Tom Hales (Irish republican)

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Thomas "Tom" Hales (5 March 1892 – 29 April 1966) was an Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer and politician from West Cork.


Early years and childhood[edit]

Born at Knocknacurra, Ballinadee, near Bandon on a family farm owned by his father, Robert Hales, an activist in the Irish Land War and a reputed member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

Irish War of Independence[edit]

Tom Hales and his brothers, Sean, Bob and William, fought with the IRA in west Cork during the Irish War of Independence. A fifth brother, Donal, settled in Genoa from 1913, was appointed Irish Consular and Commercial Agent for Italy in February 1919. In this capacity he played a leading propaganda role; several letters from Michael Collins to Donal Hales still exist which were used by Hales to promote international awareness of the Irish conflict in Italian publications.[1]

Donal oversaw a failed attempt to import a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition (captured Austrian stock from the World War I) from Genoa in the spring of 1921, through the person of Gabriele D'Annunzio.[2] During the War, Tom was captured by the British Army in Cork and was badly beaten and tortured in an effort to make him disclose the whereabouts of prominent IRA figures, including Collins. He never broke, although his co-accused, Patrick Harte, suffered brain damage and died in hospital insane.[citation needed]

Irish Civil War, against brother[edit]

During the Irish Civil War, Tom and Sean Hales fought on opposite sides. Tom Hales commanded the Flying Column which attacked the Free State Army convoy at Béal na Bláth which resulted in the death of Collins. Shortly thereafter, his brother, Sean, was shot to death under controversial circumstances connected with the Civil War.[3][4]

Fianna Fáil and later politics[edit]

Hales was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for the Cork West constituency at the 1933 general election, but failed to retain his seat as an independent candidate at the 1937 general election.[5] He also unsuccessfully contested the 1944 general election as an independent candidate and the 1948 general election as a candidate for Clann na Poblachta, he got 2,287 (7.93%) votes.[6][7] Hales died in 1966, aged 74.[where?]


  1. ^ Bureau of Military History, WS 292 (Donal Hales), p. 2
  2. ^ Mark Phelan, 'Prophet of the Oppressed Nations: Gabriele D'Annunzio and the Irish Republic, 1919-21', History Ireland, vol. 21, no, 5 (September 2013)
  3. ^ Feehan, John M. "The Shooting of Michael Collins: Murder or Accident?", Cork, Mercier Press, 1981.
  4. ^ Coogan, T.P. Michael Collin, Random House, 1990
  5. ^ "Mr. Thomas Hales". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "13th Dail - Cork South First Preference Votes". 4 February 1948. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  7. ^ "Thomas Hales". Retrieved 9 July 2011. 


  • Peter Hart, The I.R.A.& its enemies, violence and community in Cork 1916-1923, Oxford University Press, (1998), pages 187-201, "The Rise and Fall of a Revolutionary Family".
  • Donal Hales, 'Witness Statement', Bureau of Military History (Dublin)