Father Joseph Mallin SJ (102), the only surviving child of an executed leader of the 1916 Rising, has been honoured with the Freedom of Dublin City. Father Mallin was conferred with the honour by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, at a ceremony in Hong Kong.
Mayor Ní Dhálaigh said: “It is a privilege for me to confer the Freedom on Father Joseph, honouring his long life of work with the people of Hong Kong and Macau”. “I am also acknowledging his family connection to the Easter 1916 Rising as the son of Commandant Michael Mallin,” she continued. “His skills as a priest, a mentor, teacher and giver of grace have made a difference to thousands of lives”.
The Jesuit priest is the son of Commandant Michael Mallin, second-in-command of the Irish Citizen Army under James Connolly, who was executed at Kilmainham Gaol after the Rising. Father Mallin was born in 1914, just two years before his father was executed, leaving a wife and five small children. The night before the execution, Joseph was taken by his mother (then pregnant with her fifth child) to visit Michael in his cell. Though Joseph has no memory of that goodbye, he heeded the plea in his father’s last letter: “Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can.” His brother Sean had preceded him into the Jesuits, and both brothers were assigned to the Hong Kong mission. Joseph’s sister Úna – also urged by her father to go into religious life – entered the Loreto Order in 1925. She was sent to a convent in Spain, where she spent the rest of her life.