A NEW documentary by art historian and performer Paddy Cullivan makes the startling claim that Denis ‘Sonny’ O’Neill might not have shot Michael Collins.
From the late 1980s onwards, there was speculation that O’Neill – who was allegedly a trained marksman – was the one who fired the shot that killed Collins.
‘I’m not saying he definitely didn’t,’ Paddy Cullivan told The Southern Star. ‘I’m a bit like Colombo in that I see it as my job to say, “Just one more thing” – like the famous TV detective.
‘I am trying to get to the truth of it because Michael Collins did not have an inquiry into his death. There was no official inquest. We don’t have an official autopsy. And he doesn’t even have a death cert,’ he added.
‘If we are going to try and solve the biggest Irish crime of the twentieth century we need to ensure we don’t unwittingly accuse people.
‘If we are going to accuse Sonny O’Neill of his murder, it is important we have as many details about his life as possible including the nature of Sonny’s wounds and any training he may have received as a marksman and sniper.
‘So far, I haven’t found anything to suggest he was a trained marksman, or sniper. In fact, official records attest that he was in receipt of a war wound pension from 1918 onwards for an injury that left his arm 40% disabled.
‘I am not saying he didn’t do it, but I must question why he is described as having a skillset of which there is no official record.
‘The fact that 30 people were engaged in a firefight and the only fatality was the most important man in Irish history deserves better,’ said Paddy.
The documentary, entitled The Murder of Michael Collins, can be viewed on www.paddycullivan.com.
‘By his very nature, Michael Collins was forensic and would leave no stone unturned and, in tribute to his detail-oriented spirit, we owe him the same,’ said Paddy.