The Man Who Lost Ireland
A reconstruction of the secret court martial following Patrick Pearse's
conditional surrender on April 29th, 1916. The documentary focuses on
General St John Maxwell - soldier, Scots Presbyterian and staunch
supporter of the Empire - who was appointed military governor of
Ireland in the immediate aftermath of the 1916 Rising. It is suggested
that Maxwell made a number of crucial errors of judgement and procedure
that ultimately shaped Irish history. The documentary is structured
around eyewitness testimonies, extracts from private papers, and
official government records - particularly statements contained in the
Irish Bureau of Military History released to researchers in March 2003.
A key player in the court martial was William E. Wylie, the man who was
appointed Crown Prosecutor during the trials. This film also asks some
sensitive question - why, for example, was Eamon De Valera spared
execution? Did Countess Markievicz really break down during her trial?
and why did Willie Pearse, alone among those executed, plead guilty to
charges of treason? Contributors include Diarmaid Ferritter, Charles
Townsend, Declan Kiberd, and Garret Fitzgerald.