The Murder of Inspector John Mills Centenary Commemoration – 10 June 2017

On Saturday 10 June 2017 exactly one hundred years to the day the H.A.R.P. Society organised a centenary prayer and wreath-laying service at the grave of Dublin Metropolitan Police Inspector John Mills in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin. Inspector Mills headstone had been cleaned as a result of joint contributions from the H.A.R.P. Society and his grave had been recently refurbished voluntarily by G.S.R.M.A. members Mick Coleman and Cabal Murphy.


The H.A.R.P. Society Hon. Sec. Mr. Gerry Lovett acted as master of ceremonies, introduced the Garda Catholic Chaplain, Fr. Joe Kennedy, the Church of Ireland Garda Chaplain, Archdeacon David Pierpoint who led the prayers at the graveside. The prayers recited at the centenary commemoration were the same prayers said at Inspector Mills funeral in in 1917. Copies of the prayers and a full descriptive account of Inspector Mills funeral were sent to the extended Mills family after the funeral by Detective Sergeant John Revell (1873-1963) of the ‘G’ or Detective Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

Mr. Gerry Lovett, Fr. Joe Kennedy & Archdeacon David Pierpoint

There was a large attendance at the ceremony, including several relatives of Inspector Mills from several parts of the country. Wreaths were laid by President of the H.A.R.P. Society, Mr. Pat McCarthy and members of the Mills family. There was a minute’s silence followed by the sounding of the last post, performed by Mr. Frank Duff of the Dublin Concert Band. Mr. Leslie Mills, grandnephew of Inspector Mills gave a very eloquent speech about the life of Inspector Mills and in an extraordinary gesture of reconciliation shook hands with Mr. Francis Murray, whose uncle, Fianna Eireann member Edward Joseph Murray’s (1897-1985) actions caused the death of Inspector Mills exactly one hounded years ago.

On 10 June 1917, Cathal Brugha (1874-1922) and Count George Noble Plunkett (1851-1948) led a group of around 2,000 Sinn Féin supporters into Beresford Place, outside the burned-out shell of Liberty Hall, Dublin for a meeting called to protest against the detention and treatment of Easter Rising volunteers in Lewes Jail in East Essex, England. As Cathal Brugha began to address the crowd, DMP Inspector John Mills and a detail of officers approached and declared that the meeting had been proclaimed illegal by the military. Brugha and Plunkett ignored the order and scuffles broke out. The police arrested the two speakers. As Mills was escorting Brugha and Plunket to nearby Store Street Police Station, sections of the crowd tried to break the men free. In the struggle, Inspector Mills was hit over the head from behind by a youth brandishing a hurley, knocking him to the ground. This one blow proved fatal and he later died in the early hours of 11 June 1917 from his wounds in Jervis Street hospital. Inspector Mills assailant made good his escaped through the large crowd, his escape being covered by a companion with an automatic to keep the police at a safe distance; one policeman who was gaining on them in Abbey Street would have been shot only that he fell at the sight of the gun and it jammed.

Police Removing Inspector injured trying to break up Sinn Fein meeting

The admission to the murder of Inspector John Mills came from Edward Joseph Murray in his 1933 application for a military service pension in respect of his service with Fianna Éireann and the IRA for entire periods and parts of periods between 1 April 1916 and 30 September 1923. In his application, he stated he joined Fianna Éireann in 1911, in Dublin. States he was living at Countess Markievicz’s house and was doing confidential work for herself and James Connolly. Reported to James Connolly on Easter Sunday and remained in Liberty Hall all day. Reported to Liberty Hall again the following day and followed some Volunteers and took part in the attack on the Magazine Fort and rejoined the garrison in Jameson Distillery, Marrowbone Lane until the surrender. He was arrested and got out from Richmond barracks after a month. He further stated that he killed a man (Inspector Mills) during a demonstration at Beresford Place in July 1917 and that he had to leave the country, went to Liverpool and then New York. He got in touch with Mellows and Harry Boland in New York. Between 1919 and 1920 he claimed he was working on boats from New York, calling at Dublin, Belfast and Cobh and brought arms and ammunition. Delivered some material to Jack Dunne, Jimmy Fitzgerald and Sean McMahon. Claims he was acting under instructions from Mellows, Boland and Magee. He returned to Ireland in January 1922. Helped Eamon Donnelly in organising work for elections and went to the Minerva Hotel, Parnell Square and moved to Barry’s Hotel. He was arrested on Hill Street. He was arrested and interned in Newbridge from December 1922 to December 1923 after taking part in a hunger strike.


Edward Joseph Murray was born on 24 July 1897 at 40, Cornmarket Street, Dublin, the son of Charles Murray (b.1867), a blacksmith & Mary Kinsella. He had three brothers, Christopher (b.1900), Francis William (b.1901) & Albert (b.1903). The Murray family resided at Dean Street, Dublin in 1901 & the Coome, Wood Quay in 1911. What is extraordinary about the pension application is that it is made on Garda Siochana headed notepaper as Edward Joseph Murray had become a member of the Gárda Síochána on 5 October 1933

and was allocated Garda Registered Number 8453. He was appointed to Dublin Castle on 14 October 1933, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick on 1 November 1934, Longford on 1 February 1935, Garda Headquarters on 1 March 1935 and Glynn, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny on 1 November 1935. He was transferred to the Garda Hospital, Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park in 1944, found to be unsound mind, He became a patient of Grangegorman Mental Hospital on 4 February 1944. A letter dated 25 August 1944 issued from the Office of the General Solicitor for Wards of Court, 16 Molesworth Street, and signed by Patrick J. Ruttledge, Solicitor, addressed to the Department of Defence indicates that a petition had been ordered by the Registrar of Wards of Court to take the claimant’s affairs under the care of the Court. Edward Joseph Murray died, aged 86 years in St. Itas Mental Hospital, Portrane on 19 January 1984 and he was buried in Donabate Cemetery, Co. Dublin on 23 January 1984, in Section B, Grave 114.

Leslie Mills, grandnephew of Inspector Mills on left shaking hands with Francis Murray, nephew of Edward Joseph Murray at Inspector Mills grave on 10 June 2011, exactly one hundred years to the day.

The group is from from left to right, Jim Herlihy, PRO, Harp Society Kevin Myers, journalist, Pat McCarthy, President, Harp Society, Gerry Lovett, Hon Sec. Harp Society and Walter Kilcullen, Committee, Harp Society.

The photograph contains, from L-R:- Mabel Denniston, Richard Denniston, Lesley Denniston, Pat McCarthy, President of the Harp Society, Grace Mills (with wreath), Leslie Mills, Frank Lloyd and his son. The Dennistons and Lloyds are descendants of Maria Mills, sister of John Mills.

Mr. Leslie Mills

Jim Herlihy, Francis Murray & his wife


Photographs – Courtesy of PATRICK HUGH LYNCH