Bill Neilan, played by Michael Halsey, is a leader in the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He is opposed to forming a treaty with the British. He has John McGarrigle murdered so that he can trade whiskey for weapons with Nucky Thompson.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Season 2[edit | edit source]
On the estate of an IRA leader Nucky fires a full drum of machinegun ammunition into a grandfather clock as a demonstration of the Thompson. His audience includes Sleater, the owner of the estate, Patrick, Daniel Fitzgerald, Bill Neilan and another IRA leader. The clock is torn apart by the hail of bullets and Nucky tells the impressed onlookers that the gun holds 50 .45 calibre rounds per magazine. He hands the weapon to Sleater who gives it to Neilan. Nucky says that it was known as a “trench broom” in World War I. Neilan gives the weapon to Patrick who says that with a few thousand of the guns they could fight their way to Buckingham Palace. Fitzgerald assumes that Nucky invented the weapon, given their shared surname. Nucky is momentarily discombobulated but dismisses the link as a happy coincidence. Neilan wonders how Nucky got hold of the weapons and Nucky simply says that they are American made and that he is an American. Nucky takes a cigarette from Sleater and Sleater lights it for him. McGarrigle drives onto the estate in a red town car. He gets out and his driver closes the door behind him. Patrick jokes that McGarrigle missed the fireworks and Fitzgerald adds that Nucky easily defeated the clock. McGarrigle observes that nothing stops Fitzgerald’s merriment. Fitzgerald counters that death is long. Neilan asks McGarrigle for his news and McGarrigle reports that the English have offered a truce. Sleater is irritated that this is being considered. McGarrigle adds that Sinn Féin president Eamon de Valera is travelling to London to negotiate terms. Nucky wonders what is on the table and McGarrigle explains that the British are offering a free state. Patrick angrily asserts that a free state is not independence. Their host interjects that Patrick has not yet heard the proposals. Patrick believes they would still be under British dominion and Fitzgerald asserts that it is good enough for de Valera to consider. Patrick reminds the others that they swore to fight to the bitter end and McGarrigle suggests that they may have reached it. Patrick is disbelieving and asks McGarrigle if he really thinks this. McGarrigle says that there is enough blood on the ground for both of their lifetimes. McGarrigle says that he will fight if he must and make peace if it is wise while Neilan shares a sideways glance with Sleater. McGarrigle’s man turns the care around and he gets in. Fitzgerald tells Nucky that McGarrigle’s youngest son was killed while fighting a month ago and then invites Nucky for a drink, saying that he knows a quiet place. Fitzgerald takes them to his distillery and lets them try his whiskey. Later they eat with McGarrigle who turns down Nucky's proposal to trade the guns.
The next day Nucky and Sleater exit the home of their host and he tells them his door is always open. McGarrigle puts a hand to Patrick’s arm and Patrick looks away. Sleater holds the door of the car open for Nucky as McGarrigle says that Nucky is heading back to America. Nucky observes that he is empty handed and McGarrigle says that Nucky will doubtless land on his feet. McGarrigle’s driver stands behind Nucky. Nucky says that he is not so sure. McGarrigle says that he thought all American’s were optimists and Nucky says that Irish Americans are not. McGarrigle laughs and wags his finger at Nucky. Nucky is surprised to find Neilan waiting in the car for him. Neilan invites him to sit, Nucky glances at Sleater who gives a slight nod. McGarrigle asks Neilan to see Nucky safely to the port and Neilan promises to do so. Neilan taps on the door and Sleater pulls away. Nucky glances at Neilan, through the windshield Patrick draws a gun and shoots McGarrigle in the head. He stands over the body and fires again. Neilan is expressionless throughout and then announces that Nucky will deal with him from now on. He offers to exchange 1000 machine guns for 10,000 cases of whiskey. Nucky looks at Sleater and then nods agreement.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
- Owen Sleater: Former IRA member (deceased)
- Nucky Thompson: Political donor, arms dealer
- Patrick: Colleague in IRA
- Daniel Fitzgerald: Colleague in IRA
- Patrick: Colleague in IRA
- Del Grogan: Former IRA member (deceased)
- John McGarrigle: Colleague in IRA (deceased)
- Eamon de Valera: President of Sinn Féin
Memorable Quotes[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
|Season two appearances|
|21||Ourselves Alone||A Dangerous Maid||What Does the Bee Do?|
|Gimcrack & Bunkum||The Age of Reason||Peg of Old||Two Boats and a Lifeguard|
|Battle of the Century||Georgia Peaches||Under God's Power She Flourishes||To the Lost|