence forces including head of intelligence until his death in 1944, aged 57.[1]

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