Describe, in as much details as you can, the setting of "The Sniper". Is the setting important to the events?
The setting of this story is Ireland, specifically Dublin. O'Flaherty identifies the setting in the second sentence:
Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that shone through fleecy clouds, casting a pale light as of approaching dawn over the streets and the dark waters of the Liffey.
Dublin is an ancient city, but the setting of this particular story is sometime before Irish independence has been gained. Ireland was under the control of the British for hundreds of years. In the 19th and 20th century, violence escalated in the country as the people of Ireland fought for their independence. We can assume that this story is in the 20th century because of the armored car that crosses the bridge.
Not all the people of Ireland wanted to be free. Many citizens were loyal British subjects whose families had lived in Ireland for generations. Therefore, the fight as much a rebellion as a civil war.
This setting is vital to the story. The sniper in fighting for his independence, and he learns at the end of the story that he has been fighting his own brother. O'Flaherty is showing readers the tragedy of the violence that existed, pitting brother against brother.
As a side note, Ireland did win its independence, but a portion of Ireland remained under British control - the northern counties - and violence continued.