Despite being only sixteen years old, Vinny Byrne was a member of ‘E’ Company, 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers. His Battalion were told to mobilise on Easter Sunday at Fr Mathew Park, near Fairview.
On Sunday Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order was printed in the newspapers. Byrne was told that he was to mobilise at the College of Surgeons the next morning.
On Monday morning while making his way along Stephen’s Green Byrne met Lieutenant Shields.
He said to me “Where are you goin’?” I said “I’m goin’ on parade”. He said “go on home”.
Byrne was unaware that a Rising was planned and was extremely upset that the officer would not let him parade. While going home he met Mick Colgan, also ‘E’ Company, who on seeing that Byrne was upset took him along to Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, which had been taken over by Commandant Thomas MacDonagh and his 2nd Battalion.
Vinny Byrne was arrested after the Rising but on account of his age he was released. During the War of Independence he was a member of the Active Service Unit, Dublin Brigade, IRA and ‘The Squad’.
Vinny Byrne was interviewed for the television series 'Ireland A Television History' in 1979.