With preparations already under way for events commemorating next year’s centenary of the Easter Rising, the Longford Leader had planned on utilising its archive from the time as well as making them available to groups working on associated projects.
However, when the 1916 volume was dusted-off at the Leader offices, staff were surprised to find that the editions printed around the time of the Easter Rising had been removed.
Curiously, the issues in question - dated April 22 and 29, and May 6, 1916 - are also absent from the archives of Longford County Library and the National Library. All of this begs the question: what happened to them, and why are they missing from all three sources?
“It’s probably a coincidence, but you do wonder why they’re missing,” said Martin Morris, archivist with Longford County Library. “We’ve only just realised that these editions are missing. What we have is based on what the National Library has, and they don’t have it either.”
Asked if the paper may have stopped printing during the Rising, Mr Morris said this was unlikely.
“There’s no reason why it wouldn’t be printed because there was no trouble in Longford. It would also have been mentioned later when it began printing again.”
Mr Morris did suggest the political persuasion of the paper’s founder and editor at that time, James P Farrell, may have been a reason why the issues in question were not filed.
“JP Farrell was an ardent Home Ruler so the Rising may have been played-down,” he said.
“However, this doesn’t add up either because the paper later mentions the jailing of locals who had been involved.”
Shortly before going to press, the Leader learned that copies do exist in the British Library, but the mystery of their absence from archives and collections closer to home remains unsolved.