Cavendish, who was married to the niece of W E Gladstone, was the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland and had arrived in Dublin only that day. Burke was the Permanent Undersecretary, the most senior Irish civil servant. The assassination was carried out by members of the Irish National Invincibles, a radical splinter group of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Five men were hanged for the murders and three others sentenced to penal servitude. The political effect was a new round of clampdowns on Nationalist activity, a major setback for Gladstone’s Home Rule aspirations just four days after the optimism generated by the Kilmainham Treaty.