A HURLING MATCH AT KNOCKNAGREE

Many thanks to Aideen Carroll for sending in this article,

A HURLING MATCH AT  KNOCKNAGREE

In  the years leading up to the War of Independence,  Knocknagree was a thriving village on the edge of Sliabh Luachra  boasting over a dozen pubs, 14 grocers, a  draper, bootmaker, blacksmith and  baker.   There was a Post Office, an R.I.C. station and a  monthly fair and market serving a number of parishes in this part of North West Cork  near the Kerry border. The village also had a fine tradition of poetry and music going back to 1783 when the poet and genius Eoin Rua Ó Súilleabháin set up a short lived  hedge school at the  cross-roads.  We might be disposed to believe that another man of this parish, Ned Buckley, was influenced by  the teachings of Eoin Rua as  passed down to him by his own people.  Ned’s  finely crafted lampoons on the political shibboleths of the post civil war era became  known  the length and breath of north Cork and Kerry.

In October 1920, the RIC barracks at Knocknagree was evacuated due to the escalating violence against the Constabulary.   Its location was vulnerable to attack as the Volunteers  pursued every opportunity to capture guns and burn out isolated barracks.   Across the region, winter progressed in a downward spiral of violence.   The villagers read about the  burning of  Cork city on December 10th which   was  described  in the papers  as a  truly staggering reprisal.   The British Cabinet introduced Martial Law  in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary and  the heavy hand of the Army was evident in every dwelling where the householder was obliged to pin a list of  occupants on their front door.  The curfew was another strategy  employed by the Crown to  tighten its grip on the Nationalists.  In the area around Kanturk, curfew was strictly  enforced  and anyone found outside was ‘invited’  to either march all night with the  patrol  or spend 12 hours  in the barracks lockup.  As the violence intensified, Martial Law was extended throughout Munster;  many districts were proclaimed and  the suppression of monthly  fairs and markets  affected both the local farmers and the economy at large.  Nevertheless, in the early months of 1921, while the sale of livestock  was troublesome to say the least, normal life continued for the villagers of Knocknagree, at least  during daylight hours.  Nothing  could have prepared the parish  for the tragedy  and sadness that engulfed the community on 6th of February 1921.

There was a whiff of spring on Sunday morning  as the locals and farming families from the surrounding hinterland made their way to the Church of Christ the King for 11 o’clock Mass. Spilling into the 100 year old church the most devout parishioners wearing their Sunday best  filled the front pews. The latecomers shuffled at the back holding their caps.  After Mass, neighbours lingered and gossiped at the church wall.  The recent Tureengariffe ambush and the  military reprisals at Kingwilliamstown (now Ballydesmond) were  the subject of much discussion.   Some of the men continued the debate  over a bottle of stout down the village.  Families in their pony and traps departed for home to prepare the Sunday dinner and the young hurlers readied themselves for the match in Cronin’s field.

The following account by a local man, Diarmuid Moynihan, written to the Minister for Lands Seán Moylan in March 1947, describes the unfolding events as they occurred that afternoon.  Tragically, a 17 year old youth was killed, the only son of a widower.  Two other boys aged 12 and 13 were wounded, one of them seriously.

“The afternoon was bright and sunny.  About 40 boys and youths from the neighbouring townlands of Knocknagree and Nohoval assembled to play a challenge hurling match in Mr. Sylvester Cronin’s field at Knocknagree.  The field is north of Mr. Cronin’s dwelling house, one field removed from the Gneeveguilla-Knocknagree road and a similar distance from the Knocknagree-Rathmore Road.  A small number of adults were with the boys while in the village at the ‘Cross’, the usual Sunday afternoon group of loiterers assembled.

Rumours had been afloat earlier in the day that a  military patrol was in Gneeveguilla approximately three miles west, but as the Crown Forces had been paying particular attention to the said area for some time previous to this, the people of Knocknagree did not anticipate a visit.  Only when the patrol was sighted at Lisheen, 1 1/4 miles west of the village did some of the men at the ‘Cross’  bestir themselves.  Some few of the men rushed towards the playing field probably with the intention of warning the youths there, some few others dallied at the ‘Cross’ through sheer curiosity  until the patrol swept towards the village.  The boys in the field were warned of the approach of the military but as this was the first occasion that a military patrol or convoy visited the area, the children did not appreciate the danger.  With men moving from the ‘Cross’ to the field and others who had dallied rushing for the shelter of houses while the youths clustered around the playing pitch, the military careered into the village.  Two bursts of machine gunfire directed towards the youths was the taste of what was to be a terrifying and tragic evening.
The youths rushed southwards but by this time three lorries had drawn up on the public road to the east and the military advanced towards the field, while another section advanced from the North.  Some of the youths made their escape south westwards as also did all the men, but a goodly part of the group of boys threw themselves near fences or in hollows and cart tracks in the field.
Volley after volley was poured into the pitch and in the direction of the others escaping.  After some   10 or 12 minutes, Michael John Herlihy who was lying prone in the field was hit.  A little comrade (Johnny Cronin)  saw the blood, immediately jumped to his feet and raised his hands. The military fire on the field ceased but some further shots were fired after those who had made their escape.
The boys were rounded up and only then was it discovered that Michael John Kelliher was dead.  He had been shot through the left side, the bullet entering the heart as he tried to pass through a gap in the fence on the southern side of the field.  Donal J. Herlihy did not know he had been wounded until he tried to rise from the ground.   The wounded boys received attention from the military in the field.  Their uncle Michael Herlihy who came on the scene, soundly abused the officer in charge for his dastardly act.  The officer who intended taking the wounded boys to Killarney eventually handed them over to their uncle.  Donal was nursed back to health in the uncle’s house while his brother Michael was accommodated in the one-time RIC barracks owned by his father in the village.  The Barracks had been evacuated in October 1920.
The clothing was removed from young Kelliher’s body, it was wrapped in a military blanket and removed to the Rathmore R.I.C. Barracks.  The Sergeant in charge there refused as he said ‘to handle the dirty work of the military’.
A search of houses in the neighbourhood of the village was made before the patrol left with the youth’s dead body and two men, James O’Connell and Con Mahony who were in Mr. S. Cronin’s house.  They were taken to Killarney and held for one month.

Eventually the patrol returned to Knocknagree where the body was handed over to the boy’s widower-father.

Various rumours and whisperings were afloat in the village after the sad occurrence.
It was said that one of the boys in the field pointed a hurley, rifle fashion, at the lorries as they sped into the village from the Gneeveguilla area.  This has not been confirmed.  It should be noted that the road at that point, north of the playing field, is very much higher than the field so that the military had a full view of the boys and adults.  It was also suggested that the men at the ‘Cross’ rushed in the direction of the playing field.  It would appear that this is true and the silly action of those guilty gave the military an opportunity of opening fire.  It was also said that those who lingered at the ‘Cross’ ran when called upon to ‘Halt’.  Those at the ‘Cross’ did run, but as far as I can glean, they had done so before the military arrived or sighted them.  There was no such thing as an order to ‘Halt’

It is well to note too that Banard Height, 1 3/4 miles west of Knocknagree affords a clear view of Knocknagree and its surroundings.  The military undoubtedly saw those boys with hurleys in that field a long time before they moved towards Knocknagree.  Whether they mistook the hurleys for rifles is a conjecture but judging by the speed with which they surrounded the grounds on the North and East, they must have given some study to their maps beforehand and came prepared to terrorise the village.’

Diarmuid Moynihan’s account of this chilling incident  belies the Official Military H.Q. Report which appeared in the Irish Independent on February 8/1921 stating:  ‘A military patrol saw a body of armed civilians in a field near Knocknagree.  Fire was opened and replied to resulting in the death of one youth and the wounding of two others.’   In another section of the same issue, the names and ages of the boys were given with a report that ‘The Crown Forces entered the village in the afternoon and shouted to some men who were at the corner of the street to ‘Halt’.  The young men immediately stampeded round the corner, whereupon machine gunfire was opened from the lorry.’

In a letter to the Irish Independent  published the following Saturday,  J.J. Herlihy,  an outraged  cousin of the boys  stoutly contradicted  the Military Report.

There was no ambush he wrote,  ‘nor was there the remotest attempt to carry out one in the district.  Neither was there the slighted preparation for nor anticipation of  such a thing.  Not a single shot was fired by a civilian.  There was no interference whatever with the Crown forces and they were subject to no provocation in any shape or form’.  He  went on to describe what happened in the village and at the game itself where a small number of  supporters were watching the match.  Hearing the rifle fire at the ‘Cross’  they ran into the fields whereupon the soldiers mounted a machine-gun and trained it in the direction of the fleeing men.  Children aged between 7 and 14  ‘ran towards the fences for safety, some stood as if paralysed,  others with their arms over their heads.’

The 6th Division Record of the Rebellion which carefully logged all  engagements during this period,  makes no mention of  the shootings at Knocknagree.  The only humanity demonstrated during the sad debacle was  the efforts of the military doctor accompanying the convoy  who administered  first aid to the Herlihy boys.   His dismay at the shooting of  the children and young Kelliher  must have communicated itself  to his superiors.  The following day, the military  revisited the village to convey their sympathy to the  bereaved and traumatised parents.

The aftermath

Donal J. Herlihy, aged 12 was  shot through the right lung and seriously wounded.
Michael John Herlihy, aged 13, was shot through the thigh.
The  wounded children were the sons of  John and Catherine. Herlihy,  National Teachers of  Farrankeal, Knocknagree.  Both made a full recovery  under the care of Prof. John Dundon  from Cork and  the local G.P.  Dr. Collins from Rathmore who provided constant  medical attention during those critical weeks.

Michael John Kelliher, aged 17, was the only son of Michael Kelliher, carpenter, Knocknagree, Co. Cork.  The  1911 Census record for this family shows 13 children born to Michael and Mary Anne Kelliher. Seven children survived, a boy and six girls.  

In the days following the shooting, the community stood united with the Kelliher family in  a show of sympathy and solidarity.  They attended the wake, funeral  and burial of this young man.  Standing at the graveside, his elderly  father and  his grief stricken  sisters  were inconsolable. The arbitrary violence inflicted on this quiet village in north west Cork was one of many such outrages during a bloody and bitter conflict which  saw the moral authority of  the Crown seep into the bogs  and British rule in Ireland disintegrate.

© Aideen Carroll, 2011

William Crowley, of Kilmihil, Co. Clare. Hunger Striker

Trying to find info on my grandfather, William Crowley, of Kilmihil, Co. Clare.  He was involved and did a 29-day huger strike after capture sometime after 1920?  He was deported to the US in 1926 or 1927.  Any information would be grand.

Michael Collins drawings and paintings

Hi,my name is Cathy Twomey and this time last year i undertook a commission,from the Michael Collins museum Clonakilty,   to paint the ambush of Michael Collins,in preparation i did some drawings and thought you might like to take a look.the photo i have sent of the ambush at that stage only has the outline of Collins falling ,and so looks incomplete.on the day of delivery in my haste i neglected to take a final photo!,the launch is this June at the Collins centre so i will be sure and take one then.i am currently collecting information for my next piece,another of Collins for which there are no photographs,its my fascination to recreate stories based on fact.my other work can be viewed on www.newirishart.com.thanking you,Cathy Twomey

Countess Markiewicz

Countess Markiewicz was born as Constance Gore-Booth in 1868 in London. Her father had an estate at Lissadell in the north of County Sligo, Ireland; the children grew up there and Constance and her sister Eva were childhood friends of WB Yeats whose artistic and political ideas were a strong influence on them. Constance went to study art at the Slade School of Art in London, she became politically active and joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

Countess Markiewicz, founder of Fianna eireann

She moved to Paris, marrying Count Kazimierz Dunin-Markiewicz, a Ukranian aristocrat. The couple settled in Dublin where Constance established herself as a landscape painter and helped found the United Artists Club. Socialising in artistic and literary circles, she met and became influenced by revolutionary patriots. In 1908 she joined Sinn Fein and the revolutionary women’s movement, Inghinidhe na hEireann; she also began to perform in plays at the Abbey Theatre.

In 1909, she founded Fianna-Eireann, an organisation that instructed boys in military tactics and the in the use of firearms. She joined James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, designing their uniform and composing their anthem. During the 1916 Rising, she was second in command to Michael Mallin in St. Stephen’s Green. Under sniper fire from the surrounding buildings, including the Shelbourne Hotel, they retreated to the Royal College of Surgeons. When the leaders of the Rising surrendered, she was arrested, incarcerated in Kilmainham Gaol, she was sentenced to death but the sentence was later commuted to a life sentence.

Under the general amnesty she was released in 1917 and in 1918 she ran in the general election becoming the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, however in line with Sinn Fein policy, she refused to take her seat. She later served as Minister for Labour in the Irish cabinet becoming the first female cabinet minister in Europe. She left government in 1922, opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty, fighting actively for the Republican cause during the Civil War. She again won election to government in the 1923 and 1927 general elections. She died in 1927 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland.

Article source: Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net

http://theirishwar.com/

British Military Operations in Ireland-House of Commons Debate June 1921

Courtesy hansard.millbanksystems
1 June 1921 → Commons Sitting → ORDERS OF THE DAY.
MILITARY OPERATIONS, IRELAND.
HC Deb 01 June 1921 vol 142 cc1153-98 1153
Major-General SEELY I beg to move, “That this House do now adjourn.”
I move the Adjournment of the House to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the failure of His Majesty’s Government to issue orders prohibiting the destruction of houses or buildings in Ireland except where necessary on purely military grounds, and the urgent necessity for putting a stop to such actions as the burning of Tincurry House, County Tipperary, on 15th May, The issue which I put to the House to-night is quite clear and definite, and has not been discussed by the House before. As will be seen, we raise here no question of the conduct of troops. There is no allegation here that the Regular troops, Auxiliaries or police have acted with lack of discipline. On the contrary, as will be seen from the concrete case which I shall put before the House, the troops throughout acted strictly in accordance with orders, and if I may use the phrase of so lamentable an occurrence, in an entirely proper manner. We raise two issues to-night. I can conceive that when the case is put, the great majority will support the view we express. We say, first, that His Majesty’s 1154 Government have failed to issue orders in accordance with the general principles laid down by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary in various answers to questions and various speeches in this House, namely, that there shall be no destruction of the homes of the people except on purely military grounds—that is to say, either when a house is used as cover for an ambush, or when the residents of the house may reasonably be supposed to be participators in the outrages which we so much deplore. Although that is the policy of my right hon. Friend, he does not see his way to issue definite orders to that effect, and one can gather from certain answers he has given that the view taken is that this must be left to the military authorities in a martial law area. That is the first point we definitely challenge. On a matter of high policy—there can be no higher policy than this—the Chief Secretary must be supreme, and so long as this House supports him his will in matters of high policy like this must be law.
The second point we challenge is the actual method adopted, namely, the destruction of people’s homes, presumably by way of reprisal, but in the absence of the incriminating reasons to which I have referred. As to the responsibility of the Chief Secretary to this House and his bounden duty to see that his policy and not the policy of anyone else is carried out, everyone here who cares for our method of constitutional government will 1155 be disposed to agree that the last word must rest with the Chief Secretary responsible to this House. He cannot shelter himself, and I trust he will not shelter himself, behind the supposed necessity of listening to the advice of anyone, whether soldier, policeman, or civilian in Ireland, who wishes to pursue a different policy. The second point is that we challenge the policy of the burning of people’s homes except for purely military necessities. The phrase I have used is, I think, a fair transcript of the policy of my right hon. Friend, as I understand it. It means that homes are to be destroyed only where a house is used as cover for an ambush or where the residents may reasonably be supposed to be parties to an outrage. The hon. and gallant Member opposite (Lieut.-Colonel Guinness), who, I under-stand, will second this Motion, holds the view that instead of “or” we should say “and” in the Motion. It will no doubt be urged that constantly the houses of loyalists will be destroyed because they will be deliberately used by our enemies as fortresses from which to fire, with a view to the houses being burnt down. My hon. and gallant Friend will develop that case. I will come to the concrete case on which I rest this Motion.
There is resident in Derbyshire a man whom I know very well and whom everyone knows, a Dr. Tobin, who has been a magistrate for about 20 years, who is universally respected, and who, for more years than I care to count, has been the foremost medical man in the central part of Derbyshire. I say all this to show that such a man may be reasonably supposed, and certainly supposed, to tell one nothing but the truth. I will read to the House his account of what took place, and as will be seen it is only one of many similar occurrences on the same day. I know the House will be shocked. This Dr. Tobin is the brother of a man who lived in Tincurry House. His brother is now dead and there remain the widow and a young daughter of 13 years. There were two nephews living there before the War. They both joined up as loyal subjects soon after the outbreak of war. One, a lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps, was shot down in an aerial combat at Ypres; the other, an officer in the Royal Navy, was drowned in the operations at Gallipoli, while serving with His Majesty’s Ship “Triumph.” There were in the 1156 house at the time of the occurrence I shall describe, only Dr. Tobin’s sister-in-law and her little daughter. Two other children were at school. This is what happened. Dr. Tobin writes: Our old house and home in Ireland was blown up by the military on Saturday last, the 14th May, 1921—Tincurry House, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. It was an old country house, pre-Cromwellian, with additions and alterations from time to time. You can see it marked on any of the old ordnance maps. It was in occupation of my brother’s widow and her youngest daughter, 13 years of age. My brother died about 3 years ago. My brother’s two other children, 15 and 16½ years of age respectively, are away at school, one, a girl, in England, and the boy, 15 years of age, in Dublin. They, of course, go to the old home for school holidays only. No occupants of the house except the widow, Mrs. Marion Tobin, and her daughter, Eva, 13 years of age, and the servants. The widow writes me that on Saturday last the military arrived and gave her an hour’s notice to clear out her family, that the house was to be demolished. No furniture to be removed, only sufficient clothing, etc. No reasons given—nothing incriminating found, nor ever had been, though the house and plate had been searched and raided a dozen times or more night and day during the last 12 months or so. Before placing the bombs the house and all its rooms were thoroughly searched, and every article of furniture was smashed with picks and hatchets. The beds and bedroom furniture, as well as all the old mahogany chests, were all broken into matchwood. The new bathroom and bath and its basins, etc., were broken to bits. In fact, everything in the house upstairs and down was broken with picks and hatchets, so that nothing could possibly be saved or restored. Having thoroughly completed this wreckage, then the bombs were placed in the principal rooms and fired, and the dear old house and home blown to the four winds of heaven. Meanwhile, the widow and her little daughter, Eva Tobin, stood on the lawn as grim witnesses, carefully surrounded by the armed forces of the Crown. Incidentally this was also the home of my two nephews, who were killed in France and Gallipoli during the Great War. It seems that on the same day, 14th May, 11 other houses were demolished in the same beautiful valley of the Galtees, but none of them was as old or as big as Tincurry House—not that such a comparison is of the least consequence. In fact, it only goes to show how cruelly impartial and haphazard military reprisals are in Ireland. Then he proceeds to refer to the demeanour of the troops. He says they said it was a shame to treat the widow and the child in such a manner, and he goes on to say that when the deed was done the soldiers were exhausted for want of food and begged the widow to give them some, which she did. She and her 1157 servants made tea for them in the kitchen, and gave them a good feed. The house of this poor lady and her little daughter was deprived of its furniture and its contents, these were smashed and it was then blown up. It cannot be alleged that this lady or her daughter were participants in any outrage. It would seem unlikely that the home of two officers who fell fighting for us in the Great War would be the home of participants in outrages. It could not be used for the purposes of an ambush on the roadside, because I understand it is not on the road. What reason can be given for this action I do not know, but whatever reason may be given, I ask this House to say that such proceedings as these are wrong.
On the general question of these formal reprisals, I do ask the House to say that they wish to put an end definitely to this kind of thing. Whatever anybody else may say, this House should say: “This thing must stop,” and for more than one reason. The first reason, and the lower reason, is that it is so idle and inexpedient. It is very obvious that those on what may be called the loyal side of this matter, offer an incomparably bigger target. From the lower point of view it is foolish to take such steps as this, because brutal crimes have been committed, when the other side can burn down houses which are of so much more value—except, of course, from the sentimental point of view, to those immediately concerned. It is foolish for another and more important reason. Everybody must have been shocked this morning—and as one occupying an official position in Hampshire and having a close association with Hampshire, I was particularly shocked—at the news of the frightful crime by which the Hampshire Regiment, marching peace-fully along the road with its band, was blown up, and unfortunate bandsmen, some of them only little boys, blown to bits and many wounded. These are dreadful crimes which we reprobate, and to stop which we will help in every possible way. But are these crimes not made easier, instead of more difficult, by this kind of thing? In the first place, you must set more and more of the in-habitants against you by such procedure. The people, in what is here called the beautiful valley of the Galtees—and it 1158 is a most beautiful valley—may not have been all of one political view, but the great majority must have been on our side in reprobating murder. One can well imagine the bitterness of seeing one’s home destroyed, and by doing such acts you turn many of these people from being supporters of law and order, whatever their political views may be, towards the other side. Furthermore, and this is a view that will be shared in by many experienced soldiers, while troops are engaged on acts of this kind, they are necessarily withdrawn from their real duty, which should be to try to track down the assassin by every means known to the skilful and resourceful soldier. There is another aspect of this. Who is it orders these reprisals?
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS Not this House, anyway.
Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK Who ordered the torture of the prisoners the other day?
Major-General SEELY I should be glad if hon. Members would stick to this one point of who orders such reprisals as this. Other questions are contentious. I have taken the opposite side to many of my hon. Friends on the question of the behaviour of the troops, but this particular question I believe is one on which Members of the House on both sides will be of one mind. I repeat the question: Who orders these reprisals? There are two authorities and I know they do not pursue identical policies. I know in matters of this kind one favours one way and the other favours another. One commands the troops and the other commands the police. There is no proper co-ordination between them. Unless my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary boldly says what is the policy to be carried out, he shall merely be regarded as the servant of both of these in carrying out this detestable policy at the behest of one of them or some other policy at the behest of the other. We want this question of authority made defintely plain if we are to avoid disastrous effects. We want one supreme civilian head, responsible to this House, and under him we want a man who will loyally obey his orders and who will be himself supreme over others. We want to know by whom different policies are authorised in the same area with these deplorable consequences. It may be said 1159 by somebody that while the destruction of property is very sad, it is nothing compared with the destruction of life. That is not quite true. It is a strange thing, but it is true that there are many people who love their homes even better than their lives, and when you seek to destroy people’s homes you cut deep down into vital things in human thought with consequences more far-reaching than you can deal with. I can prove this to the House from my own experience. This same policy was adopted for a brief period during the South African War. I happened to be there at the time when the farm-burning policy began. It lasted a very short time, for the almost unanimous opinion of all thoughtful soldiers, and certainly of the soldiers at the front condemned it, and it was abandoned.
§Colonel P. WILLIAMS And the present Prime Minister helped to kill it.
Major-General SEELY While it was going on, I happened to be there and with many others of the officers and men protested against it. We were more anxious than anybody to defeat our enemies if only for the sordid reason of getting home. But when in the course of an attack on a commando we burned down a house, and it was supposed that we were burning down the house of the man we were attacking, he, as a matter of fact, was very likely some determined free-booter from Cape Colony and probably nobody laughed more then he did when he saw the house go up to the sky, well knowing that probably it belonged to a sympathiser with our cause. The same thing is happening in Ireland. Do you suppose these brutal assassins who blew up the Hampshire Regiment cared one scrap for the burning of Tincurry House, the residence of these two officers who were killed on our side in the War? No; but I am quite sure they will go to Mrs. Tobin. I have no doubt they have gone to her and said to her, “You see what comes of being on the English side. You allowed your men protectors to go off to the War. You are proud that one should be an officer in the British Navy and the other an officer in the British Flying Corps, and they both get killed in fighting for their cause. What do you get for it? They come and burn your house down and blow your 400-years-old house to smithereens.” It is a foolish policy. The 1160 soldiers in South Africa protested against such a policy, but when that war was over, and when the task of reconciliation began, when all those who had been most bitter against each other were trying to come to an agreement, when great men like General Botha and Lord Milner were trying to repair the ravages of the war and bring back the South African Dutch to friendship with us, and to form, as we ultimately did, a South African Union under the British flag, what was the principal difficulty? General Botha told me himself, in the presence of my Liberal colleague of that day—and I have no doubt he must have told Conservative ex-Cabinet Ministers; in fact, I know he did—he said to me, “My chief difficulty in bringing about reconciliation, the difficulty that met me at every turn, the difficulty that at all stages and even at the very last nearly wrecked the scheme, was the bitterness of the men whose houses had been burned.”
Is not that a lesson for us here? Ought we not now at once to say from this House that this foolish and wrong policy of destroying people’s homes that they love for any reason short of the direst necessity shall be put a stop to? We hear a great deal of the hostility even now to an approach to better things in Ireland. I know there are forces at work, unexpected forces, which may bring about a reconciliation between what are after all two very brave and determined nations. Surely the first and the best step we can take, if there be any chance of reconciliation, is to say now, as from this House of Commons, and with the support of my right hon. Friend, “We will take charge of this; whatever else may be done, whatever it may be necessary to do, to track down assassins and prevent brutal murders and outrages which we all deplore, we will respect the homes of the Irish people and thus give an earnest of our intentions, that one day we may be reconciled with Ireland.”
Lieut.-Colonel W. GUINNESS I beg to second the Motion. I think everyone who has the interests of Ireland at heart must be grateful to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for having brought this matter forward in the very temperate speech to which we have just listened, and if as a result of this Debate he can get some improvement in the military administration and greater wisdom in the 1161 action that the military authorities are now taking, I think he will be able to congratulate himself on having done work of enormous benefit to both countries. My hon. Friends and I have long urged that the suicidal contest of authority in Ireland between the civil and military powers should come to an end, and I listened to no part of the right hon. Gentleman’s speech with greater pleasure than to the words which he said on that matter and in favour of the whole of the responsibility for operations against the rebels in Ireland being put under one military guidance, but I am not going to elaborate that question now, because our views are very well known already. I want rather to deal with the smaller question of the burnings which have been taking place all over Ireland, and for which both sides are responsible. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that burnings might be right during military operations and where the owner or the occupant of the house might be reasonably suspected of being in sympathy with Sinn Fein—I am not quite sure of his exact words.
§Major-General SEELY Participators in outrages.
Lieut. – Colonel GUINNESS While there is no doubt that if a house is being occupied by people ambushing the troops of the Crown, the troops must be allowed to destroy that house if necessary during the action, I do not agree with the view that once the action is over the troops should be allowed to destroy even a house from which they have been fired at. If the action is finished there is no reason to have recourse to these violent methods. If there is just suspicion against the owner or occupier of the house, why not bring him before a court-martial and deal with him after hearing his case? If you do not discourage the troops from burning down houses after an action is over, you play into the hands of the Sinn Fein habit of selecting loyalist houses, the houses of men whom they are fighting, taking them aside and threatening them with violence if they make the slightest attempt to communicate with the Crown forces, knowing that by choosing such a house they are going a good way to work to get it destroyed by the friends of those who own it. I cannot give chapter and verse for that kind of case, but I can 1162 say that I have been told by officers in the Auxiliary Division that that is what happens, and they themselves, though they admit that in some cases it is necessary to destroy a house during the fighting, do not agree with the policy of burning a house down afterwards as a lesson to the population.
Now I come to the other case, where the right hon. Gentleman had, I think, the whole House with him, and that is where the house is burned down on the orders of the competent military authority in vengeance for some outrage upon the Crown forces. I think that is not only unjust, but most ineffective. It is absolutely repugnant, to anyone who is familiar with the conditions of British justice, that anyone should be punished unheard. The burning of property in this way is a very serious penalty, and, however anxious those who advise the competent military authority may be to select the right houses, it is inevitable that there must be mistakes. There is so much terrorism in Ireland to-day that I defy anybody to know which way the man who does not take an active part in politics on one side or the other really sympathises with. He dare not express his opinions, and how are the police, or whoever advise the competent military authority as to which houses are suitable to be burned down, to gauge the criminality of the owner? Of course, the military authorities probably take the line that this is a sound military method. I do not believe it is. As any soldier knew in the last War, it needs no military knowledge to inflict damage on the enemy if you do not care about the cost. A soldier must count the cost of his operation, and this particular government in Ireland is costing far more to your friends than it is to your enemies, and for that reason it seems to me absolutely suicidal. I do not think I can do better than read a letter which I got from a very well-known loyalist in the County of Cork: Can you do nothing to get the authorised military reprisals stopped? They are doing no good, and an infinity of harm; e.g., last Saturday night ‘Convamore,’ Lord Listowel’s house; ‘Ballywalter,’ Mr. Penrose Welsted’s, and ‘Rockmills,’ Mr. C. D. Oliver’s, all within a few miles of Castletownroche, in the Fermoy Military District, were burnt, I understand, as a counter-reprisal to the burning by the military of Sinn Fein houses in the neighbourhood. The Sinn Feiners have said so. The soldiers burn a cottage worth, perhaps, £300, and the Sinn 1163 Feiners retaliate by burning a house worth £50,000. I do not think £100,000 would pay for ‘Convamore’ and its contents. If the military reprisals go on, there will soon be no loyalists’ house left. The authorities do not appear to understand the state of the country even now. Soldiers expect country people to help them to bring criminals to justice. Under present conditions, this is too stupid. Everyone is terrorised. The Government can protect no one. If a man is even suspected of having given any information to the police, he is shot by the Sinn Feiners and labelled ‘spy.’ He adds as a postscript: I see that Listowel has applied for £150,000 compensation, and that a military proclamation has been posted about Fermoy that if the burning of loyalists’ houses is repeated, more than two Sinn Feiners’ houses for each will be destroyed. What is the good of destroying two houses, worth £300 apiece, which perhaps belong to a loyalist landlord, as vengeance for burning down a house worth £100,000? My friend adds: This will be regarded as mere bluff, which it is, and do more harm than good. I think it is mere bluff, because the other side in this matter hold the bigger cards. They can burn down houses which this House has to pay for, or else see the owner put to permanent loss, and the burning down of Sinn Feiners’ houses really inflicts no proportionate penalty upon the other side. There is another case which happened last week. Mr. Ebenezer Pike, of Kilcrenagh, County Cork, was on Thursday midnight awakened by people knocking up the house, and men came in and said he could have a quarter of an hour to clear out and take anything he liked. He is an old man. He was living with his daughter, and was so bewildered that, even if he had had more time, I do not suppose he could have taken all the valuable things away with him. Anyhow he lost both his house and all the valuables which it contained. He asked them why they were burning his house, as he had taken no part one way or the other, and he was told his house was to be burnt down as a reprisal for houses burnt down by the troops. He was then locked in the stable with his daughter, and when let out his house was in ruins. The competent military authority can do nothing to prevent such cases. It is they who order these reprisals, and I submit it is absolutely monstrous to go on with this policy, unless you are prepared to secure that it does not 1164 do more harm to your friends than it does to those against whom it is directed.
I say the competent military authority cannot protect loyalists’ houses, judging by their extraordinary performance last week in Dublin. They were not able to protect even the Customs House. I believe the competent military authority only a short time ago removed the guard from the Customs House, and it has not yet been explained in this House what induced them to pursue that fatuous policy. There had been a long controversy about that guard. They tried, I believe, to get the Auxiliaries to do it, but naturally the Auxiliaries are not a suitable kind of force to undertake work of that kind, and, finally, the military did find a small guard. They then proceeded to withdraw this guard altogether, with the result that the most important building, from the point of view of Government records, was burnt down in broad daylight. I agree it is a building which cannot be replaced. We have heard a lot about that, but we have not heard about the almost more valuable records and papers which perished in that building. If that happens in Dublin, where there are troops, and where there is a competent military authority on the spot, what must happen in the country districts to which I have referred? The competent military authority, who orders this kind of proceeding, perhaps bases his action on psychological grounds. If so, it shows a singular ignorance of Irish mentality.
This policy is driving the few friends this country had in Ireland into the arms of Sinn Fein. It is causing intense bitterness in the eyes of every man who has kept neutral, and it is causing disgust and fear among your friends. During the present nightmare everybody feels that whichever side he takes he has got an equal chance of having his house burnt down, but he knows that when this nightmare comes to an end, if he takes part against Sinn Fein, then when that party comes to govern the country, he is more likely to suffer. Therefore, it is only human nature if these unprotected men go over day by day and join the ranks of Sinn Fein. I say it is absolutely unfair to put this work upon your troops. My Noble Friend (Earl Winterton) was present when Auxiliary officers in Dublin in high command told us they detested this policy, that there was nothing their men 1165 disliked more than to get orders from the competent military authority to burn, in cold blood, houses, and turn out their occupants. I have given the right hon. Gentleman the reasons—one on the high ground of principle, and the other on the lower ground of expediency—why this policy should be stopped, and I hope he will choose either or both of them. I believe the right hon. Gentleman cannot know really what is going on.
Mr. MOSLEY Oh, yes he does!
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS I believe these orders must come on the decision of soldiers, who are guided only by the military expediency of the moment, and are thinking only in terms of force. They seem to forget that the country has got to be lived in after the Government has pacified it. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to bring this policy to an end, and while punishing murder to cease to inflict these penalties which, apart from causing senseless loss to the community, are stirring up bitterness in Ireland which will not die out in our lifetime.
Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK The speeches which have just been made are a remarkable testimony to the blundering and brutality of the Government’s rule in Ireland. The speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ilkeston (Major-General Seely), gives a very good instance of the crowning folly of the Government. Though I am deeply and bitterly opposed to the policy of His Majesty’s Government, I do not wish to approach this subject to-night in a violent or controversial spirit. I rise merely for the few moments I desire to address the House to beg the House and the Government to reflect whether there is any good to be obtained by the pursuance of a policy which has been pursued for the last two years. Take this question of burnings. What good really does the right hon. Gentleman think he is doing by burning the houses of people who, for all he knows, are perfectly innocent? Does he really think he is discouraging the rebels? Does he think he is detaching one single rebel from the Irish Republican Army? Does he think he is cowing the Irish people into submission? Is he not rather encouraging the rebels? Is he not rather adding to their ranks, and increasing the disgust and terror with which his rule is regarded in Ireland? As my hon. and 1166 gallant Friend opposite has said, the people in Ireland are not under the slightest delusion on this head. I was talking only the other day with a distinguished soldier who lives in Ireland, and he told me that for every cabin the right hon. Gentleman burns down the rebels burn down either a country house, or a mansion, or a castle. The only result of the right hon. Gentleman’s competition in arson is that he gets scored off in the end. After all, the burning down of the Dublin Customs House is only the logical outcome of his own competition. May I in all humility ask the House, and the Government, to take stock of where we are, and what we have achieved by our policy? We have got an army in Ireland of over 60,000 men, costing anything from £1,250,000 to £1,500,000. We have a body of police which, I believe, are costing £7,000,000. Property has been destroyed, I believe, to the amount of £5,000,000. You have lives lost to the number of 700 since 1st January. What have you got to show for it all? The right hon. Gentleman himself has confessed that the thing is a failure. The Prime Minister has also confessed that the right hon. Gentleman is a failure. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that a commanding officer, when he is a failure, has to be removed to some other sphere of activity, and somebody else is put in his place. I submit it is high time that that which is a sound rule in military matters should be applied to the office of the right hon. Gentleman. The Prime Minister has announced that he is going to increase the number of soldiers in Ireland. What good is it going to do to increase the number of soldiers? What good has the army of 60,000 done? What has it done for peace?
§ 9.0 P.M.
§Mr. SPEAKER The Noble Lord forgets that in the Motion for the Adjournment of the House we are confined to the definite, urgent, and particular matter raised in it. The Debate was opened by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Ilkeston Division (Major-General Seely), but the Noble Lord must not review the whole field of Irish affairs; he must keep to the question—that of the burnings as set forth in the Motion.
Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK I am sorry I have strayed from the point. What I desire to say is that you are never going to get peace in Ireland by pursuing a policy of arson. The only way to get 1167 peace in Ireland is to do as in this country—to get the goodwill of the people. You will never get the goodwill of the people except you rely upon those principles upon which, at all events before the War, we relied in this country: that is to maintain the majesty of the law, and to promote the happiness and contentment of the people. You will only get peace in Ireland if you rely on those principles which underlie our religion and our great and glorious Empire. You are only going to get peace in Ireland when you have faith in the goodness of humanity and the efficiency and virtues of the principle of self-government. You are only going to get peace in Ireland when you cease your burning down of Irish houses, cease from bullying and knocking the people about, treat the Irish people as human beings, and leave liberty and self-government to do the rest.
The tragic part of the whole of this deplorable situation in Ireland is that the Irish people are asking for nothing more than that which I believe the British people are prepared to give them. They ask for nothing more than we have given the South Africans, the Canadians, and the Australians—that is, to make them a free country and a free people in the British Empire. I agree with the remarkably interesting article written by a very well-known gentleman in the “Round Table” the other day, that the only solution of this problem is to give the Irish people fiscal autonomy. There are, of course, risks in that policy. There are risks in any policy. The risk of the policy you are pursuing is that you have more and more added to the disgrace and dishonour of this country, and to the confusion and anarchy in Ireland. I do beg the Government to pursue a policy which is consistent with the traditions of this great and glorious Empire, and by which we can turn the Irish people, if we like, from rebels into happy and contented members of the British community.
Colonel ASHLEY I am sure the whole House was deeply impressed by the very excellent and moderate speech made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Major-General Seely). Above all they welcomed his speech because he very carefully kept it free from any extravagant utterances and any suspicion of party bias, which, Heaven knows, has been the ruin of Ire- 1168 land. He put before us what I am sure everybody in their heart of hearts agrees with, namely, that we wish to treat our Irish fellow-subjects in the same way, if possible, as people are treated here in England. He also bore truthful witness to the most excellent discipline maintained by the British forces in Ireland. Our soldiers have carried on under tremendous provocation. They have seen their fellow-men shot down from behind hedges, and they have seen them mutilated, and yet with very few exceptions thy have maintained a discipline which has always been characteristic of a British Tommy in all parts of the world. I hope the Chief Secretary will realise that in criticising this aspect of his administration we are not criticising the individual soldier who carries out his orders, but we are criticising simply the fact that such orders are given to him.
Let us be fair to the Chief Secretary and let us put ourselves in his position. The right hon. Gentleman was called to his task at a time when British authority was practically non-existent in Ireland. He had to reconstruct the Royal Irish Constabulary and strongly reinforce the Army. He had to deal with county councils and borough councils who had defied the British Crown, and, indeed, he had in a sense to reconquer Ireland for the British Crown and the British nation. Let us recognise, in justice to the right hon. Gentleman, the very grave difficulties which he has had to face, and also the large measure of success he has met with in his attempts to restore law and order. He has reconstituted the Royal Irish Constabulary, and there are few people who criticise that Constabulary now. Most of the county councils have agreed to acknowledge their authority, and outside the martial law area, generally speaking, in a very large measure law and order has been restored. Let us give credit where credit is due.
May I state why, in my humble opinion, the Chief Secretary and His Majesty’s Government have not more largely succeeded in bringing about a better state of affairs in Ireland? It is because of this policy of reprisals with official sanction. I understand that outside the martial law area reprisals have been abandoned. What is the root trouble of these reprisals in the martial law area? It is that we have not a civilian responsible to this House to direct policy, but 1169 that His Majesty’s Government have deliberately handed over in the martial law area not only executive action, but policy, to soldiers. I do not wish to criticise a distinguished general, but he is trained to do a certain thing in order to win battles, destroy the enemy and the armed forces of his enemy. He has not to consider the consequences of those actions. It may be right to do these things in a foreign country, but it is all wrong to do them in our own country where the people have to live together. This policy of reprisals which is being permitted by the Government to be carried out by the competent military authority is, in my opinion, the reason why my right hon. Friend’s policy has not been more successful, although I know he has worked very hard. As a humble Back Bench Member, may I urge the Government at once to take steps to bring their policy in the martial law area into line with their policy outside, which is that these official reprisals, except under the circumstances named by my right hon. Friend, shall cease at once and cease altogether.
With regard to Ireland, I have connections out there, and I do feel most deeply that we should do all we can to bring about reconciliation in Ireland, and these reprisals are an absolute bar to any idea of reconciliation. They are against all the laws taught us in the Bible; they are against the laws of God and all the laws we have held sacred in this country in the past; they are against all our constitutional practice which has made this country great and has made up our Empire. They have proved themselves to be actually ineffectual, and if a thing is ineffectual you had better scrap it. Last but not least, this policy has given our enemies in foreign countries occasion to say very unpleasant things about this country which certainly have a very sound substratum of truth. After all, this House claims, and always has claimed, to be the controlling authority in this country. I am sure anybody listening to the cheers of hon. Members when they hear these sound principles being laid down must realise that every-body here is unanimous that these things are wrong and must cease. If that is so, may I ask the Chief Secretary to at once see that the competent military authorities in martial law areas shall cease these official reprisals, and if any more 1170 take place let him see that the military authorities in those areas shall at once be removed.
§Earl WINTERTON I am aware that on this question I have very strong feelings, which are not shared by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I do not wish to travel outside the limits which have been set by the right hon. Gentleman in the persuasive speech with which he opened this Debate. May I state here that I regret I was led to use some disorderly expression a short time ago when we were discussing another aspect of this question. The only quarrel I have on this occasion is that the Noble Lord the Member for South Nottingham (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck) introduced matter which seemed to me to be somewhat extraneous to this Resolution. I do not know that my views upon the action of the Government in Ireland are of much interest to the House, but I have always been in favour of taking the strongest military action, because the situation is at such a pitch in Ireland that it can only be settled by force of arms. That is my private view. I have always taken the view, and it requires some boldness to put it forward, that certain issues in Ireland can only be decided by force of arms. I do not mean the whole issue as between the Irish people and this country. I am referring to the issue as between those who commit assassination and the armed forces of the Crown. Clearly an immense number of the people of this country agree that the Government have to take military action, but I cannot conceive anything more serious than to have to take military action against any portion of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom.
What is inconceivable to me with my knowledge of the state of affairs is that there should be so much apathy and indifference on the part of this House in the treatment of this question. We have neither the Leader of the House nor the Prime Minister here. It is inconceivable that the Front Bench should be occupied as it is at this moment. Every Member of the Government ought to be present. It is all very well for the Home Secretary to smile. I can assure him that nobody in Ireland smiles at the situation or at the action which the Government has taken there. All over Ireland it will be mentioned that, on the occasion of a 1171 Debate in which there is a remarkable unanimity of opinion on a particular question, neither the Leader of the House nor the Prime Minister attended, and the only contribution made by the Home Secretary was a feeble smile. Those who hold the views I do will agree that if military action is taken it should be sharp, short, and effective. It is intolerable that you should continue to carry on a dragging guerilla warfare. If the right hon. Gentleman’s Chief Secretaryship does not succeed he should give way and make room for someone else, and so, too, should Sir Nevil Macready. How long has this guerilla warfare been going on, and how many more years will it continue before it is brought to an end? So much for the general aspect of the policy.
On the particular question of the burnings I repeat that anyone holding the views I do will demand that military action shall be sharp and effective. Can the right hon. Gentleman maintain for one moment that the burning of Condamore, the property of a family whose loyalty nobody questions, is going to have the slightest effect in stopping assassination? Of course, it will not. I cannot conceive why such action has been taken at all, except on the ground that the military policy of the Government in the South of Ireland has largely failed up to the present. It has failed because we have not sufficiently good leaders. Look at the kind of gentlemen who are supposed to be competent military authorities in the South of Ireland. Some of them would certainly never have commanded a brigade in the War. Some who did so were sent home. Surely the right hon. Gentleman should select for the difficult and delicate task which the troops in Ireland have to undertake the very best men available. There are men like the gallant and distinguished officer in command of the Archangel Expedition. There are men who in the War did difficult and delicate work, quite as difficult and as delicate as anything requiring to be done in Ireland, who might have been chosen. It was absurd to choose such men as have been selected for the work. I know what the usual line of defence of the right hon. Gentleman is, but I want to see our gallant soldiers led by competent leaders and not by men who would be better if sent back 1172 to their comrades at the War Office. You want for this kind of work the very best men possible, and I am sure if you had such men in charge they would not for one moment be in favour of the policy which is being pursued, or, at any rate, they would not carry it out without making strong recommendations to the contrary.
I want to put three questions to the Government. In the first place who gives the orders for individual reprisal burnings? Who, for instance, gave it in the case of the house to which reference has been made this evening? Was it General Strickland? Was it a brigade commander? Was it the colonel in charge of the battalion? Or who was it? It is not necessary for the right hon. Gentleman to mention the actual name of the officer, but we want to know what is the rank of the officer who is responsible for giving the orders.
§Lieut. – Commander KENWORTHY And to what branch of the Service he belongs.
§Earl WINTERTON I do not think that that is important. We know the policy is carried out by the military. I have always refrained from asking questions which, I think, might be mischievous, but I feel it is desirable, in view of what is gong on in the South of Ireland, that we should know exactly under what law or regulation these burnings are carried out. Are they carried out under martial law, or are they carried out under civil law? Is there any process by which the person who owns the property—it is only by the mercy of the Almighty that I own none in the South of Ireland—can protect himself or by which he can claim compensation if he thinks his horse has been improperly burned? Is there any channel through which he can make an appeal? Even in the case of an enemy country, say in the occupied districts of Germany, persons thinking themselves aggrieved by any action of the Allied troops have the fullest opportunity for appeal to some tribunal. Finally, I would like to know, is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to review in any way these burnings after they have been carried out and to consider the effect of them and the reason for them? A most serious charge was made by the last speaker. He said, and it was news to me, 1173 that the Chief Secretary has no control or power over what is done by the constituted military authorities. If that is so, I say frankly it alters my view of the whole subject. I am inclined to think that a larger portion of Ireland may have to be brought under martial law than is at present the case, and if the military authorities are to be made entirely responsible there ought to be some channel by which the Government in this country can be made fully aware of all the circumstances under which reprisals are carried out. That is to say, where there is a case—and I think the House will assent to this—in which there is a question whether there was any reason why a burning should have taken place as, for example, the case mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman who initiated the Debate—the Chief Secretary should have the fullest opportunity at the earliest possible moment of deciding whether the action of the Crown forces in Ireland was justified or not. Seeing that that is not so, he is placed in a very unfortunate position. At Question Time to-day he was subjected by hon. Gentlemen opposite to an attack upon him personally for his administration in Ireland. Quite obviously, if he is not responsible for that administration, it is unfair to attack him, but somebody must be responsible. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will answer that question, and will give us an assurance that in the last resort and quickly, he is responsible, and is in full possession of the facts. I am bound to confess that, if he is fully responsible I think it will require very great parliamentary dexterity on his part, which I know he possesses, to make out a good case for such burnings as those mentioned in the course of this Debate, and for the continuation of those burnings, whether on a smaller or a larger scale, in the South of Ireland.
§Mr. MOSLEY I fear that the Noble Lord was rather more than half way on the road to Damascus before he saw the great light. Things being as they are, however, may I hope that in the near future those of us who have wandered forth into the desert on this subject may have the opportunity of offering him a respectful welcome. A pang of regret inspired me to-night in listening to some of the speeches of hon. Members opposite. I wish we could have commanded such support in October last, when we ven 1174 tured to protest against the sacking of Balbriggan when a whole community was destroyed by the agents of the right hon. Gentleman in the middle of the night, without even the warning that is extended under the system of official reprisals; against a reprisal that resulted in two women in child-birth and four little children suffering from measles perishing in the cold of the fields. I wish that, on that occasion, when we ventured to protest against a policy which far transcends anything mentioned in this Motion, we could have commanded the support of hon. Members. I quite realise, however, that it is inexpedient on this occasion that I should wander into the wider issues raised by such considerations. The right hon. Gentleman will certainly answer one day at the bar of history for these proceedings. I trust he may one day answer before a tribunal of his fellow-countrymen, but I have no wish to raise any controversy beyond the Motion advanced by my right hon. Friend this evening.
Unofficial reprisals, privately inspired and subsequently condoned, we are told, are at an end. To-day we find ourselves in the era of official reprisals. They began, as far as I understand, on the 27th April last, when, in Listowel, a proclamation was posted by the military stating that in future reprisals for any outbreak against the lives and property of officials would be taken against the property of selected persons without proof of their implication in the outrage. That, I understand, is in direct contravention of the right hon. Gentleman’s previous assurances in this House that, in all cases of official reprisals where houses were burned down, there should be at least very good grounds of suspicion that the inhabitants of those houses were actually implicated in the outrages which instituted the reprisals. We now find the right hon. Gentleman quite frankly moulding his policy on the Prussian model. This policy is copied and taken en bloc from the doctrines of the German military writers which were closely pursued by that nation throughout the War. It is the old, well-known system, outlined in the doctrines of Clauswitz and others, of collective punishment. The principle is that if an outrage is committed in the neighbourhood where the troops of a hostile country are billeted, and the inhabitants of that 1175 neighbourhood support and sympathise with the assassins, and consequently information cannot be obtained, an indiscriminate vengeance should be wreaked on the locality and that the sins of the guilty should fall on the innocent in the hope that a blind shot would catch the guilty party and thus discourage potential assassins in the future.
In Belgium, during the War, that system worked. I am dealing with it purely pragmatically; it is no use to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on any other ground. That system worked in Germany because the Germans were efficient. The right hon. Gentleman is not efficient. If it did not carry such a ghastly tragedy in its wake his administration in Ireland would be the joke of history. The Prussians in Belgium were able to prevent the people travelling from one village to another. The people were segregated, the men were forced to remain in the villages in which they were born, and under the military system of Germany they could not wander about the country. Consequently, if a village were sacked when outrages took place against the Germans, and the outrages had been committed by a Belgian, then that Belgian knew that his own native community would be destroyed, and that probably his own mother, sisters, wife or children would have their house burned over their heads. Consequently he was deterred from committing what were crimes in the eyes of the Germans. Those conditions do not prevail at all in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman is entirely incompetent to prevent Irish assassins travelling from one end of the country to another. They do it at will, as he has assured us over and over again in this House. They are not living in the villages, but on the bogs and in the hills, on the run, and his administration can never get them.
Therefore, what conceivable object is there in this inefficient reproduction of Prussianism? The only effect it can have is once more to give Sinn Fein the propaganda that it needs in America. The news of these acts are cabled to the United States and more money pours into the coffers of Sinn Fein. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Motion that, so far from being deterred by these outrages, the active, militant band of Sinn Fein are delighted 1176 when they see the houses of innocent people burned down. The right hon. Gentleman is merely visiting the spleen of his inefficiency, because he cannot catch the guilty, upon the heads of the innocent. That is the system which the right hon. Gentleman is constituting in Ireland. It is not even an efficient Prussianism. That is the system which has to-day evoked against this country a howl of indignation all over the world, our own Colonies included—a howl of indignation which eclipses the indignation felt against the Germans in regard to their action in Belgium. The right hon. Gentleman has attempted a task which has defeated infinitely greater men than himself. Napoleon attempted a system not nearly so onerous as the right hon. Gentleman’s in Ireland, not nearly so repressive, but the same kind of thing—visiting the sins of the guilty upon the innocent, collective punishment, militarist repression. He tried that in Germany and in Spain, and the national sentiment which he conjured up in those countries was responsible for his downfall in 1814. It broke Napoleon, and it has broken already the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The same system was employed by the Austrians in Italy, and it was entirely responsible for the creation of Italian nationality. Indeed, the only way of creating nationality, in these days of economic internationalism, is by political repression of this sort. The right hon. Gentleman is perpetuating that disastrous, exaggerated, egotistical nationalism in Ireland which is responsible for all our difficulties there to-day. He cannot claim that his administration has been a success. He cannot claim at the best that it is anything but a feeble imitation of his Prussian model. He cannot claim that he has not brought upon the name of this country abroad an execration which will live throughout this generation. He cannot even have the courage to submit the whole question to an impartial tribunal of his fellow-countrymen.
§Mr. CLYNES All of the speeches to which the House has listened in this short Debate have been very brief, and in that I propose to imitate them, but I cannot hope to imitate them in their fervour and in the qualities of eloquent appeal which have distinguished them among most of the speeches that we have heard for a very long time on Irish questions. I cannot 1177 hope, either, that we shall have any proof to-night that the Chief Secretary will have learned anything from the lessons of history. Indeed, had this country been capable of learning anything from the lessons of history in relation to Irish government, we should not now be debating this aspect of the Irish Question which my right hon. Friend has brought before us. I rise mainly to suggest to the Chief Secretary that he should keep faith in his answer to-night with the definite assurance, which he has often repeated, with regard to the discharge of his duties. He has assured the House that he would continue to discharge his duty, as he saw that duty, so long as he should have the support of the House of Commons. There have been some half-dozen speeches since this Debate began, and each one of them has been an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman at least to depart from or reverse one part of his settled military policy in the martial law area. Not a single hon. Member has said a word in support of that policy. On the contrary, every hon. Member who has so far addressed the House has reflected what I am certain is the view of every man who hears this case stated. We put to the right hon. Gentleman the view that this line of trying to govern Ireland is not supported by the House of Commons, and is not in keeping with the collective will of the Members of this House of all parties. It is clear that no one, unless it be, perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman himself, will rise in defence of what is now being done.
If we cannot say anything whatever for a particular line of military action or civil government in Ireland, we ought, at least, to be able to claim for it that it has the support of the majority of this House. Apparently, this particular part or feature of Irish policy has no support here whatever, and I claim that on that ground the Chief Secretary is no longer entitled to continue this method of governing Ireland in the martial law area. There is, perhaps, a stronger reason why it should be discontinued. I can only reinforce the reason which has been so eloquently expressed by the two or three hon. Gentlemen who have preceded me. It is futile and wicked to inflict such severe physical privation and loss upon innocent people. You could, perhaps, justify the wickedness and wrong on the ground that the 1178 end justifies the means, if it could be shown that this plan had been a success. It has not, and, for my part, I hope it will not. But I cannot conceive of any line upon which conduct of this kind on the part of a civilised Government can be excused or defended. Some of us who have expressed ourselves strongly on some features of Irish government have been reproached on occasion with the statement that what we say is an encouragement to the commission of crime and to wrongdoing in Ireland. On the contrary, I believe that the continuance of the methods to which we are now objecting is the most express and assured encouragement that could be given to those who find the justification for their acts in the very act of the Government itself.
Nothing will please the extremists, the rebels, the physical force element in Ireland more than to know that this particular line of Irish policy is to be continued by the British Government. That will strengthen any act of rebellion or reprisal that they may be disposed to take. It is, therefore, not only wrong and unjust to the innocent sufferers, but it strengthens the hands of the rebels who, on the other hand, are being pursued by the right hon. Gentleman with a view to their destruction. I have only risen to associate myself and those for whom I can speak with the expressions of opinion which have been couched in such terms of melancholy with regard to the outlook in Ireland. We are possessed by a feeling of the greatest dejection and bewilderment as to where we are being led. I can recall when, 12 months ago, the right hon. Gentleman joyously expected that after a few months, by a show of military strength or increased police forces, he would be able to claim a success for his policy. He has recently confessed that it is a failure—at least that it is a failure up to a point of time within which he concluded that he would meet with success. Whatever he thinks he may have in store for the broad lines of his policy, he surely cannot hope for any elements of success whatever from the particular line against which this Motion is directed. I ask his attention to the fact that this line of policy is unanimously reprobated and condemned by Members of this House attached to all parties, and, in keeping with his own declarations in his previous speeches, his announcement to the House ought to be that of a depar- 1179 ture from a policy which has been ruinous so far as it has been tried.
§Mr. LANE-MITCHELL I have a feeling that it is imprudent for a new Member who has never before spoken on the Irish Question to intervene in a discussion of this kind, because we have been accustomed so often to hear the same men repeat the same speech that we do not take it seriously. We send a soldier over to Ireland to do our job. I want to know how we are supporting him in doing it. If I had charge of a job of this kind I should select the best man I could get and give him all the force he wanted to do it, and give him all the backing he wanted, and if he did not do it I would clear him out and get someone else. I want the job done. What do I mean by the job? It is not the kind of Parliament Ireland is going to get. It is not a question of self-government. That is not what is before you now. What is before you is that ever since this Parliament came into being you have had rebellion in Ireland, and you have been tinkering with it from one time to another, and every time any force has been sent to put it down you start to weaken the hand that is doing it and do all you can to stop it being brought about.
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS We want troops to put down murder.
§Mr. LANE-MITCHELL You have all criticised the Government.
§Earl WINTERTON Will the hon. Member allow me to interrupt?
§Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope) The Noble Lord has already spoken. Now we are getting another view.
§Mr. LANE-MITCHELL I am in absolute agreement with the Noble Lord that we have to get on with it and get it done somehow or another. It has been established in the discussion that in the military area the competent military authority is supreme, and he acts on his own authority, independent of the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman (Major-General Seely) asked definitely whether a specific order was given for a reprisal by the Chief Secretary. I have gathered that the Chief Secretary never gives an order for reprisals. It comes from the com- 1180 petent military authority, the man who was sent there to do the job, who in the exercise of his judgment does it in a particular way. Outside the military area the Chief Secretary has been ruthlessly putting down any attempt at reprisals. If that is the position what more do you want? The House has a right to say that until we get law and order restored in Ireland every man of right mind ought to support the military authority over there in getting the job done.
§Lord EUSTACE PERCy In rising to address the House for the first time I should, perhaps, apologise for intervening in a Debate on so serious a question, but after the speech to which we have just listened I feel especially that some reply is needed and that perhaps a reply will come not unfittingly from someone who has just had to fight an election and has been elected as a supporter of the Government. In my election address I strongly supported the necessity of holding up the hands of the Government in enforcing the authority of the Crown in Ireland, and I am perfectly prepared to trust the man chosen by this House to enforce law and order in Ireland. But I also said in my election address that it was absolutely necessary to have unity of command. I do not understand how the right of this House to inquire into the facts, which we are now doing, can be put off by a kind of House-that-Jack-Built policy, that because the Chief Secretary has appointed some-one else who has appointed someone else to be responsible for a particular area, therefore we must not ask the Chief Secretary for an explanation or hold him responsible for what occurs in that area. If I may give my impression of what the actual feeling in this country is at present about the situation in Ireland, a very humble impression gathered only from a somewhat recent experience, I have always found very little support in the country for the extreme view of the moral obliquity of the Government. Still less have I found any support for the view of their moral obliquity and indiscipline of the soldiers of the Crown. The position of the Government in regard to this question would have been very much less strong than it is to-day if some of its opponents had not so constantly delivered these extreme attacks upon them.
1181 What I did find was a strong feeling that the administrative system of restoring order in Ireland has been incoherent, and therefore weak. It is because 1, and I believe all those who sit near me, are anxious to strengthen the hands of the Government that we ask whether the present system of a divided command in Ireland, as manifested in these reprisals, these burnings of homes, is a system to which the Government can point as a coherent system adapted to the restoration of order, nay, I would put it even as implying a coherent system adapted to bring pressure upon those upon whom you wish to bring pressure. The whole point of repression must always be that it shall proceed with the greatest possible precision, and that therefore those at whom you strike shall know for what offence you have struck and why it is they who are struck and not someone else. If there be anything incoherent or hap-hazard or indiscriminate in the action of a repressive authority, it will not repress, and it is from that point of view that I have intervened to say that if the right hon. Gentleman can convince this House that the system of administration is so conducted, under such centralised control, under such a tight rein, that it can be directed to certain definite ends of repression, then I shall be prepared to support the Government. If, as I fear, it is a question of incoherence of administration, resulting in indiscriminateness of repression, then I think there is only one course before anyone who gave the election pledges which I gave, on the one hand to support the Government in suppressing disorder, and on the other hand to see that the administration for that purpose reaches the highest possible level of efficiency.
§The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Colonel Sir Hamar Greenwood) I congratulate the Noble Lord who has just spoken on his success at the poll, and on taking part in our Debate on a very vital issue such as that raised to-night. I appreciate very much what he has said, and in principle I am absolutely in agreement with him. I appreciate the temperate and effective speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved the Resolution (Major-General Seely). There is nothing in this Resolution, in substance, which I have not already acted upon, or could not accept. Before I deal with the Resolution, however, may I refer 1182 to those hon. Gentlemen who spoke of officers, I think most unfairly. I must make a protest against calling the Competent Military Authority of Dublin an incompetent military authority, and against the suggestion that certain competent officers in the martial law area are not fit for their command. Those officers cannot answer except through me. If they are incompetent they must be removed; but to make an accusation of incompetence, without any proof whatever—
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS The right hon. Gentleman says that I made an accusation of incompetence without proof. If he can explain why the military guard was withdrawn from the Customs House after many representations and many negotiations had gone on I will gladly withdraw my expression.
§Earl WINTERTON If the right hon. Gentleman will undertake to find out who is responsible for the situation by which a band was blown up in the South of Ireland, and no precaution taken to send an advance guard to look at the road beforehand, I will withdraw my accusation against the competent military authority in the South of Ireland.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I think these two questions are quite irrelevant to the Resolution, but I will deal with them The Customs House in Dublin had no special guard except the ordinary military and police patrol, for various reasons. In the first place the number of troops in Ireland is so short of requirements that it is impossible to provide guards for all public buildings. That is a military consideration. In the second place it was not considered credible that even the extremist Sinn Feiner would burn this great national possession, namely, the Customs House. They have burned it, and the loss will fall on Ireland and nowhere else. I do not consider in these circumstances that the competent military officer in Dublin can be accused of incompetence. I still say that it is a most unfair slur on an officer who can only speak through me. I am satisfied that he is one of the ablest officers in the British Army. Although there have been many brutal murders in Dublin, including the murder of 12 officers one morning, on November 21st last, so great was the control of that officer over the soldiers and the police under him that 1183 there has never been a reprisal of any shape or kind.
§Lieut. – Commander KENWORTHY Croke Park!
§Sir H. GREENWOOD As to the question of the blowing up of the band and some soldiers of the gallant Hampshire Regiment at Youghal, I can assure the Noble Lord that if it is a test of the competency of the commander at Cork I have no doubt that every precaution was made to find out whether the way was clear for the advance of the battalion that was marching towards the rifle butts, and I do not think it is a sign of incompetency in a General Officer if a concealed mine is exploded by an electric wire, running from a battery 60 or 70 yards away from the road. I do not think that is a sign of an incompetent officer.
§Earl WINTERTON Was there an advanced guard?
§Major-General Sir NEWTON MOORE They would not have found it if there had been.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I have no doubt that the regiment was marching according to rule in an area such as Youghal. I have no evidence to the contrary. With reference to the officers of the police and the military, I am responsible for them and their conduct, and I am sure the House will agree with me that if things are wrong I must take the blame, which I do cheerfully, and I am proud of it. [HON. MEMBERS: “Oh!”] Yes, and on balance the record of these men in Ireland will shine brightly in the history of this country. That brings me to a very important point of principle raised by the right hon. Gentleman, namely: “Is the Chief Secretary responsible for everything that goes on in Ireland?” He is. Let there be no doubt about that. I am responsible. In the normal way when a part of a country is under martial law the officer commanding is the sole authority and is responsible to the Secretary of State for War, but in this case I am responsible. Let there be no doubt about that. Therefore, if any military or other officer is incompetent it is my business to dismiss him, and if the House feels strongly that anyone is not competent and is not dismissed they must vent their displeasure on me. I think that is the 1184 proper constitutional position. It adds to my difficulties, but it is essential that the Chief Secretary should speak for the whole of Ireland, of which he is the representative in this House.
On the point of unity of command in the martial law area there is absolute unity of command under the senior officer, General Sir Peter Strickland. He has absolute command over civilians, police, and military. There is no question about that. He can deal with them exactly as he likes, under the proclamation agreed to by the Commander-in-Chief and myself. Of course, all proclamations issued by the Commander-in-Chief are issued in agreement with myself. As to unity of command in the rest of the country that is only possible under martial law. The question of the extension of martial law is frequently before the Government. It may be necessary to extend the martial law area. It may not be necessary. We have had two Parliaments elected in Ireland since we last had an Irish Debate. That is an historical constitutional event. The authority given under the Government of Ireland Act will soon, I hope, pass to the two Parliaments in Ireland. The Ulster Parliament has been elected, and will be constituted in a very short time and will operate. It would be impossible to extend martial law to that area without the consent of that Parliament. I still hope that the Southern Parliament will meet and operate. At any rate, it is our business to give them the opportunity to do so. If they fail to take advantage of that opportunity and assume responsibility for the good government of Ireland, a new set of circumstances arise, and the Government must simply in these circumstances apply all the remedies in their possession. So when we are pressed for unity of command and drastic measures, while I appreciate the feelings of hon. and right hon. Members they must remember that we have the political remedy in Ireland and we must give that remedy an opportunity to operate.
§Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK There is nothing to prevent you stopping burning down houses.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) asked who gives the order for official reprisals in the martial law area. 1185 The answer is no officer below the rank of Brigade Commander.
§Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY On whose advice?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD He acts on the advice of those serving under him.
§Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY Is not the actual advice as to whose houses are to be burned given by the Intelligence Department? Is that a military department or a civil department?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD He must get his advice where he can, and will only act On it when he is convinced that it is good. Every military area has its Intelligence staff, but who are the particular person or persons on whose advice the Brigade Commander will act it is impossible to say. The second question is—is there any review of the what are called official reprisals by the Commander-in-Chief and by myself? There is a review of them. They are treated as most serious and abnormal acts, and I must say here if there is any case where innocent persons have suffered by reason of the orders given by a Brigade Commander I certainly would consider that that was a case for compensation out of the Exchequer.
§Captain W. BENN For loss of life?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD As far as you can compensate for that by money. That is the one irrevocable thing; but the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows that life is not involved in what we are considering to-night. The report goes at once from the Brigade Commander to the Divisional Commander in Cork. From that commander it is sent on to General Head-quarters in Dublin, to the General Officer Commanding in Dublin, General Sir Nevil Macready. He and I are in daily contact when we are in Ireland together, and we are in constant contact when I am here and he is in Ireland.
§Earl WINTERTON Are these reprisals taken under martial law or under the ordinary law—the Restoration of Order Act?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I will develop that as I go on. I am dealing with reprisals in the martial law area. The Resolution before the House is to move the adjournment to call attention to a, definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the failure of the military 1186 authorities to issue orders prohibiting the destruction of houses and buildings by Crown forces in Ireland, except where necessary on purely military grounds. There is nothing in the substance of that which I do not accept. Orders have been issued to servants of the Crown and I shall read an Order which was issued to the police and agreed to by myself not recently but on 4th December last year: There have been recently large numbers of reports of arson. While it is by no means clear that this is done by forces of the Crown I wish again to impress on all members of the police force the absolute necessity for stopping burnings, whatever the provocation. The only profitable burnings are the destruction of buildings which have been used to shelter ambushers or from which fire is opened on forces of the Crown. The burning of houses or buildings not directly connected with assassination or attempted assassination is indefensible. I appeal to the police of all ranks to repress all destruction of property in Ireland, even of notorious Sinn Feiners. The force will now fully recognise that the Government is giving them strong support, and I feel sure that they will not wish to embarrass the Government in their very difficult task. I can assure them that incendiarism tends to alienate sympathy of many right thinking and law abiding citizens of the Empire, and does harm to the cause of right for which we are fighting.
§Colonel ASHLEY Does that apply to the martial law area?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD To all Ireland.
§Mr. LUNN How far is that efficacious? Is it not the fact that Cork City was burned down six days after the issue of the Proclamation?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD It is very easy when a country is in a state of rebellion to find exceptions to every rule. I am dealing with the question in the Resolution about the Government failing to issue Orders prohibiting the destruction of houses or buildings. This Order was issued to the police on 4th December last year for the whole of Ireland.
§Major-General SEELY In order that we may not proceed on different lines of thought, does the right hon. Gentleman mean to explain whether this Order of 4th December applies to the martial law area under General Strickland?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I will deal with that. This Order shows that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is in error when he says that the Government has not issued any Order. The Government has. I have said at this Box time and again, in reference to reprisals, that no 1187 one has tried more strenuously than I have to put them down, and I think that I have succeeded in doing so. [HON. MEMBERS: “Resign!”]
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS rose—
§Mr. SPEAKER We have had no fewer than eight speeches in criticism of the Government, and it is only fair that the Government should be allowed to put its case without interruption.
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS May I ask whether this Order did not deal merely with unofficial reprisals, as to which we all recognise the strong action which the right hon. Gentleman has taken, while we are now dealing with official reprisals by order of the competent military authority.
§Mr. SPEAKER Hon. Members should give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity to develop a continuous argument. They all seem to want to get their points in. He should have a chance.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD The Irish Secretary is accustomed to be shot at. I quite understand the keenness with which everybody is using this question, but I am developing it and I will cover all the points that have been raised. I have to repeat that the right hon. Gentleman is wrong in his first hypothesis, namely, that the Government has not dealt with this question by order. This was issued on 4th December of last year. Martial law was imposed upon four counties, I think, on 10th December of last year, and on four further counties in January of this year. In the non-martial law area, which comprises the greater part of Ireland, there have never been official reprisals. Reprisals have never been encouraged or condoned, but have always been condemned, and many people have been severely disciplined because of unofficial reprisals, although the provocation has been almost superhuman. In spite of that—I think I shall carry the whole House with me—reprisals are rare, unofficial reprisals are now rare. Indeed, so rare are they that we may say they never occur in Ireland. If they did occur there would be questions on the Paper every day.
In addition to the Orders, I have myself on more than one occasion summoned all the senior police officers to Dublin 1188 and told each one in turn that I would hold him personally responsible for re-prisals in his particular police area. Splendidly have these gallant men—they are not all there now whom I addressed in this matter, because some of them have been murdered—gallantly have they held their men in check, in spite of murders so awful that no one in this House, to my mind, would face them with the same self-control and discipline, or, rather, I should say with greater self-control and discipline. Martial law was imposed subsequent to this Order because the martial law area was considered, and rightly considered, the most disturbed and rebellious area in Ireland. As soon as you impose martial law you hand over to the Commander-in-Chief absolute control of everybody in that particular area. He and his commanders dislike any form of reprisal as much as the most severe critic of the Government dislikes it, but they have laid down certain rules, military grounds I call them, within which they believe that in certain specified cases and under certain circumstances—there are not many such cases—the destruction of property is justifiable. These are the grounds: In every case where the official punishment is the destruction of a building, that building itself has been used in connection with rebel action, for instance, as the basis from which an ambush was prepared, or the owners have aided and abetted rebels in their campaign of outrage and murder. Those are the grounds drawn up by military men to be applied in these limited and clearly defined cases. It is true, and it must at times happen, that when the local military commander has the best reason for thinking that the occupants of any given house come within these rules, he may be mistaken. Innocent people may suffer and the houses of innocent people may be destroyed. I admit it at once. In a state of rebellion the greatest tragedy of all is that the innocent do suffer. I have told the House I shall try to meet these cases as far as I can. I will go further and say it is open to question whether reprisals generally in a martial law or other area are ever satisfactory in the long run. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman has had experience in South Africa, where that policy was tried. I have heard some people say it was successful and I have heard him say it was not. It is open to doubt, but as far as his Motion is con- 1189 cerned, what I have read shows that when reprisals are taken they are taken on necessary and purely military grounds, so that anyone who supports the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will support the policy of the Commander-in-Chief in the martial-law area, who only agrees to reprisals on military grounds.
§Mr. T. P. O’CONNOR Is that the explanation of the burning of Cork?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD No, it is not the explanation.
§Mr. MOSLEY I am very sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. [HON. MEMBERS: “Order, order!”]
§Mr. SPEAKER The right hon. Gentleman should be allowed to proceed with his speech.
§Mr. MOSLEY I want to challenge him on this point—
§Mr. SPEAKER The hon. Member has spoken already.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD Yes, the hon Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley) has made a speech. He wished to commit a reprisal on me of the most violent kind by handing me down as standing at the bar of history. But I am now at the bar of the House of Commons, and that is sufficient for the day. I say it is open to question whether reprisals under the strictly limited rule laid down by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved the Motion are successful or not. On that point let me say this: I am prepared to discuss the question with the Commander-in-Chief and to bring before him what has been said on the subject by undoubted supporters of the Government and of the soldiers and police in their endeavour to put down crime in Ireland, and to go into conference with him on this question. That being so, I am going further than the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. I hope he accepts that on the general principle of reprisals. Let me give the House an idea of what causes these reprisals. They are not done in an indiscriminate and promiscuous way. British generals, colonels, majors, and soldiers do not wander about Ireland like bandits let loose. They are under the strictest discipline. They suffer untold agonies owing to provocative and brutal murders, and a reprisal is only taken in the martial-law area, when no 1190 other remedy seems possible and when the commander of the area thinks it is necessary to meet the ends of justice.
§Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK Why not try Liberal principles for a change? [An HON. MEMBER: “What do you know about them? “]
§Sir H. GREENWOOD This is a most serious matter, and I wish the House to realise what leads up to the few reprisals, under carefully defined military conditions, in the martial-law area. I am going to read one letter, and one letter only, from a very gallant officer, murdered under the most distressing circumstances, and if this document does not touch the heart of everyone here, I am surprised. It is a letter that speaks for itself. It is, from a D.S.O. of the British Army, a man mentioned six times in despatches, murdered at the age of 52, leaving a wife and a little girl, aged three. It is from near Limerick, where he was in the custody of Sinn Feiners who kidnapped him: My own darling little wife,—I am to be shot in an hour’s time. Dearest, your hubby will die with your name on his lips, your face before his eyes, and he will die like an Englishman and a soldier. I cannot tell you, sweetheart, how much it is to me to leave you alone, nor how little to me personally to die. I have no fear, only the utmost, greatest, and tenderest love to you, and my sweet little Anne. I leave my cigarette case to the Regiment, my miniature medals to my father, whom I have implored to befriend you in everything, and my watch to the officer who is executing me, because I believe him to be a gentleman, to mark the fact that I bear him no malice for carrying out what he sincerely believes to be his duty. Good-bye, my darling, my own. Choose from among my things some object which you would particularly keep in memory of me. I believe that my spirit will be in it to love and comfort you. Tender, tender farewells and kisses.—Your own, Geof. That was Major Compton Smith, D.S.O., of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, of Limerick. He is dead, done to death by Sinn Fein murderers. What would we do if we were in his regiment? This is the kind of case that leads to an official reprisal. I want to bring home to the House the difficulties that have to be faced. Here is a regiment on edge; it has seen his letter in the Press or it the regimental headquarters. The brigade commander must say to himself: “How can I show these men that we are trying to track down the assassins of their gallant commander?” In a case of this kind he takes certain houses which come 1191 within the category of reprisals that the Commander-in-Chief has laid down, namely, that they were used as a basis for which an ambush had been prepared or the owners of which had aided and abetted the rebels in their campaign of outrage and murder. In such a case, certain houses are taken. I want the House to understand that that is the kind of case that leads to a reprisal. Whether they are right or not is open to question. The point to remember is, do not judge the conduct of these soldiers in the martial law area from the cool, un-impassioned atmosphere of this House, but judge it by the conflict, the murder, and the mutilations that go on in certain parts of the martial law area. I come to the particular case raised by the right hon. Gentleman who opened this Debate, namely, that of Tincurry House, in Tipperary. He said himself that he supported a reprisal if there were reasonable grounds for thinking the occupants were consorting with the rebels.
§Major-General SEELY The words I used were, that the residents were participating in outrages and murder.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I misunderstood what the right hon. Gentleman said. He read a letter from Dr. Tobin about the burning of the house. It of course made a great impression upon anyone, but you cannot deal with a case of burning, or any other action of that kind in Ireland as an isolated instance in a law-abiding community. Tipperary, where this burning took place, is one of the most disturbed areas in Ireland, and always has been. It is a common Irish saying that the Tipperary people are descended from Cromwell’s Ironsides, who were disbanded, and married Irish girls, and the descendants are the wild men.
§Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK They were peaceable enough before you came.
§Mr. SPEAKER The Noble Lord has had a full opportunity.
§Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK The right hon. Gentleman has no right — [HON. MEMBERS: “Order!”]
§Mr. SPEAKER Unless the Noble Lord listens as well as speaks he ought not to sit in this House.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I was not saying anything to cause an interruption.
1192
§Lieut. – Commander KENWORTHY The usual tactless speech.
§Sir H. GREENWOOD I am sorry I have not the tact of the hon. and gallant Member. However, in Tipperary there have been 40 police and soldiers murdered in the last two years, and some six law-abiding citizens have been assassinated. It is a very mountainous part, and it lends itself, therefore, to the peculiar kind of guerilla warfare followed by the Irish Republican Army. That is Tipperary generally. When the right hon. Gentleman referred to the case of Tincurry House, I am bound to say he made, as he always does, a great impression upon me, and I dealt with it at once, through the Commander-in-Chief, who sent a special messenger to Tipperary from Dublin to inquire into the facts. The first letter was so remarkable that I asked for further facts, and I am compelled now to read the official reply I have received from the Commander-in-Chief in reference to Tincurry: I have discovered already that the house is marked ‘Divisional Headquarters, I.R.A.,’ on one of their own maps, and that they have an eye on the butts of the rifle ranges nearby. Tincurry House was destroyed on 14th May, together with several others as punishment for the murder of District Inspector Potter. It was very similar to that of Major Compton-Smith.
Sir T. POLSON May I say that officer was my first cousin?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD The letter goes on to say that they had a strong suspicion that Mrs. Tobin, who had strong Republican sympathies, was suspected of having harboured rebels. That is the official reply of the Commander-in-Chief. His opinion may be wrong. I do not think it is, but it may be. It only shows that in dealing with these Irish questions and disturbed areas like Tipperary, or any military-law area, it is extremely difficult to take the first statement of facts as absolutely correct. It may be that a great blunder has occurred here. It may be, and I promise the right hon. Gentleman that if there has been I will do my best to take into my most sympathetic consideration the question of compensating any innocent sufferer. I cannot do more. I will, however, put it to the House that there was a justifiable suspicion, from what I have read, on which the brigade commander—presum- 1193 ing the official reprisals were right—could fairly act. That is the view of the Commander-in-Chief. It was carried out. The destruction was regrettable, distressing, deplorable, I agree. But it was carried out under discipline. No one was insulted. I am bound to say that the scene described by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman of the hostess entertaining on the lawn the destroyers of her household was a thing that could only happen in Ireland.
§Major-General SEELY The destruction of the house where two lads laid down their lives for us during the War!
§Sir H. GREENWOOD That adds to the tragedy of it. But had the destruction anything to do with the sacrifice of gallant officers! I am giving the House the exact facts as they came to me. I think I have dealt with the various questions that have been raised in the Debate. My submission is that I can accept in substance the Resolution of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, namely, that reprisals should not be carried out except on purely military grounds. I go further, and say that they are not carried out in any form except in the martial-law area, and in that area never carried out except on military grounds. I think I have shown that orders have been issued in reference to reprisals, and have been successful. Let us face realities. Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway have criticised me very severely, and they are perfectly entitled to do so. One must do the best one can having regard to the political remedy of this House which is applied to Ireland in the face of rebellion in a considerable part of the country. We are faced with that re-bellion. The military have been criticised—I think very unfairly. The police of the Auxiliary Division come in very often for a very great deal of criticism—again, I think, unfairly. What are the facts? Within a few miles of this House there is a sinister and highly-paid rebellion going on, carried on with the object of separating for ever Ireland from the United Kingdom. That object is being carried out by the Irish Republican Army, as it is called. It consists of men who wear no uniform and no distinctive mark; they generally carry concealed weapons as civilians one minute, and they are murderers the next, 1194 contrary to all the laws of civilised warfare. The object of this Irish Republican Army—which is a negligible minority of the Irish people, who would be grateful to the Government if they could rid the country of this terror—is to intimidate this House and the British people into a surrender to Irish independence. I shall never consent to that. The Government will never consent to even argue it. The hope of Ireland, to my mind, is first of all to defeat this Irish Republican Army, and then encourage the coming together of the North and South, which has happily commenced, and leave Ireland to the Irish leaders themselves to settle within the limits defined by the Government. In that way only will you, bring peace to that distracted country and enable the vast majority of the people there to become happy and contented partners with us in the United Kingdom.
§Captain W. BENN I propose to confine myself quite narrowly to the terms of the Adjournment Motion without dealing with the wider issues which the Chief Secretary has opened. I should like to respond to the appeal made by earlier speakers to confine this Debate to a discussion of the policy of burning and reprisals and leave alone the wider issues, upon which I should only excite controversy in the minds of hon. Members. The question is, first, Is the burning of houses a policy which should be pursued by the Government, and is it likely to be successful? The Chief Secretary has told us that he accepts the sub-stance of the Motion which has been moved by the right hon. and gallant Member for Ilkeston (Major-General Seely). It lays down, that reprisals can only be justified on the ground of military necessity.
The Chief Secretary says that is, in effect, the policy which the Government are adopting in Ireland. That is the impression which he is giving us here in the House of Commons, but it is a totally different policy from the one he is pursuing in Ireland and it does not correspond in the least with the policy being carried out in Ireland under his administration. Take quite a recent case a few days ago. There was a Proclamation issued officially by the military in Cork. The Chief Secretary says that the policy of reprisals 1195 is merely the burning of houses as a military operation. This is the Proclamation in Cork: Owing to the burning of the houses of two loyalist farmers, three farm houses of active Sinn Feiners were burned as a military operation. That is not a military operation. [An HON. MEMBER: “Why not?”] Because these houses are not shown to be houses in which military offences were committed. They were not centres of attack. It is simply vengeance. Then the Proclamation goes on: It is intended to carry out further reprisals in that proportion, or if that proportion does not have the desired effect in a greater proportion. Hon. Gentleman cheer that. Exactly. It is to say that if they continue to burn two houses we will burn three, and if that does not stop them we will probably burn six. That is the Proclamation of the military in Cork. The Chief Secretary tells us that the burning of houses is merely to be carried on as a military operation in cases of military necessity. The two statements are in flat contradiction. The Chief Secretary says the reprisals are only carried out as a military necessity. What does he think of this Tralee Proclamation, which states that as a result of the murder of a sergeant certain houses, of which a list is given, were destroyed, and nine houses were bombed. Does this Proclamation square with what the Chief Secretary has told us to-night? The document gives a long list of houses and stores damaged, and it tells further how a woman and her child had a marvellous escape from a bomb which destroyed the piano and ceiling in a room in which they were. I do not desire to read touching instances. Heaven knows there are such instances on both sides. The Chief Secretary has read one of the most touching documents I ever heard in my life. That is the tragedy of it. The policy of the Chief Secretary produces heroes on both sides. [HON. MEMBERS: “No, no!”] The right hon. Gentleman is exciting feeling in this country by reading that letter, but other people in Ireland are exciting feelings of the people there and we are getting no nearer a solution of the problem. [An HON. MEMBER: “They should stop the murders!”] The right hon. Gentleman says that reprisals can only be justified by success. But 1196 he does not pretend that his policy is a success: he has just told us he is unable to carry it out with success because he has not troops enough to do it. The Chief Secretary has led the House to believe that a policy is being carried out in Ireland which, in fact, is not being carried out, and therefore I shall vote for my right hon. Friend’s motion.
§Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question with regard to the burning of the house and grocer’s shop of Mr. Honan, the Chairman of the Ennis Urban Council, as to which we have his own admission. It has been impossible [HON. MEMBERS: “Divide, divide!”]
§Mr. SPEAKER I am afraid the hon. and gallant Member’s habit of interruption makes it difficult for him to obtain a hearing. Might I appeal to hon. Members to allow him to deliver his speech. Perhaps that will teach him to extend the same forbearance to other hon. Members.
§Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY I make no complaint, Sir. I am much obliged for your protection. This man Honan had been in hospital for three weeks—that is the right hon. Gentleman’s own admission. He was a widower, with six children, the eldest of whom was his daughter, aged 13. This man’s shop was blown to atoms as a reprisal by the military authorities, for an ambush and for the very dastardly assassination, which I condemn as heartily as the right hon. Gentleman or any of his supporters, of Sergeant Rew, of the Royal Scots Regiment. I deplore these murders; they make our task increasingly difficult. This man Honan had been in hospital for three weeks before that time, and was in hospital in bed at the time of the blowing up of his shop. His motherless children were in the house. They were bundled out, and the right hon. Gentleman gives, as an excuse, that Mr. Honan was one of the people known as the chief organisers of rebel activities. Yet he was in hospital for three weeks before the ambush. Is there any hon. Gentleman who can justify that? Can the right hon. Gentleman himself justify it? That is my first question.
My second question is in regard to the burnings of the farmhouse of Miss Fitzgerald. Her son served right through the 1197 War. It is in a lonely mountainous district. She protested to the Military Governor that she had no means of preventing an ambush some miles from her farmhouse, but the house of this lonely woman was burned down in revenge for the ambush. The third question is: what justification was there for the destruction of the house belonging to Madge O’Daly? She had gone to Dublin—that is admitted by the military authorities—to visit her doctor, and was far away from the premises when the ambush occurred. In spite of protests, her house was destroyed for military necessities. If that is the policy that the Government have adopted in Ireland, I consider they are damned before the civilised world. We have heard nothing worse than this in the trials of the German War criminals at Leipzig. If hon. Members are prepared to justify war on women and children and widows—[HON. MEMBERS: “Oh, oh!”]—and the destruction of their houses, if they are prepared to encourage the Government then let them vote for the Government. I only hope, however, that Members who were loud in condemning very similar occurrences in Belgium, committed by our enemies during the War, will attempt to make one protest to-night, when the opportunity occurs, against this inhuman and uncivilised action.
§Major-General SEELY I am placed in some difficulty in regard to one thing that has happened during this Debate. My right hon. Friend has said that he accepts the substance of my Motion, which has been almost unanimously supported in this House in the form in which I moved it. Then there is a point with which I was fully conversant before. The right hon. Gentleman’s Order has been quoted in an exactly contrary sense, namely, where two houses will not do, burn four, and where four will not do, burn six. I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he disavows what has been done. No man in his position could do that. But I want to know whether what he has said amounts to a direct condemnation of an Order of that kind, which means indiscriminate reprisal in order to try to stop murder by burning houses. That is a perfectly clear question, and one to which we are entitled to an answer in order to guide us as to how we should vote.
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§Sir H. GREENWOOD I should be only too glad to guide my right hon. Friend as to how he should vote. Of course, I condemn indiscriminate burning. I do not believe that it brings to an end this campaign of assassination against the forces of the Crown and law-abiding citizens. I cannot deal across the Table with any particular case that has been raised in Debate, because I shall have to communicate with the military authorities on the spot to get their point of view. My right hon. Friend himself is an ex-Cabinet Minister, and knows that one can only speak with the knowledge supplied by those responsible for carrying out the orders of the Government. But I condemn, and have at this Box again and again condemned, any form of indiscriminate reprisal against houses or any other form of reprisal. The Motion states that reprisals in Ireland should be carried out only in the martial law area under an officer of not lower rank than a brigade commander, on military grounds, and within a certain limited period. That is why I said that I accepted the substance of that part of the Motion of my right hon. Friend.
§Major-General SEELY Could the right hon. Gentleman cancel any Order which appears to conflict with what he has said to-night?
§Sir H. GREENWOOD Of course I could.
§ Question, “That this House do now adjourn,” put, and negatived.
§ 11.0 P.M.
§Mr. T. P. O’CONNOR (seated and covered): On a point of Order. Did not the Chief Secretary declare that he was ready to accept the Motion? Why therefore does he now demand a Division?
§Mr. SPEAKER There is not a Division.
§The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
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ADJOURNMENT. 17 words
Back to HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Forward to ADJOURNMENT.

Irish Medals For The 1916 Rising & Irish War of Independence

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
ADJOURNMENT DEBATE – SEANAD EIREANN
17 May 2006
The need for the Minister for Defence, in view of the great success of the recent Easter 1916 commemorations, to clarify the current arrangements for the replacement of 1916 and War of Independence medals; and if he has any proposals to review these arrangements this year.
Senator Diarmuid Wilson
I am glad to have the opportunity to address this matter and I thank Senator Wilson for raising it.
It is not necessary for me to dwell on the importance of the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence to the nation. Together they led to the establishment of the State in which we live today and to the freedom we now enjoy. The importance of these events is also reflected in the fact that we have five military medals related to that period of our history.
For the information of Senators, I will give some brief background to each of the five medals.
The 1916 Medal was awarded to persons who participated in The Rising during the week commencing 23rd April 1916. Some 2,000 of these Medals were awarded.
The Service (1917-1921) Medal with Bar was awarded to persons who rendered active military service during the War of Independence. There were over 15,000 Medals awarded in this class.
The Service (1917-1921) Medal without Bar was awarded to persons whose service was not deemed active military service, but who were members of Oglaigh na hÉireann, (Irish Republican Army), Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan or the Irish Citizen Army continuously for the three months which ended with the Anglo-Irish Truce of the 11th July, 1921. Over 50,000 Medals were awarded in this class.
The 1916 Survivors Medal was created in 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising of Easter Week 1916. The medal was issued to those who had been awarded the 1916 Medal and who were still alive at the time.
And lastly, the Truce (1921) Commemoration Medal was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Truce that ended the War of Independence. The medal was issued to Veterans of the War of Independence who were alive on the 11th July 1971 and who had been duly awarded the Service (1917-1921) Medal, whether with or without Bar.
The Department receives requests from time to time for the replacement of lost, stolen or destroyed Medals awarded to Veterans of the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence.
It has been settled policy of the Department of Defence for many, many years that replacement medals were issued on a once only basis on receipt of a bona-fidé request from the Veteran to whom the original medals were awarded. This policy was adopted in the interests of preserving the intrinsic value of the medals and to strictly limit the number of medals issued in any particular case. Although almost all of the Veterans are now deceased, the rationale for restricting the issue of replacement medals is still valid.
Apart from the intrinsic value of the medals, their monetary value on the open market is also a factor. Some indication of their value can be gleaned from the recent sale by auction of a posthumously awarded 1916 Medal that achieved a price of €105,000 on 12 April, 2006. Other 1916 and War of Independence medals, sold at the same auction, fetched amounts ranging from €3,200 to €14,000.
While this has been the long-standing Departmental policy, I can totally understand the feelings of the family members of Veterans whose requests for replacement Medals are refused.
These families feel rightfully proud of their ancestors’ service and contribution to the birth of this State and would like some visible expression of it. With this in mind: some weeks ago I initiated an examination in my Department of the possibility of issuing some form of official certificate for such cases.
I would envisage that the certificates would confirm that one of the medals in question had been issued to the named Veteran. If more than one medal had originally been issued, a separate certificate could be provided for each medal.
Officials in my Department are currently examining a number of options, including possible designs and formats for these certificates. I am confident that this initiative will go some way to addressing this problem and I expect that the examination in my Department will be completed very shortly.
On a related note, I was very pleased to be able to announce recently a substantial increase in the War of Independence pensions. I felt that the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising was an appropriate time to show the country’s appreciation of the major part played by Veterans in the foundation of the State. The pensions are being increased by 50% retrospectively to the 1st April 2006. They were last increased in mid-2004 when a 50% increase was also applied.
I trust that I have clarified matters to the satisfaction of the House.
The above makes interesting reading , the figures are estimates and cannot be taken as exact, please see some photos below of the medals mentioned.

Black & Tan Medal without Comrac Bar
Blach & Tan Medal with Comrac Bar, also know as The Service Medal

IRA Truce Medal , 1921-1971

1916 Rising Survivors medal, The 1916 Survivors Medal was created in 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising of Easter Week 1916. The medal was issued to those who had been awarded the 1916 Medal and who were still alive at the time.

There are other badges and medals , official and unofficial that commemorate the Irish war of Independence , we will cover them in a later article.

A review of Gerard Murphy’s The Year of Disappearances: Niall Meehan, 17th November 2010

Nial Meehan has contacted us and has pointed us to an article he wrote some time ago,in fact the first review of the book, thank you for submitting the article to us , his words are below:
My review  of  Gerard Murphy’s The Year of Disappearances:
Niall Meehan, 17th November 2010
Gerard Murphy’s ‘The Year of Disappearances, Political Killings in Cork, 1921-1922’, published by Gill & Macmillan on 29 October 2010, purportedly examines the period of the so-called ‘Cork Republic’ during 1921-22. Murphy alleges that the Cork IRA killed and ‘disappeared’ sometimes-uninvolved Cork Protestants, including teenagers, in the final phase of the 1919-21 Irish War of Independence (WoI)[1] and its aftermath. This is a controversial thesis and part of a debate whose parameters have been much publicised and discussed for over a decade.[2]
INTRODUCTION
Before tackling the book, it is necessary to give a brief historical introduction for those unfamiliar with this period in Irish history and/or with the context within which a debate on sectarianism in Irish history is taking place.
The British government refused to accept the verdict of a large majority of Irish people who opted for independence from Britain at the 1918 General Election. Sinn Féin won 73 of 105 Irish seats and set up a breakaway Dáil (parliament) in January 1919.[3] As a consequence of British suppression of Irish demands and institutions, an increasingly ruthless and bitter military, clandestine, intelligence, propaganda and political struggle broke out between British and Irish forces during 1919-21. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought British counterinsurgency forces. Support for the republican project deepened in the face of British measures that, while effectively brutal, were otherwise ineffective. Protestant and Roman Catholic civil society south of what became the border of the state of Northern Ireland either supported or was effectively neutral toward republican forces, mostly the former. British policy aimed at managing the conflict by encouraging and deepening sectarian division failed, essentially because their republican opponents, while mainly Roman Catholic in religious outlook, were politically anti-sectarian.[4]
However, small but significant counter republican forces based ideologically on Protestant loyalism and support for the British Empire may have been successfully activated. Such groups and individuals faced severe IRA sanction, including execution and deportation. As Third West Cork Flying Column leader Tom Barry put it, ‘The British were met with their own weapons – they had gone down into the mire to destroy us and our nation, and down after them we had to go.’[5] The question is, how far was that?
A truce between the belligerents, preparatory to negotiations, came into force on 11 July 1921.[6] An Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 provided for partial independence for 26 of the country’s 32 counties. The Irish Free State emerged from a split over the Treaty provisions that caused a 1922-23 southern civil war.[7]  The residual Six County statelet of Northern Ireland, which remained inside the United Kingdom, effectively began life by expelling thousands of Roman Catholics and ‘rotten Protestants’ (socialists) from their jobs. It survived by institutionalising and maintaining sectarian discrimination.[8] The permanently governing Ulster Unionist Party oversaw sectarian discrimination until the Northern Ireland parliament was effectively abolished in March 1972, a situation ‘sanctioned by the neglect of successive British governments’.[9]
The path to relative political stability by the mid 1920s was as fractious and bitter as what preceded it. It left a lasting legacy whose parameters are disputed and which acted as a significant influence on the outbreak of ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland after 1968. Disputes over what happened then, between 1919-23, are also frequently disputes over what happened after 1968. Irish history has become intertwined with, and is interpreted within, the framework of Irish politics. Within this fractious exercise British responsibility is frequently abstracted from the picture, replaced with considerations of sectarian strife peculiar to the island of Ireland.
In addition, in recent years emphasis on unionist and British responsibility for sectarianism has shifted. It has been argued that Irish republicans targeted Protestants for sectarian reasons during the WoI, rather than for engaging in largely clandestine activity on behalf of British forces.
GERARD MURPHY’S YEAR OF DISAPPEARANCES
In The Year of Disappearances Gerard Murphy acknowledges his debt to the late Peter Hart who pioneered the republican sectarianism argument in his highly influential The IRA and its Enemies: violence and community in Cork, 1916-1923 (OUP, 1998). Subsequent criticism established that Hart invented evidence and misreported archival material in order to establish his case. Inexplicably, with few exceptions, Irish historians failed to respond to the serious problems raised.[10] Murphy wrote that Hart’s 1998 book ‘is worth the cover price for the sources alone’ and that ‘Hart’s sources’ were his ‘starting point’. (p. 22) [11]
Hart’s argument had strong media supporters. Kevin Myers in the Irish Times and Eoghan Harris in the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, vigorously promoted his research, Myers from 1990 and Harris from 1998. These efforts reflected their opposition to the Northern Ireland peace process up to and after the 1994 IRA ceasefire. Journalist propagandists like Harris and Myers promoted and amplified research with which they politically agreed, while dismissing counter arguments.[12] The impact of their efforts should not be casually dismissed. Thousands of readers without access to a different argument were potentially conditioned to accept a tendentious view of Irish history.
This is the context within which Gerard Murphy’s book has been written and within which, inevitably, it will be interpreted. However, all interpretation, irrespective of origin, should bow before evidence. Without identifiable evidence within historical texts, discussion and debate becomes merely contested rhetoric. It is here, as I shall demonstrate, that Murphy’s book fails.
Murphy acknowledges that his 498 pages and 58 chapters contain ‘at best a theory or, rather a series of interrelated theories’ (p. XI). Numerous problems arise, however, from ill-considered suppositions and speculations. The absence of an adequate scholarly apparatus gives rise to doubts over the work’s merits. It also creates severe difficulties in establishing how Murphy reached his conclusions. Unfortunately, though referenced in notes, the book contains no list of primary sources. A thin bibliography of published work is provided. However, un-paginated citation of published material is of no help.[13] On occasion also Murphy cites unnamed individuals he encountered on his quest, for example: ‘This book was almost finished when I chanced upon an elderly Cork city man’ (p. 301); ‘A number of years ago a friend of mine was driving along one Sunday morning listening to the car radio…’ (p. 245) The impression of a carelessly prepared work rushed into print (for the Christmas market?) is evident. Take page 86 for instance. There, in the second of two mentions, it is reported that there was ‘no branch of the UDA in Cork’. Presumably, instead of this unexplained acronym, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF, founded in 1912) was intended, rather than the Ulster Defence Association (UDA, which emerged in the latter part of 1971).[14] Since ‘The Year of Disappearances’ is advertised as a referenced work of history it therefore lacks prima facie credibility.[15] In most reputable universities such work would not be admissible as research.
MEDIA AMPLIFICATION
Murphy suggests that sectarian strife was a product of Irish Republican Army (IRA) activities in the city of Cork and its environs in the province of Munster, the hotbed of military opposition to British rule during the WoI. It was a period in which the IRA and then anti-Anglo Irish Treaty IRA gained control, a control that began after the Truce and continued to July 1922. This is the period of the so-called ‘Cork Republic’.
Murphy accused the local IRA, in particular its south side No. 2 Cork city battalion, of killing and disappearing Protestants, including teenagers. As with Hart’s research, Murphy’s book attracted significant media attention on publication, from Eoghan Harris, Kevin Myers and (also on this occasion) from John Paul McCarthy.[16]
With media publicity came also examples of a media amplification effect. Harris suggested that Murphy’s figure of 78 (sometimes unknown and unnamed) Protestants he alleges were killed during 1920-22 is ‘not far from the German-Jewish figure of 91’ murdered ‘during the Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht, November 28, 1938’. Not far in total but quite so, time wise. Far, also, from the estimated six million Jews annihilated during World War Two. If Harris opted in his inappropriate comparison for a ‘European perspective’, Myers chose an all-island one. He observed, ‘Most Belfast nationalists know of the terrible things that befell Catholics’ there. He continued, ‘What happened in Cork was actually worse’. To put this comment in perspective, between July 1920 and June 1922, it is estimated that 276 Catholics and 185 Protestants (all named), plus three whose religious identity was indeterminate, were killed in sectarian disturbances in Belfast.[17]
An observation by McCarthy (a young Cork originating historian, who echoes the thoughts of Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris[18]) illustrates our first example of a limitation in Murphy’s approach. Murphy refers on page 194 to ‘the first time I had heard mention’ of Jim and Miah Grey, described as, ‘two of the most prominent IRA gunmen on the North side of Cork city’. He reports the Grey brothers as so intent on killing Protestants they were opposed internally. For example, noted Murphy, in ‘the winter of 1921/22’, an IRA company in Glenville, County Cork, put,
‘a round the clock armed guard on the local demesne, that of Sir Edward Hudson Kinehan… At the time the armed guard was said to be a protection against ‘the Grays’’.[19]
McCarthy praised the book in the Sunday Independent on 7 November 2010. He described the brothers as,
‘two notoriously cruel IRA men from the city’s trigger-happy south side [sic] battalion whose ample defects were still discussed at the drag-hunt meetings in Dripsey that gobbled up my childhood Sundays’:
McCarthy continued,
‘Murphy recounts the dramatic scene during the winter of 1921 when the local IRA company in Glenville posted an armed guard around the local demesne so as to protect the well regarded Protestant Kinehan family against a nocturnal visit from the Grays intent on a rerun of the earlier sectarian massacre at Coolacreese [sic], Co Offaly.’
Aside from McCarthy placing the brothers on the south-side, while Murphy described them as in a north side IRA battalion, there are significant problems with Murphy’s narrative, and with McCarthy’s amplification:
First, Murphy’s evidential basis ‘for this story’ consists of two ‘neighbours in Glenville’, whom he names. This local lore may be a useful source. However, oral history should be triangulated with other evidence (where available). This is desirable to avoid history resting on hearsay;
Second, though it is a ‘story’ which alleges the Greys were contemplating a killing, no evidence is provided that they attempted to carry it out or that they were planning it. What we have is an uncorroborated non-event;
Third, McCarthy’s sly reference to a ‘sectarian massacre at Coolacreese [sic], Co Offaly’ is noteworthy. In Coolacrease in June 1921 the IRA executed two brothers called Pearson for informing and for firing on and severely wounding an IRA road blocking party. McCarthy tendentiously describes it as a sectarian killing, in which he also insinuates the Greys may have participated, when there is far more reasonable evidence to show that the Pearson brothers were killed because they were militarily engaged informers.[20] Nothing suggests Grey brother involvement.
Instead of relying solely on sketchy local lore, Murphy should also have inspected archival material. There, the origin of the oral memory, subsequently exaggerated, may be found. Indeed, UCC historian John Borgonovo has already published on it in an article for The Irish Sword. The Greys ran the IRA’s transport section. They believed, for whatever reason, that in April 1921 Kinehan had somehow obtained car parts reserved by the Greys for the IRA. Consequently, wrote Borgonovo,
‘Six armed Volunteers raided the home of Sir Edward Kinehan. They dismantled his car, took away numerous parts, then destroyed the engine with pick-axes. On the car door, they chalked the message, ‘Don’t take our parts. By Order, Transport Commandant, 1st Brigade IRA’.[21]
So, in this case there was no assassination attempt. The car was executed, not a Protestant knight of the realm. An archival source (in this case an RIC report), while also requiring interrogation, has the value of pinpointing and preserving the time and place of this event. It also clarifies a lingering memory that appears, as reported, to have lost its shape over time. Murphy did not take this elemental step, a failing that permits scope for speculation along possibly pre-conceived lines.
Leaving McCarthy aside, let us now pursue Murphy’s methodology and see where it leads.
‘A FELLA BURIED IN THIS BOG AND… IN THAT BOG’
Murphy’s case rests on being able to show that more people were killed during the conflict than has been recorded. He suggests that this occurred particularly during the closing period of the Anglo-Irish conflict, the period of the Truce after July 1921 and in the six-month interregnum between Treaty split and onset of civil war in June 1922.
Who died? In Murphy’s ‘Appendix II’, the following 12 unnamed and unknown Protestants are listed in ‘Post-Truce/Civil War Killings of civilians in Cork City and Environs’:
Three Protestant Boys – 11-15 July 1921
Six ‘Prominent Citizens’ – 17 March 1922
Three merchants – June 1922
Murphy then lists in Appendix III and IV, missing persons from 1922-26 and missing persons inquiries, 1923-28, produced by the Irish Free State. There is no correlation between Murphy’s speculations in Appendix II and the official lists. There are no links whatever to the IRA in many cases. Here we have Murphy bothering to produce archival data but the problem is that it does not confirm his speculations.
On pages 39-40 Murphy wrote of the origin of his suspicion that the IRA engaged in systematic secretive assassinations, based on unreasonable paranoia. He noted,
‘This was not the history we had learned in school, though it did correlate with what I had learned from neighbours as a child when I’d be told: ‘Well, there was a fella buried in this bog, and there was a fella buried in that bog, and there as another fella tied to a gate and shot in Glashaboy’.’
The 40-odd civilians shot as ‘spies’ by the Cork IRA during the War of independence is likely to be an underestimation, because tramps and those in the margins of society disappeared leaving no record’.
This is followed by note 6 (p. 354) that cites Peter Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies, but no page number. The reader cannot trace these reportedly executed tramps to the information source. Had the reader done so he or she would in any case have been misled. Hart has been criticised for failing to document any evidence of his dead tramps, though he speculated freely on the IRA targeting them and ‘social deviants’, in his final chapter.[22]  While such comments may make media sound bites they are not history. In this case it is also an example of one largely contentless reference (Murphy’s) building upon another (Hart’s). So here, where Murphy provides a gestural reference, he did not check to see whether Hart had sourced his materials, and is apparently unaware that Hart’s scholarship has been questioned.[23] No effort is made to estimate the number of tramps and ‘those in the margins of society’ in order to come up with an estimate of the numbers of non-recorded killings in the conflict. What we have here is merely speculation. It is essentially a faith-based history that is a logical outcome of Peter Hart’s sometimes-questionable methodology.
The nub of Gerard Murphy’s argument requires him to establish who organised the disappearing and shooting of uninvolved Protestants. He stipulates that three leading Cork IRA members were responsible. They are:
IRA head of intelligence, Florence O’Donoghue;
Josephine O’Donoghue (wife of Florence as of April 1921), an IRA spy who worked for General Strickland, the British Army Commander in Cork;
Cork No. 1 Brigade leader, Sean O’Hegarty.
Murphy does not establish what O’Hegarty, ‘a fierce ascetic and atheist’ (p. 15), has against Protestants, and his case against the O’Donoghues is entirely speculative. The O’Donoghues are regarded by Murphy as primarily responsible.
DROWNED IN PARANOIA
In his review of the book, Eoghan Harris accurately and supportively summarised Murphy’s portrayal of a ‘depraved’ Florence O’Donoghue and his ‘sinister’ wife Josephine. (Examiner, 5 November) They are accused by Murphy of executing Protestant teenagers and Josephine’s Protestant neighbours in a series of ‘what if’ scenarios that encapsulate the book’s ‘methodology’.
Murphy argued that Josephine was ‘paranoid’ (p. 316). How so? A son from her first marriage to a British soldier, who was killed in the First World War, was retained by her late husband’s anti-Catholic family in Britain. In return for Josephine’s offer to the IRA to spy on General Strickland her son was sensationally either kidnapped or liberated (or both, depending on point of view) in November 1920 by Florence O’Donoghue and five other IRA volunteers. He was returned to Cork where Josephine’s sister hid him. In April 1921 Florence and Josephine married.[24]
Murphy speculated that Josephine’s paranoia was due to the publicity surrounding this event. She became ‘frightened of her Protestant neighbours’ and ‘turned on them in case they might inform on her’, while scaring off others (p. 114, emph. in original, see also ‘Map 2’). The arrest of a father and son named Blemens on 29 November 1920 by the IRA and their subsequent execution for spying, is given as the prime example, as they lived near Josephine. However, Josephine’s then mother in law in Barry in Wales received anonymous letters ‘stating that the little boy was in Cork with his mother’. Florence O’Donoghue thought the sender was ‘a Miss Murphy who lived at No 3 Roxboro Terrace’, beside Josephine (ibid). Miss Murphy was unharmed despite proof of being suspected in this regard. Gerard Murphy glides past the fact, before fixating on the Blemens family and an assumption of paranoia on the part of Josephine.
Supposition devoid of a scintilla of corroborative evidence supports the unstable foundation of this argument. The argument, however, proceeds apace.
Take page 310. Murphy comments on Florence O’Donoghue’s correspondence with his wife in June 1921, written while he was separated on IRA duties. A letter of 17 June revealed, writes Murphy, ‘very little… to suggest that dramatic happenings might be taking place in Roxboro Terrace’ where Josephine resided at No. 4. Murphy observes, however, ‘the lack of direct reference… may itself be grounds for suspicion.’ One or two ‘hints’ in the letter may ‘cast a new and extraordinary light’ on a previously reported Times of London article of 18 May 1922, in which ‘somebody’s child’ was abducted along the Blackrock Road, Cork city, again near Josephine’s house (p. 307). Though no other newspaper reported the alleged abduction and no archival trace of it can be found, Murphy considers the story of great significance. He asks,
‘was [Josephine] the ‘mysterious individual in a motor car’ who was involved in the actual abduction? The use of the word ‘individual’ rather than ‘man’ is interesting.’ (p. 309)
Yes, quite interesting. We move now to the ‘extraordinary light’ Florence’s letter allegedly casts on this dramatic episode, from which Murphy deduces Josephine’s role. O’Donoghue’s 17 June letter to his wife contains, writes Murphy, ‘one cryptic reference to matters in the city’:
‘some friends from Cork tell me you were , so to say, on active service one day a while ago. But there was nothing doing apparently’.
O’Donoghue then asks his wife to be ‘careful’. Murphy comments, ‘this of course could be interpreted to mean anything’. According to Murphy it could mean that Josephine was a ‘mysterious individual in a motor car’ who abducted a teenager. By the same token it could mean that Florence was advising his wife simply to be careful while carrying out her IRA duties.
Murphy makes further deductions on the basis of a letter of 20 June. In a closing paragraph on family matters Florence O’Donoghue commented on a 20 June Cork Examiner report of a small family boat involved in an unconnected aquatic accident. O’Donoghue refers to ‘a boating accident…. and there was a youngster in it’. He wonders, on the basis that his wife was a keen yachtswoman, if it ‘was your party, ye seem to have a pretty taste in accidents of that kind. Glad to see that nothing worse than a ducking befell anybody’. [25] Murphy observes, ‘Again, this could be interpreted in many different ways’. Indeed it could, but Murphy is determined on this:
‘considering that we have already speculated [!] that boys may [!] have been taken and thrown into the sea along with YMCA provisions during [IRA] raids on the harbour in mid-June, and also that [Henry A] Harris appears [!] to have been drowned in Boulogne, this is an amazing coincidence’. (p. 310-11, see also p. 312)
‘Amazing’ indeed. On this reasoning, that includes reference to an event that occurred one year later in March 1923, Murphy insinuates that Josephine was drowning as well as abducting Protestant teenagers.
At the risk of drowning the reader in detail it is necessary to explain Murphy’s reference to Henry A Harris. Harris had been a prominent Cork Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) member who Murphy believes was deliberately killed by drowning in France in March 1923 (Ch. 39, ‘A Boulogne Mystery’, pp. 207-11, citing the Irish Times, 26 March 1923, Cork Examiner, 21 April 1923).
However, on page 211 we read, ‘We are not 100 per cent sure of course, that the body found in Boulogne harbour was that of H.A. Harris’. In fact, apart from, ‘his age was about right’, that Harris was English and the body was assumed to be, no evidence suggests that it was. A subsequent press report that ‘I/O IRA’ killed this unknown individual, as a ‘traitor to Irish Republic’, was later again reported a ‘definitely established’ hoax, perpetrated by yet another Englishman (Irish Times, 9, 23 April 1923) For Murphy, however, ‘this was almost certainly an IRA job’, the use of ‘I/O’ (for ‘Intelligence Officer’), being the determining factor in Murphy’s view. In support, he reports that records of the East Bristol YMCA in England, where Harris was General Secretary to the end of 1922, subsequently went missing. On this basis alone, he writes that the Irish Times ‘hoax’ article was ‘dissimulation’, and also, ‘It suggests that somebody in Britain wanted to keep the facts of the drowning a secret’. Who and for what particular or peculiar reason Murphy does not explain. In an initial Times of London report (26 March 2010, not cited by Murphy) police suggested that the individual, whose possessions were missing, was robbed after he drowned and after his body was washed up on shore.
The reason Harris is swept into Murphy’s narrative is because, in a previous chapter (Ch. 18, ‘The Cork YMCA’, pp. 100-07), Murphy discusses and dismisses IRA assertions that a pro-British intelligence ring operated out of the Cork YMCA. The reason Murphy is on the trail of Harris in the first place is because,
‘Harris would have made a good candidate as the leader of an alleged spy ring operating out of the YMCA…. I have found no evidence from any surviving IRA men’s accounts that he was ever shot by the IRA or targeted or that his name was ever known, but he was the head man of the Munster YMCA during the War of independence. Therefore he would make for a logical target’. (p. 207-208)
There is, in other words, no evidence the IRA was after Harris in the first place. Therefore, not a scintilla of hard evidence justifies including Chapter 39 in the book. It is an evidential dead end[26] and Murphy’s readers have entered a speculative wilderness.
On the IRA suggestion that there may have been clandestine activity on the part of some Cork YMCA members, Murphy dismisses it. ‘Going through the records of the YMCA from 1915 to 1924’ convinces him that the YMCA was not a ‘secret service agency’ or even a ‘cover up’ for one (p. 103, 104). This reasoning is naive. It is doubtful if a group of the clandestine type the IRA alleged existed would have detailed their activities in the YMCA minute book. That would be foolish. On the same basis, hunting through Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) records might fail to uncover evidence of Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) infiltration, though it occurred. Murphy could have taken a hint from the YMCA General Committee Year Book, in which he is surprised by ‘how little the YMCA seemed to be affected by the conflict going on around it’ (p. 105). Preserving the stated purpose of such an organisation would be essential for a group operating ‘under-the-cover’ of the YMCA. To maintain security and credibility, most YMCA members would surely be entirely unaware of the use to which their organisation may have been put. Surprisingly, this possibility does not appear to have occurred to Murphy.
The piling of unproven assumptions one on top of the other leaves the discerning reader underwhelmed.
YMCA TOILET PAPER
‘[T]his is all mere speculation’. (Gerard Murphy, p. 147)
Eleven pages on from his boating incident commentary and with no further substantive argument, Murphy writes, ‘I am now of the view’ that the O’Donoghues and, Sean O’Hegarty,
‘snatched local Protestant teenagers – of 16 years and upwards who may or may not have been connected with spying activities – and used them as hostages against British executions of IRA prisoners’. (p. 321)
Dan O’Brien was the last IRA prisoner to be executed on 16 May 1921 (p. 313). Murphy suggests that a group of teenagers was ‘snatched’ in the first two weeks of May to place pressure on the British not to shoot O’Brien. They were shot, alleges Murphy, after O’Brien was. The reason this IRA activity has no extant evidential basis is, suggests Murphy, because even the British,
‘covered up the blackmail and reported to Dublin Castle that the boys had been conscripted into the IRA’. (p. 322)
Why the British should do this strange thing is not clear. Even more peculiarly, ‘a month later [16 June 1921], with more prisoners on death row, the trick was tried again’. (p. 322) Why, when it did not work the first time? Murphy has already admitted that O’Brien was the last to be shot. Furthermore, it appears that O’Donoghue knew he would remain the last. He wrote on 15 June 1921, ‘Official reprisals are certainly at an end, which is a big victory for us’. And, on 16 June, ‘I think the shooting of men for having arms and levying war is at an end’.[27] Undaunted, Murphy alleges that the IRA,
‘now leave a note in the YMCA toilet, intended to be passed on to the military, either to warn against spying, or supplying the military or that the boys would be shot if the British returned to official executions’. (p. 322)
It sounds like a complicated message. What did it say? We must turn back 216 pages to page 106, where YMCA minutes note,
‘the discovery in the downstairs toilet of the YMCA (which was used by the public) of ‘a piece of paper… purporting to come from the CO IRA, Cork District, containing a threat’[…]. There is no hint as to what the threat actually was.’
Within Murphy’s methodology, ignorance is no barrier to certainty. The truth is, Murphy cannot demonstrate that the IRA snatched, imprisoned or shot two groups of Protestant teenagers. Murphy’s case is built almost entirely on supposition. His evidence, where evident, appears to consist of local lore, partial and vague archival references, and his imagination.
For an exercise in sustained supposition with regard to allegedly missing persons based on no hard evidence, however, Chapter 50, ‘St Patrick’s Day Parade’ (pp. 268-277), is possibly the best example.
Here Murphy discusses the alleged kidnapping of his ‘Six ‘Prominent Citizens’ – 17 March 1922’ listed in Appendix II. His discussion is based on ‘confirmation… of a rumour… that some prominent local supporters of the Treaty were recently kidnapped’ (Irish Times, 21 March 1922, in Murphy, p. 269). Murphy supposes (without describing how or why) that these were ‘lower middle class Protestants’ (p. 271), who he cannot name and whose relatives never sought their whereabouts. They ‘simply disappeared’. (p. 270) Murphy suggests,
‘Secrecy and censorship… makes a space in which it is possible for all kinds of people to have disappeared. It appears that the reaction of the families involved was in effect to collude with this silence out of fear of attracting even more violence’.  (p. 272).
Murphy notes by way, it must be assumed, of corroboration, ‘I have not been able to find any’ references to the event in state papers. (p. 385, n. 21) Murphy has based his theory on a rumour devoid of substance. The absence of evidence reinforces Murphy’s belief system, rather than (as in most social science and other forms of rational enquiry) acting to change his hypothesis. Instead, Murphy attempts to make the past fit his point of view.
On pages 273-274 Murphy cites various contemporary Protestant statements condemning unionist attacks on Catholics in Northern Ireland. They were invariably accompanied by statements that the Protestant community in the south ‘never suffered from intolerance’. (p. 273). This included ‘50 Cork business leaders’ whose ‘denial’, writes Murphy, ‘of the events of St Patrick’s Day was absolute’, absolute in the sense that these alleged ‘events’ did not penetrate their consciousness. Instead (p. 274), the business leaders called on the Northern Ireland Government to re-instate the up to 10,000 Roman Catholics who had been expelled from their work in Harland and Wolfe and other shipyards and workplaces in July 1920 by unionist mobs.[28]
Murphy concludes from this evidence of no sectarian targeting aimed in their direction:
‘It is … clear from this that, for the Cork business community and for Southern Protestants in general, suppression was the price of survival.’ (p.274)
Murphy continues, ‘the YMCA general committee remained unchanged…. and kept on meeting as if nothing had happened. Indeed, there is no reference…  in YMCA minutes’.
In other words, where Murphy has no evidence that something happened, he cites further evidence undermining the suggestion. In Murphy’s methodology this becomes confirmation that the alleged event did in fact happen. Maybe it should occur to him that indeed, ‘nothing… happened’.
A sub-theme pursued by Murphy is that if Church of Ireland Anglicans were oblivious to events, then their low church Protestant counterparts, in particular Methodists for some reason, were sectarian victims (Ch. 44, ‘Clerical Errors’, p. 232-241).  Unfortunately, Methodists were equally uncooperative in confirming Murphy’s thesis. Murphy cites the Rev. Alfred Harbinson, a Methodist minister in Dunmanway who stated after the exceptional April 27-29 killings of 13 Protestants in the Bandon Valley that, contrary to mistaken reports, he had been ‘neither visited or attacked’ and,
‘Never at any time have I been molested or interfered with in any way. I have always received the utmost courtesy from the people of the town and surrounding community’.
Murphy, then observes, ‘All the evidence from a variety of sources suggests that Rev. Harbinson did in fact flee’. (p. 274) He cites, precisely, none. The Reverend gentleman is portrayed, on no evidence whatever, as an unreliable reporter of his own experience. Cork’s most prominent Methodist, Crown Solicitor Jasper Wolfe, insisted afterwards that though he was subject to attack, this was not because of his religious beliefs, but rather due to his leading position within the British administration during a period of armed conflict. His grandson biographer recently expressed ‘surprise’ at allegations of republican or nationalist sectarianism. Jasper Wolfe had never raised them in often told tales of being,
‘kidnapped by the IRA, or attempts to shoot him, or of his house on the outskirts of Skibbereen being occupied by Republicans or Freestaters in turn. But I never heard any suggestion of sectarian hostility towards the Wolfes, whether from the I.R.A., from their Catholic neighbours, or indeed from any Catholics at all’.[29]
LOYALISTS Vs PROTESTANTS
Where Murphy relies on published sources for evidence of extra unrecorded killings it reflects further weaknesses in his argument. On page 328 (of 408 in Chapter 57, of 58), Murphy cites a June 1922 statement from the Irish Compensation Claims Committee complaining of ‘more murders of loyalists, ex-soldiers, ex-policemen than have been reported to the [British] House of Commons’ (Irish Times, 2 June 1922). Murphy supports this allegation. However, a section of the same committee report not cited by Murphy mentions ‘the position of Southern loyalists’. The ‘expulsion is not confined to Protestants’. It refers to, ‘a very large number of the exiles’ being  ‘Roman Catholics … members of the old nationalist Party of Mr Redmond’ that was superseded by Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election. Anti Protestant activity is alleged to be concentrated in West Cork, where ‘nearly every Protestant trader and small farmer has been expelled’. This is the only mention of Protestants per se and relates to the fearful and understandable exodus after the April 27-29 killings of 13 Protestant civilians in the Bandon Valley.[30] Who are the culprits? The statement explains:
‘The Irish terror is directed against all who own any property or capital, or are supposed to belong to the so-called “bourgeois” class.’
The controlling influence is said to be the ‘Irish Transport Union’ and ‘the anti capitalist influences of the Third International’. In short, the source blames communists for these attacks, rather than the IRA.  While such misstatements are expected in propaganda intended to secure compensation, they are highly problematic as a historical source.  Even then, the statement undermines charges of sectarianism, since both southern loyalists and home rulers are said to have been the targets.[31]
In Murphy’s methodology, the lack of evidence for something always becomes evidence of its existence when that is convenient. Do we have examples of him doing it the other way when it suits him?
In his passion to pursue rather than control his speculations, Murphy misrepresents more representative Protestant views. Again on page 328, Murphy asserts that ‘the disappearance of youngsters…. truly traumatised the Protestant community’. At the end of July 1922, according to Murphy, ‘the Southern Protestant Appeal, set up to support families who were fleeing the south drew up a declaration’. Murphy cited it in reference to ‘Protestant residents in Southern Ireland’, who,
‘desire to express our abhorrence of sectional bitterness manifesting itself in acts of violence. We earnestly hope that recent horrible reprisals, culminating in the killing of children, will make it clear that citizens of all creed and classes must unite in a most determined effort to secure peace’.
At first glance, this does appear to be significant, in particular ‘the killing of children’ reference. However, this appeal made its first public appearance in the Irish Times on 7 April 1921, nearly four months earlier. The Southern Protestant Appeal did not relate to Protestants in Southern Ireland. It arose from concern at violence against Catholics in Northern Ireland. The appeal therefore did state what Murphy cited above, but with reference to the killings in the North. The appeal continued, in a passage that Murphy does not cite, with the following observation,
‘We further desire as members of religious minorities in Southern Ireland, to put on record that the South of Ireland has been notably free from sectarian violence’.
This statement was made, let us remind ourselves, in April 1921 after two years of often-bitter conflict and two months before the Truce. It was instigated by a letter to the Irish Times from an EA Aston, a Protestant, on 21 March and supported by ‘Belfast Catholic’ on 24 March, who referred to ‘a bomb thrown amongst Catholic children in Weaver Street’ in Belfast, in the North, not in the South. The ‘killing of children’ reference was to the killing of Catholic children not Protestants. It is of significance that southern Protestants did not support the contention that they were subject to sectarian attack.
One exception to this rule appears to be the April 27-29 1922 killings in the Bandon Valley of 13 Protestant civilians. The Protestant Convention, that paralleled the Southern Protestant Appeal, met on 11 May 1922 and stated,
‘apart from this incident, hostility to Protestants by reason of their religion has been almost, if not wholly, unknown in the twenty six counties in which Protestants are in the minority’. (Irish Times, Independent, 12 May, 1922)
While Murphy selectively quotes from the Southern Protestant Appeal and misreports its origins, I can find no reference to the parallel Protestant Convention in Murphy’s book. I raise the issue because Florence O’Donoghue’s leading role in the IRA was then coming to an end. He resigned from the IRA at the end of June 1922 and stayed neutral in the ensuing Civil War that commenced on 20 June (p. 317). Murphy’s problem is this:  at the height of O’Donoghue’s alleged sectarian reign of terror against Cork Protestants, southern Protestants were claiming that they were not targeted on a sectarian basis. Murphy’s solution to this problem is (as noted) to accuse Protestants of lying about their own experiences. Murphy has preconceived speculations that he is unwilling to test carefully against the evidence.
JOHN BORGONOVO’S RESEARCH
‘Further evidence may ultimately suggest that even my most closely argued theories are wrong.’ (Gerard Murphy, p. 29)
In 2007, in 198 pages and nine chapters, John Borgonovo ploughed the same ground as Murphy. His concisely composed Spies, informers and the ‘Anti-Sinn Fein Society’, the Intelligence War in Cork City 1920-21 (Irish Academic Press, 2007) covered the same series of IRA executions that Murphy analyses. It was completed originally in 1997 as an MA thesis in University College Cork (UCC), prior to publication of Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies in 1998.[32] Borgonovo also edited Florence and Josephine O’Donoghue’s War of Independence, a destiny that shapes our ends (IAP, 2006). Though Murphy stated (p. 22) that Hart’s published work provided the stimulus for his research, Borgonovo’s may have provided its structure. The O’Donoghue’s demeanour as anti-Protestants in chief in Murphy’s research does not tally with Borgonovo’s portrayal. Borgonovo revealed how Josephine was working for the British Army commander in Cork, General Strickland, as an IRA spy. Under her codename, ‘G’, she was the source of valuable intelligence information used not only in Cork but also in Dublin by Michael Collins, the head of intelligence. Borgonovo carefully evaluated evidence and suggested that IRA intelligence appeared extensive and absent of sectarian intent.[33]
GRAVES
One aspect of Murphy’s research has already excited media attention[34] and may also attract the official version. It suggests where bodies of some of those executed during the conflict are buried. It is a fact that some were never recovered. Borgonovo noted that Martin Corry, an IRA volunteer and subsequently a Fianna Fail TD, regularly ‘boasted’ that his land was one location.[35] In addition, a colour photograph in Gerard Murphy’s book, facing page 143, contains the caption,
‘The clump of trees at Frankfield, Ballycureen, where three Protestant boys who were executed by the 2nd battalion of the city IRA are believed to be buried’
If they are there, the authorities may take an interest in the recovery of human remains. The remit of the commission tasked with recovering bodies after the recent conflict in the North of Ireland could be expanded to examine this.
CONCLUSION
Gerard Murphy, who has written two novels, has produced novel material in a work that began life as a novel. (p. XI) It may soon feature, as with Peter Hart’s research, in Orange Order commentaries.[36] But it should be treated as fiction until better evidence is provided. Southern Protestants consistently rejected unionist claims that the IRA was deliberately targeting Protestants.[37] Some committed loyalists begged to differ, not Protestants generally, including many unionists. Much better evidence needs to be supplied than Murphy provides to overturn the judgment of those most likely to have had such fears.
Gerard Murphy’s is not a history based on Michael Oakshot’s dictum that,  ‘History is what the evidence compels us to believe’. It is rather based on what Gerard Murphy believes. Evidence in these circumstances is a useful support but not essential. Not only does Murphy fail to supply appropriate compelling evidence for what he believes, he also manages to provide sufficient warrant to show that his case is riddled with contradictions. The best that can be said for the book is that it was published in an unfinished condition. There may be a better smaller book hiding inside. The back dust cover includes an accurate statement from Professor Eunan O’Halpin of Trinity College Dublin that the work will ‘stir up controversy’. It will and it should, controversy about the lapses in historical standards and the absence of historical method that are prevalent in some revisionist histories of the Irish War of Independence and its aftermath.
[1] Sometimes referred to as ‘the Tan war’ (after the British ‘Black & Tans’ counterinsurgency force), usually to undermine the impression that full independence resulted.
[2] See note 10.
[3] Dorothy Macardle, The Irish Republic, Wolfhound, 3rd ed., 1999, pp. 266, 271-76. Most of the remainder were won by unionists in the province of Ulster.
[4] An unsurpassed survey of the Anglo-Irish conflict that discusses the sectarian and propaganda aspects of British policy is a participant’s account, Frank Gallagher, The Four Glorious Years, Blackwater, 2005 (originally publ., David Hogan, pseud., Irish Press, 1953). Gallagher, the last person prosecuted by a Free State military tribunal in 1931 and the first Editor of the Irish Press, also pioneered analysis of the sectarian structure and practices of the Northern Ireland statelet and of its private sphere, The Indivisible Island, Gollancz, 1956.
[5] Cited on rear dust cover of Meda Ryan, Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Mercier, 2003
[6] Macardle, op cit, p. 477.
[7] Ibid, Chapters 64-76, pp. 608-754.
[8] See G.B. Kenna, Facts and Figures, The Belfast Pogroms, 1920-22, Donaldson Archives, 1997; also note following.
[9] See Michael Farrell, Northern Ireland, the Orange State, 2nd ed., Pluto, 1980; John D. Brewer and Gareth I. Higgins, Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland, 1600-1998: the Mote and the Beam, Macmillan Press, 1999; Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s ordeal, 1966-1996, and the search for peace, Hutchinson, 1995; John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, Explaining Northern Ireland, Blackwell, 2003, p.45.
[10] See Meda Ryan, Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Mercier, 2003; Brian Murphy, The Origin and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland in 1920, Spinwatch-Aubane, 2006; John Borgonovo, Spies, Informers and the ‘Anti Sinn Fein Society’, IAP, 2007; Brian Murphy, Niall Meehan, Troubled History, a 10th Anniversary Critique of Peter Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies, Aubane, 2008; Niall Meehan, Distorting Irish History, the stubborn facts of Kilmichael: Peter Hart and Irish Historiography, at www,spinwatch.org, 2010. See http://gcd.academia.edu/NiallMeehan. The following also addressed Peter Hart’s questionable methodology:  Brendan O’Leary, ‘A Long March,’ Dublin Review of Books, No. 5, Spring 2008, at www.drb.ie; Conor Kostick, Revolution in Ireland, Popular Militancy 1917-1923, 2nd ed., Cork University Press, 2009, pp. 102-3.
[11] At a Centre for Contemporary Irish Research Seminar in Trinity College on November 3rd, chaired by Eunan O’Halpin, Murphy reported Peter Hart’s work as the initial and continuing inspiration for his research.
[12] See Niall Meehan, 2010, op cit.
[13] Also, unpublished theses cited by Murphy are not listed in the bibiography. One is cited in a misleading manner, on pages 42, 82, 360 and 393. On page 42 a source for ‘Table 3. List of civilians killed in the environs of Cork city during the War of Independence’ is given simply as ‘Miller-Borgonovo’. This hyphenated individual is not indexed, though a ‘Borgonovo, John’ is indexed as making his first appearance on page 82 (not 42). There, a ‘John Miller Borgonovo’ (without hyphen) is named as the author of the ‘most recent detailed work’ on ‘executions carried out by the Cork No 1 Brigade in Cork city’. This is cited as ‘Informers, Intelligence and the Anti-Sinn Féin Society, the Anglo Irish Conflict in Cork City 1920-21’ (note, the term ‘Anti Sinn Fein Society’ should be in inverted commas). This is followed by note 6 in which the work is again named and dated as a 1998 University College Cork (UCC) MA thesis (p. 360). The note concludes by misnaming the 2007 Irish Academic Press book by ‘John Borgonovo’ that is based on, but also updates, the thesis. That book is ‘Spies, Informers and the ‘Anti-Sinn Féin Society’, the Intelligence War in Cork City’. Murphy again leaves out the important inverted commas surrounding ‘Anti-Sinn Féin Society’. He also omits the hyphen between ‘Anti’ and ‘Sinn Féin’, substitutes ‘League’ for ‘Society’ and omits the sub-title. In the bibliography (p. 393) these mistakes, apart from the now included subtitle, are repeated. To sum up, the 1998 Borgonovo thesis that Murphy names in his main text and cites in note 6, p. 82, is not the ‘most recent detailed work’ on the subject, Borgonovo’s misnamed (pp. 360, 393) 2007 book is. More on Borgonovo’s significant research later.
[14] Coogan, op cit, p. 130. Also, On page. 246, Professor John A Murphy is criticised for asserting ‘There was no ethnic cleansing on [Cork city’s] South Mall’, the up market commercial and financial district said to be dominated by a well to do Protestants. Neither the source, The Sunday Independent (4 October 2004), or the context, (a meeting of Reform, an organisation wishing to take the Irish Republic back in to the British Commonwealth), is given. Murphy observed, ‘Irish Protestants in the 26 counties suffered population decline, grievously in the 1914-23 period and more gradually thereafter. There are many explanations for this phenomenon, active persecution being the least plausible… the notion that tens of thousands of Protestants were compelled to flee their shops and farms is Paisleyite myth-mongering.’ Murphy, it should be stated, supports the argument that individual Protestants ‘were victims of Catholic sectarian nationalism masquerading as republicanism in places like west Cork’ and sources his view within Peter Hart’s research. Murphy replied to newspaper criticism from Eoghan Harris and from John Paul McCarthy on this point. He stood over his original comment. (Examiner, 5, 10 November 2010; Sunday Independent 7, 14 November 2010)
[15] See, http://www.gillmacmillan.ie/history/history/the-year-of-disappearances (accessed 9 November 2010).
[16] Eoghan Harris promoted the book in the Examiner, 5 November 2010. John Paul McCarthy wrote similarly in the Sunday Independent on 7 November. On 12 November in the Irish Independent, Kevin Myers observed in his commentary, ‘I invented the entire subject of historical journalism for the period 1914-23’. He continued, ‘my exclusion by the Irish Times from its supplement to mark the 90th anniversary of the [1916] Rising was one of several reasons why I resigned from that newspaper’.
[17] G.B. Kenna, op cit, p101. Kenna names and dates the victims. Of the 185 Protestants, up to half were probably killed by Catholics, mostly from belief that they were acting in self-defence. The remainder were said to be victims of indiscriminate unionist firing and attempts by the British military to repel unionist attacks on Catholics (ibid, pp. 101-114).
[18] See for example, John-Paul McCarthy, ‘Lost chance to write the Workers’ Party history’, Sunday Independent, 8 November, 2009.
[19] While Murphy and, following him, McCarthy use ‘Gray’, ‘Grey’ is the more usual spelling in the literature. I am informed by Manus O’Riordan (email, 15 Nov 2010), son of Michael, below, ‘There is not the slightest evidence to support the charge of sectarianism against the Greys. Quite the contrary. When Michael O’Riordan was expelled from the Labour Party in 1944 – following his public stand against the anti-Semitism of Cork Labour Councillor Tim Quill – and went on to establish the Cork Socialist Party, Jim Grey became one of the most active campaigners on O’Riordan’s behalf in the subsequent [14 June] 1946 Cork [Borough] by-election [in which O’Riordan obtained more votes than Tom Barry, see http://electionsireland.org – NM]’.
[20] The Coolacrease killings were the subject of a controversial 2007 RTE documentary involving Eoghan Harris. For a critique, see, Philip O’Connor, Paddy Heaney, Pat Muldowney, Coolacrease: the True Story of the Pearson Executions, an Incident in the Irish War of Independence, Aubane, 2008. See also Niall Meehan and also (separately) Philip O’Connor and Pat Muldowney’s response in Dublin Review of Books, No. 11, Autumn 2009, to a review by Tom Wall in issue No. 9, available at www.drb.ie.
[21] John Borgonovo, ‘The Guerrilla Infrastructure: IRA Special Services in the Cork No. 1 Brigade, 1917-1921,’ The Irish Sword, XXVII, No. 108, pp. 215-16. Borgonovo’s sources are, n. 53, RIC Daily Reports, 8 – 14 April 1921. This is not an obscure source.
[22] Hart, 1998, op cit, p. 311. One reason ‘tramps’ sometimes received attention from the IRA was that the British army were in the habit of sending soldiers out disguised as tramps. See Florence O’Donoghue, No other law, Irish Press, 1954, p. 119.
[23] See note 10.
[24] Murphy, notes that this story ‘has been described in detail elsewhere’. It is the O’Donoghue’s own story, in John Borgonovo, ed, Florence and Josephine O’Donoghue’s War of independence, a destiny that shapes our ends (IAP, 2006). Unsurprisingly, the O’Donoghue’s memories of these years do not correspond with Gerard Murphy’s views.
[25] The episode is also mentioned in Borgonovo, ed, 2006, p. 174, 188-9, n. 47, which publishes the letters series.
[26] A logical place to pursue the matter would be in Boulogne itself, but there is no evidence that Murphy thought of or did this.
[27] In Borgonovo, ed, 2006, p. 170, 171
[28] G.B. Kenna, op cit., p. 22, citing Protestant expelled worker, James Baird, in the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 11 November 1920, who gives this figure.
[29] Jasper Ungoed-Thomas, Jasper Wolfe of Skibbereen, Collins Press, 2008, pp. 143-4, 220-1; Jasper Ungoed-Thomas, ‘IRA Sectarianism in Skibbereen?’ Skibbereen and District Historical Society Journal, Vol. 6, 2010. p. 97.
[30] The incident climaxed Peter Hart’s conclusion (op. cit.) that the IRA was sectarian toward Protestants. For a counter view, see Meda Ryan, ‘‘The Dunmanway find’ of Informers’ Dossier’, in Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Mercier, 2005, pp. 209-229.
[31] Irish Times, 2 June 1922. The same page reports 200 refugees from unionist sectarianism in Belfast being transferred to the Marlborough Hall, Dublin.
[32] Borgonovo, 2007, op cit, p. 1.
[33] Ibid, passim.
[34] See Kevin Myers, op. cit.; and, prior to the book’s publication, Andrew Bushe, ‘Have secret files solved 85-yr-old murder mystery?’, Sunday Mirror, 1 July 2007.
[35] John Borgonovo, ‘The Guerrilla Infrastructure: IRA Special Services in the Cork No. 1 Brigade, 1917-1921,’ The Irish Sword, XXVII, No. 108, pp. 211-13
[36] See interview with Orange Order Grand Secretary Drew Nelson, Irish Times, 17 June 2006.
[37] A useful exploration is contained in four articles in Church & State, No. 86, Autumn 2006: Eamon Dyas, ‘The Crown Campaign Against Protestant Neutrality in Cork During the Irish War of Independence’; Editorial, ‘Ireland in 1921: Dr. Fitzpatrick Puts Mr. Bury’s Foot in It’; Joe Keenan, Dennis Kennedy, ‘Protestant Refugees: Semantics or Accuracy?’; Sean McGouran, ‘Robin Bury’s Faulty Witness’. It is available at, http://free-magazines.atholbooks.org/c&s/cs86.pdf. See also http://free-magazines.atholbooks.org/c&s/cs90.pdf for Manus O’Riordan, ‘Tom Barry and Sectarian Degradation’, Church and State, No. 90, Autumn 2007. The issue is also discussed by Niall Meehan, ‘Frank Gallagher and land agitation – a response to Tom Wall’s ‘Getting Them Out, Southern Loyalists in the War of Independence’’ (DRB, Issue 9 Spring 2009)’, Dublin Review of Books, Issue 11, Autumn 2009; ‘Top People, review of The Irish Establishment 1879-1914, by Fergus Campbell’, Dublin Review of Books, Issue 14, Summer 2010 – available at www.drb.ie and at, http://gcd.academia.edu/NiallMeehan/Papers.

Nial Meehan has contacted us and has pointed us to an article he wrote some time ago, thank you for submitting the article to us , his words are below:
My review (the first) of Gerard Murphy’s The Year of Disappearances:
Niall Meehan, 17th November 2010Gerard Murphy’s ‘The Year of Disappearances, Political Killings in Cork, 1921-1922’, published by Gill & Macmillan on 29 October 2010, purportedly examines the period of the so-called ‘Cork Republic’ during 1921-22. Murphy alleges that the Cork IRA killed and ‘disappeared’ sometimes-uninvolved Cork Protestants, including teenagers, in the final phase of the 1919-21 Irish War of Independence (WoI)[1] and its aftermath. This is a controversial thesis and part of a debate whose parameters have been much publicised and discussed for over a decade.[2]INTRODUCTIONBefore tackling the book, it is necessary to give a brief historical introduction for those unfamiliar with this period in Irish history and/or with the context within which a debate on sectarianism in Irish history is taking place.
The British government refused to accept the verdict of a large majority of Irish people who opted for independence from Britain at the 1918 General Election. Sinn Féin won 73 of 105 Irish seats and set up a breakaway Dáil (parliament) in January 1919.[3] As a consequence of British suppression of Irish demands and institutions, an increasingly ruthless and bitter military, clandestine, intelligence, propaganda and political struggle broke out between British and Irish forces during 1919-21. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought British counterinsurgency forces. Support for the republican project deepened in the face of British measures that, while effectively brutal, were otherwise ineffective. Protestant and Roman Catholic civil society south of what became the border of the state of Northern Ireland either supported or was effectively neutral toward republican forces, mostly the former. British policy aimed at managing the conflict by encouraging and deepening sectarian division failed, essentially because their republican opponents, while mainly Roman Catholic in religious outlook, were politically anti-sectarian.[4] However, small but significant counter republican forces based ideologically on Protestant loyalism and support for the British Empire may have been successfully activated. Such groups and individuals faced severe IRA sanction, including execution and deportation. As Third West Cork Flying Column leader Tom Barry put it, ‘The British were met with their own weapons – they had gone down into the mire to destroy us and our nation, and down after them we had to go.’[5] The question is, how far was that?A truce between the belligerents, preparatory to negotiations, came into force on 11 July 1921.[6] An Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 provided for partial independence for 26 of the country’s 32 counties. The Irish Free State emerged from a split over the Treaty provisions that caused a 1922-23 southern civil war.[7]  The residual Six County statelet of Northern Ireland, which remained inside the United Kingdom, effectively began life by expelling thousands of Roman Catholics and ‘rotten Protestants’ (socialists) from their jobs. It survived by institutionalising and maintaining sectarian discrimination.[8] The permanently governing Ulster Unionist Party oversaw sectarian discrimination until the Northern Ireland parliament was effectively abolished in March 1972, a situation ‘sanctioned by the neglect of successive British governments’.[9]The path to relative political stability by the mid 1920s was as fractious and bitter as what preceded it. It left a lasting legacy whose parameters are disputed and which acted as a significant influence on the outbreak of ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland after 1968. Disputes over what happened then, between 1919-23, are also frequently disputes over what happened after 1968. Irish history has become intertwined with, and is interpreted within, the framework of Irish politics. Within this fractious exercise British responsibility is frequently abstracted from the picture, replaced with considerations of sectarian strife peculiar to the island of Ireland. In addition, in recent years emphasis on unionist and British responsibility for sectarianism has shifted. It has been argued that Irish republicans targeted Protestants for sectarian reasons during the WoI, rather than for engaging in largely clandestine activity on behalf of British forces.GERARD MURPHY’S YEAR OF DISAPPEARANCESIn The Year of Disappearances Gerard Murphy acknowledges his debt to the late Peter Hart who pioneered the republican sectarianism argument in his highly influential The IRA and its Enemies: violence and community in Cork, 1916-1923 (OUP, 1998). Subsequent criticism established that Hart invented evidence and misreported archival material in order to establish his case. Inexplicably, with few exceptions, Irish historians failed to respond to the serious problems raised.[10] Murphy wrote that Hart’s 1998 book ‘is worth the cover price for the sources alone’ and that ‘Hart’s sources’ were his ‘starting point’. (p. 22) [11]  Hart’s argument had strong media supporters. Kevin Myers in the Irish Times and Eoghan Harris in the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, vigorously promoted his research, Myers from 1990 and Harris from 1998. These efforts reflected their opposition to the Northern Ireland peace process up to and after the 1994 IRA ceasefire. Journalist propagandists like Harris and Myers promoted and amplified research with which they politically agreed, while dismissing counter arguments.[12] The impact of their efforts should not be casually dismissed. Thousands of readers without access to a different argument were potentially conditioned to accept a tendentious view of Irish history.This is the context within which Gerard Murphy’s book has been written and within which, inevitably, it will be interpreted. However, all interpretation, irrespective of origin, should bow before evidence. Without identifiable evidence within historical texts, discussion and debate becomes merely contested rhetoric. It is here, as I shall demonstrate, that Murphy’s book fails. Murphy acknowledges that his 498 pages and 58 chapters contain ‘at best a theory or, rather a series of interrelated theories’ (p. XI). Numerous problems arise, however, from ill-considered suppositions and speculations. The absence of an adequate scholarly apparatus gives rise to doubts over the work’s merits. It also creates severe difficulties in establishing how Murphy reached his conclusions. Unfortunately, though referenced in notes, the book contains no list of primary sources. A thin bibliography of published work is provided. However, un-paginated citation of published material is of no help.[13] On occasion also Murphy cites unnamed individuals he encountered on his quest, for example: ‘This book was almost finished when I chanced upon an elderly Cork city man’ (p. 301); ‘A number of years ago a friend of mine was driving along one Sunday morning listening to the car radio…’ (p. 245) The impression of a carelessly prepared work rushed into print (for the Christmas market?) is evident. Take page 86 for instance. There, in the second of two mentions, it is reported that there was ‘no branch of the UDA in Cork’. Presumably, instead of this unexplained acronym, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF, founded in 1912) was intended, rather than the Ulster Defence Association (UDA, which emerged in the latter part of 1971).[14] Since ‘The Year of Disappearances’ is advertised as a referenced work of history it therefore lacks prima facie credibility.[15] In most reputable universities such work would not be admissible as research. MEDIA AMPLIFICATIONMurphy suggests that sectarian strife was a product of Irish Republican Army (IRA) activities in the city of Cork and its environs in the province of Munster, the hotbed of military opposition to British rule during the WoI. It was a period in which the IRA and then anti-Anglo Irish Treaty IRA gained control, a control that began after the Truce and continued to July 1922. This is the period of the so-called ‘Cork Republic’. Murphy accused the local IRA, in particular its south side No. 2 Cork city battalion, of killing and disappearing Protestants, including teenagers. As with Hart’s research, Murphy’s book attracted significant media attention on publication, from Eoghan Harris, Kevin Myers and (also on this occasion) from John Paul McCarthy.[16] With media publicity came also examples of a media amplification effect. Harris suggested that Murphy’s figure of 78 (sometimes unknown and unnamed) Protestants he alleges were killed during 1920-22 is ‘not far from the German-Jewish figure of 91’ murdered ‘during the Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht, November 28, 1938’. Not far in total but quite so, time wise. Far, also, from the estimated six million Jews annihilated during World War Two. If Harris opted in his inappropriate comparison for a ‘European perspective’, Myers chose an all-island one. He observed, ‘Most Belfast nationalists know of the terrible things that befell Catholics’ there. He continued, ‘What happened in Cork was actually worse’. To put this comment in perspective, between July 1920 and June 1922, it is estimated that 276 Catholics and 185 Protestants (all named), plus three whose religious identity was indeterminate, were killed in sectarian disturbances in Belfast.[17] An observation by McCarthy (a young Cork originating historian, who echoes the thoughts of Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris[18]) illustrates our first example of a limitation in Murphy’s approach. Murphy refers on page 194 to ‘the first time I had heard mention’ of Jim and Miah Grey, described as, ‘two of the most prominent IRA gunmen on the North side of Cork city’. He reports the Grey brothers as so intent on killing Protestants they were opposed internally. For example, noted Murphy, in ‘the winter of 1921/22’, an IRA company in Glenville, County Cork, put,‘a round the clock armed guard on the local demesne, that of Sir Edward Hudson Kinehan… At the time the armed guard was said to be a protection against ‘the Grays’’.[19]McCarthy praised the book in the Sunday Independent on 7 November 2010. He described the brothers as, ‘two notoriously cruel IRA men from the city’s trigger-happy south side [sic] battalion whose ample defects were still discussed at the drag-hunt meetings in Dripsey that gobbled up my childhood Sundays’: McCarthy continued, ‘Murphy recounts the dramatic scene during the winter of 1921 when the local IRA company in Glenville posted an armed guard around the local demesne so as to protect the well regarded Protestant Kinehan family against a nocturnal visit from the Grays intent on a rerun of the earlier sectarian massacre at Coolacreese [sic], Co Offaly.’Aside from McCarthy placing the brothers on the south-side, while Murphy described them as in a north side IRA battalion, there are significant problems with Murphy’s narrative, and with McCarthy’s amplification: First, Murphy’s evidential basis ‘for this story’ consists of two ‘neighbours in Glenville’, whom he names. This local lore may be a useful source. However, oral history should be triangulated with other evidence (where available). This is desirable to avoid history resting on hearsay;Second, though it is a ‘story’ which alleges the Greys were contemplating a killing, no evidence is provided that they attempted to carry it out or that they were planning it. What we have is an uncorroborated non-event;Third, McCarthy’s sly reference to a ‘sectarian massacre at Coolacreese [sic], Co Offaly’ is noteworthy. In Coolacrease in June 1921 the IRA executed two brothers called Pearson for informing and for firing on and severely wounding an IRA road blocking party. McCarthy tendentiously describes it as a sectarian killing, in which he also insinuates the Greys may have participated, when there is far more reasonable evidence to show that the Pearson brothers were killed because they were militarily engaged informers.[20] Nothing suggests Grey brother involvement.Instead of relying solely on sketchy local lore, Murphy should also have inspected archival material. There, the origin of the oral memory, subsequently exaggerated, may be found. Indeed, UCC historian John Borgonovo has already published on it in an article for The Irish Sword. The Greys ran the IRA’s transport section. They believed, for whatever reason, that in April 1921 Kinehan had somehow obtained car parts reserved by the Greys for the IRA. Consequently, wrote Borgonovo,‘Six armed Volunteers raided the home of Sir Edward Kinehan. They dismantled his car, took away numerous parts, then destroyed the engine with pick-axes. On the car door, they chalked the message, ‘Don’t take our parts. By Order, Transport Commandant, 1st Brigade IRA’.[21]So, in this case there was no assassination attempt. The car was executed, not a Protestant knight of the realm. An archival source (in this case an RIC report), while also requiring interrogation, has the value of pinpointing and preserving the time and place of this event. It also clarifies a lingering memory that appears, as reported, to have lost its shape over time. Murphy did not take this elemental step, a failing that permits scope for speculation along possibly pre-conceived lines. Leaving McCarthy aside, let us now pursue Murphy’s methodology and see where it leads.‘A FELLA BURIED IN THIS BOG AND… IN THAT BOG’Murphy’s case rests on being able to show that more people were killed during the conflict than has been recorded. He suggests that this occurred particularly during the closing period of the Anglo-Irish conflict, the period of the Truce after July 1921 and in the six-month interregnum between Treaty split and onset of civil war in June 1922. Who died? In Murphy’s ‘Appendix II’, the following 12 unnamed and unknown Protestants are listed in ‘Post-Truce/Civil War Killings of civilians in Cork City and Environs’:Three Protestant Boys – 11-15 July 1921Six ‘Prominent Citizens’ – 17 March 1922Three merchants – June 1922Murphy then lists in Appendix III and IV, missing persons from 1922-26 and missing persons inquiries, 1923-28, produced by the Irish Free State. There is no correlation between Murphy’s speculations in Appendix II and the official lists. There are no links whatever to the IRA in many cases. Here we have Murphy bothering to produce archival data but the problem is that it does not confirm his speculations.On pages 39-40 Murphy wrote of the origin of his suspicion that the IRA engaged in systematic secretive assassinations, based on unreasonable paranoia. He noted,‘This was not the history we had learned in school, though it did correlate with what I had learned from neighbours as a child when I’d be told: ‘Well, there was a fella buried in this bog, and there was a fella buried in that bog, and there as another fella tied to a gate and shot in Glashaboy’.’ The 40-odd civilians shot as ‘spies’ by the Cork IRA during the War of independence is likely to be an underestimation, because tramps and those in the margins of society disappeared leaving no record’. This is followed by note 6 (p. 354) that cites Peter Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies, but no page number. The reader cannot trace these reportedly executed tramps to the information source. Had the reader done so he or she would in any case have been misled. Hart has been criticised for failing to document any evidence of his dead tramps, though he speculated freely on the IRA targeting them and ‘social deviants’, in his final chapter.[22]  While such comments may make media sound bites they are not history. In this case it is also an example of one largely contentless reference (Murphy’s) building upon another (Hart’s). So here, where Murphy provides a gestural reference, he did not check to see whether Hart had sourced his materials, and is apparently unaware that Hart’s scholarship has been questioned.[23] No effort is made to estimate the number of tramps and ‘those in the margins of society’ in order to come up with an estimate of the numbers of non-recorded killings in the conflict. What we have here is merely speculation. It is essentially a faith-based history that is a logical outcome of Peter Hart’s sometimes-questionable methodology.The nub of Gerard Murphy’s argument requires him to establish who organised the disappearing and shooting of uninvolved Protestants. He stipulates that three leading Cork IRA members were responsible. They are: IRA head of intelligence, Florence O’Donoghue;Josephine O’Donoghue (wife of Florence as of April 1921), an IRA spy who worked for General Strickland, the British Army Commander in Cork;Cork No. 1 Brigade leader, Sean O’Hegarty. Murphy does not establish what O’Hegarty, ‘a fierce ascetic and atheist’ (p. 15), has against Protestants, and his case against the O’Donoghues is entirely speculative. The O’Donoghues are regarded by Murphy as primarily responsible.DROWNED IN PARANOIAIn his review of the book, Eoghan Harris accurately and supportively summarised Murphy’s portrayal of a ‘depraved’ Florence O’Donoghue and his ‘sinister’ wife Josephine. (Examiner, 5 November) They are accused by Murphy of executing Protestant teenagers and Josephine’s Protestant neighbours in a series of ‘what if’ scenarios that encapsulate the book’s ‘methodology’. Murphy argued that Josephine was ‘paranoid’ (p. 316). How so? A son from her first marriage to a British soldier, who was killed in the First World War, was retained by her late husband’s anti-Catholic family in Britain. In return for Josephine’s offer to the IRA to spy on General Strickland her son was sensationally either kidnapped or liberated (or both, depending on point of view) in November 1920 by Florence O’Donoghue and five other IRA volunteers. He was returned to Cork where Josephine’s sister hid him. In April 1921 Florence and Josephine married.[24]Murphy speculated that Josephine’s paranoia was due to the publicity surrounding this event. She became ‘frightened of her Protestant neighbours’ and ‘turned on them in case they might inform on her’, while scaring off others (p. 114, emph. in original, see also ‘Map 2’). The arrest of a father and son named Blemens on 29 November 1920 by the IRA and their subsequent execution for spying, is given as the prime example, as they lived near Josephine. However, Josephine’s then mother in law in Barry in Wales received anonymous letters ‘stating that the little boy was in Cork with his mother’. Florence O’Donoghue thought the sender was ‘a Miss Murphy who lived at No 3 Roxboro Terrace’, beside Josephine (ibid). Miss Murphy was unharmed despite proof of being suspected in this regard. Gerard Murphy glides past the fact, before fixating on the Blemens family and an assumption of paranoia on the part of Josephine.Supposition devoid of a scintilla of corroborative evidence supports the unstable foundation of this argument. The argument, however, proceeds apace.Take page 310. Murphy comments on Florence O’Donoghue’s correspondence with his wife in June 1921, written while he was separated on IRA duties. A letter of 17 June revealed, writes Murphy, ‘very little… to suggest that dramatic happenings might be taking place in Roxboro Terrace’ where Josephine resided at No. 4. Murphy observes, however, ‘the lack of direct reference… may itself be grounds for suspicion.’ One or two ‘hints’ in the letter may ‘cast a new and extraordinary light’ on a previously reported Times of London article of 18 May 1922, in which ‘somebody’s child’ was abducted along the Blackrock Road, Cork city, again near Josephine’s house (p. 307). Though no other newspaper reported the alleged abduction and no archival trace of it can be found, Murphy considers the story of great significance. He asks,‘was [Josephine] the ‘mysterious individual in a motor car’ who was involved in the actual abduction? The use of the word ‘individual’ rather than ‘man’ is interesting.’ (p. 309)Yes, quite interesting. We move now to the ‘extraordinary light’ Florence’s letter allegedly casts on this dramatic episode, from which Murphy deduces Josephine’s role. O’Donoghue’s 17 June letter to his wife contains, writes Murphy, ‘one cryptic reference to matters in the city’:‘some friends from Cork tell me you were , so to say, on active service one day a while ago. But there was nothing doing apparently’.O’Donoghue then asks his wife to be ‘careful’. Murphy comments, ‘this of course could be interpreted to mean anything’. According to Murphy it could mean that Josephine was a ‘mysterious individual in a motor car’ who abducted a teenager. By the same token it could mean that Florence was advising his wife simply to be careful while carrying out her IRA duties. Murphy makes further deductions on the basis of a letter of 20 June. In a closing paragraph on family matters Florence O’Donoghue commented on a 20 June Cork Examiner report of a small family boat involved in an unconnected aquatic accident. O’Donoghue refers to ‘a boating accident…. and there was a youngster in it’. He wonders, on the basis that his wife was a keen yachtswoman, if it ‘was your party, ye seem to have a pretty taste in accidents of that kind. Glad to see that nothing worse than a ducking befell anybody’. [25] Murphy observes, ‘Again, this could be interpreted in many different ways’. Indeed it could, but Murphy is determined on this: ‘considering that we have already speculated [!] that boys may [!] have been taken and thrown into the sea along with YMCA provisions during [IRA] raids on the harbour in mid-June, and also that [Henry A] Harris appears [!] to have been drowned in Boulogne, this is an amazing coincidence’. (p. 310-11, see also p. 312)‘Amazing’ indeed. On this reasoning, that includes reference to an event that occurred one year later in March 1923, Murphy insinuates that Josephine was drowning as well as abducting Protestant teenagers. At the risk of drowning the reader in detail it is necessary to explain Murphy’s reference to Henry A Harris. Harris had been a prominent Cork Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) member who Murphy believes was deliberately killed by drowning in France in March 1923 (Ch. 39, ‘A Boulogne Mystery’, pp. 207-11, citing the Irish Times, 26 March 1923, Cork Examiner, 21 April 1923). However, on page 211 we read, ‘We are not 100 per cent sure of course, that the body found in Boulogne harbour was that of H.A. Harris’. In fact, apart from, ‘his age was about right’, that Harris was English and the body was assumed to be, no evidence suggests that it was. A subsequent press report that ‘I/O IRA’ killed this unknown individual, as a ‘traitor to Irish Republic’, was later again reported a ‘definitely established’ hoax, perpetrated by yet another Englishman (Irish Times, 9, 23 April 1923) For Murphy, however, ‘this was almost certainly an IRA job’, the use of ‘I/O’ (for ‘Intelligence Officer’), being the determining factor in Murphy’s view. In support, he reports that records of the East Bristol YMCA in England, where Harris was General Secretary to the end of 1922, subsequently went missing. On this basis alone, he writes that the Irish Times ‘hoax’ article was ‘dissimulation’, and also, ‘It suggests that somebody in Britain wanted to keep the facts of the drowning a secret’. Who and for what particular or peculiar reason Murphy does not explain. In an initial Times of London report (26 March 2010, not cited by Murphy) police suggested that the individual, whose possessions were missing, was robbed after he drowned and after his body was washed up on shore.  The reason Harris is swept into Murphy’s narrative is because, in a previous chapter (Ch. 18, ‘The Cork YMCA’, pp. 100-07), Murphy discusses and dismisses IRA assertions that a pro-British intelligence ring operated out of the Cork YMCA. The reason Murphy is on the trail of Harris in the first place is because, ‘Harris would have made a good candidate as the leader of an alleged spy ring operating out of the YMCA…. I have found no evidence from any surviving IRA men’s accounts that he was ever shot by the IRA or targeted or that his name was ever known, but he was the head man of the Munster YMCA during the War of independence. Therefore he would make for a logical target’. (p. 207-208)There is, in other words, no evidence the IRA was after Harris in the first place. Therefore, not a scintilla of hard evidence justifies including Chapter 39 in the book. It is an evidential dead end[26] and Murphy’s readers have entered a speculative wilderness.On the IRA suggestion that there may have been clandestine activity on the part of some Cork YMCA members, Murphy dismisses it. ‘Going through the records of the YMCA from 1915 to 1924’ convinces him that the YMCA was not a ‘secret service agency’ or even a ‘cover up’ for one (p. 103, 104). This reasoning is naive. It is doubtful if a group of the clandestine type the IRA alleged existed would have detailed their activities in the YMCA minute book. That would be foolish. On the same basis, hunting through Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) records might fail to uncover evidence of Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) infiltration, though it occurred. Murphy could have taken a hint from the YMCA General Committee Year Book, in which he is surprised by ‘how little the YMCA seemed to be affected by the conflict going on around it’ (p. 105). Preserving the stated purpose of such an organisation would be essential for a group operating ‘under-the-cover’ of the YMCA. To maintain security and credibility, most YMCA members would surely be entirely unaware of the use to which their organisation may have been put. Surprisingly, this possibility does not appear to have occurred to Murphy.The piling of unproven assumptions one on top of the other leaves the discerning reader underwhelmed.YMCA TOILET PAPER‘[T]his is all mere speculation’. (Gerard Murphy, p. 147)Eleven pages on from his boating incident commentary and with no further substantive argument, Murphy writes, ‘I am now of the view’ that the O’Donoghues and, Sean O’Hegarty, ‘snatched local Protestant teenagers – of 16 years and upwards who may or may not have been connected with spying activities – and used them as hostages against British executions of IRA prisoners’. (p. 321)  Dan O’Brien was the last IRA prisoner to be executed on 16 May 1921 (p. 313). Murphy suggests that a group of teenagers was ‘snatched’ in the first two weeks of May to place pressure on the British not to shoot O’Brien. They were shot, alleges Murphy, after O’Brien was. The reason this IRA activity has no extant evidential basis is, suggests Murphy, because even the British, ‘covered up the blackmail and reported to Dublin Castle that the boys had been conscripted into the IRA’. (p. 322)Why the British should do this strange thing is not clear. Even more peculiarly, ‘a month later [16 June 1921], with more prisoners on death row, the trick was tried again’. (p. 322) Why, when it did not work the first time? Murphy has already admitted that O’Brien was the last to be shot. Furthermore, it appears that O’Donoghue knew he would remain the last. He wrote on 15 June 1921, ‘Official reprisals are certainly at an end, which is a big victory for us’. And, on 16 June, ‘I think the shooting of men for having arms and levying war is at an end’.[27] Undaunted, Murphy alleges that the IRA, ‘now leave a note in the YMCA toilet, intended to be passed on to the military, either to warn against spying, or supplying the military or that the boys would be shot if the British returned to official executions’. (p. 322)It sounds like a complicated message. What did it say? We must turn back 216 pages to page 106, where YMCA minutes note, ‘the discovery in the downstairs toilet of the YMCA (which was used by the public) of ‘a piece of paper… purporting to come from the CO IRA, Cork District, containing a threat’[…]. There is no hint as to what the threat actually was.’Within Murphy’s methodology, ignorance is no barrier to certainty. The truth is, Murphy cannot demonstrate that the IRA snatched, imprisoned or shot two groups of Protestant teenagers. Murphy’s case is built almost entirely on supposition. His evidence, where evident, appears to consist of local lore, partial and vague archival references, and his imagination. For an exercise in sustained supposition with regard to allegedly missing persons based on no hard evidence, however, Chapter 50, ‘St Patrick’s Day Parade’ (pp. 268-277), is possibly the best example. Here Murphy discusses the alleged kidnapping of his ‘Six ‘Prominent Citizens’ – 17 March 1922’ listed in Appendix II. His discussion is based on ‘confirmation… of a rumour… that some prominent local supporters of the Treaty were recently kidnapped’ (Irish Times, 21 March 1922, in Murphy, p. 269). Murphy supposes (without describing how or why) that these were ‘lower middle class Protestants’ (p. 271), who he cannot name and whose relatives never sought their whereabouts. They ‘simply disappeared’. (p. 270) Murphy suggests,‘Secrecy and censorship… makes a space in which it is possible for all kinds of people to have disappeared. It appears that the reaction of the families involved was in effect to collude with this silence out of fear of attracting even more violence’.  (p. 272). Murphy notes by way, it must be assumed, of corroboration, ‘I have not been able to find any’ references to the event in state papers. (p. 385, n. 21) Murphy has based his theory on a rumour devoid of substance. The absence of evidence reinforces Murphy’s belief system, rather than (as in most social science and other forms of rational enquiry) acting to change his hypothesis. Instead, Murphy attempts to make the past fit his point of view. On pages 273-274 Murphy cites various contemporary Protestant statements condemning unionist attacks on Catholics in Northern Ireland. They were invariably accompanied by statements that the Protestant community in the south ‘never suffered from intolerance’. (p. 273). This included ‘50 Cork business leaders’ whose ‘denial’, writes Murphy, ‘of the events of St Patrick’s Day was absolute’, absolute in the sense that these alleged ‘events’ did not penetrate their consciousness. Instead (p. 274), the business leaders called on the Northern Ireland Government to re-instate the up to 10,000 Roman Catholics who had been expelled from their work in Harland and Wolfe and other shipyards and workplaces in July 1920 by unionist mobs.[28]Murphy concludes from this evidence of no sectarian targeting aimed in their direction:‘It is … clear from this that, for the Cork business community and for Southern Protestants in general, suppression was the price of survival.’ (p.274)Murphy continues, ‘the YMCA general committee remained unchanged…. and kept on meeting as if nothing had happened. Indeed, there is no reference…  in YMCA minutes’. In other words, where Murphy has no evidence that something happened, he cites further evidence undermining the suggestion. In Murphy’s methodology this becomes confirmation that the alleged event did in fact happen. Maybe it should occur to him that indeed, ‘nothing… happened’.A sub-theme pursued by Murphy is that if Church of Ireland Anglicans were oblivious to events, then their low church Protestant counterparts, in particular Methodists for some reason, were sectarian victims (Ch. 44, ‘Clerical Errors’, p. 232-241).  Unfortunately, Methodists were equally uncooperative in confirming Murphy’s thesis. Murphy cites the Rev. Alfred Harbinson, a Methodist minister in Dunmanway who stated after the exceptional April 27-29 killings of 13 Protestants in the Bandon Valley that, contrary to mistaken reports, he had been ‘neither visited or attacked’ and,‘Never at any time have I been molested or interfered with in any way. I have always received the utmost courtesy from the people of the town and surrounding community’. Murphy, then observes, ‘All the evidence from a variety of sources suggests that Rev. Harbinson did in fact flee’. (p. 274) He cites, precisely, none. The Reverend gentleman is portrayed, on no evidence whatever, as an unreliable reporter of his own experience. Cork’s most prominent Methodist, Crown Solicitor Jasper Wolfe, insisted afterwards that though he was subject to attack, this was not because of his religious beliefs, but rather due to his leading position within the British administration during a period of armed conflict. His grandson biographer recently expressed ‘surprise’ at allegations of republican or nationalist sectarianism. Jasper Wolfe had never raised them in often told tales of being,  ‘kidnapped by the IRA, or attempts to shoot him, or of his house on the outskirts of Skibbereen being occupied by Republicans or Freestaters in turn. But I never heard any suggestion of sectarian hostility towards the Wolfes, whether from the I.R.A., from their Catholic neighbours, or indeed from any Catholics at all’.[29] LOYALISTS Vs PROTESTANTSWhere Murphy relies on published sources for evidence of extra unrecorded killings it reflects further weaknesses in his argument. On page 328 (of 408 in Chapter 57, of 58), Murphy cites a June 1922 statement from the Irish Compensation Claims Committee complaining of ‘more murders of loyalists, ex-soldiers, ex-policemen than have been reported to the [British] House of Commons’ (Irish Times, 2 June 1922). Murphy supports this allegation. However, a section of the same committee report not cited by Murphy mentions ‘the position of Southern loyalists’. The ‘expulsion is not confined to Protestants’. It refers to, ‘a very large number of the exiles’ being  ‘Roman Catholics … members of the old nationalist Party of Mr Redmond’ that was superseded by Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election. Anti Protestant activity is alleged to be concentrated in West Cork, where ‘nearly every Protestant trader and small farmer has been expelled’. This is the only mention of Protestants per se and relates to the fearful and understandable exodus after the April 27-29 killings of 13 Protestant civilians in the Bandon Valley.[30] Who are the culprits? The statement explains:‘The Irish terror is directed against all who own any property or capital, or are supposed to belong to the so-called “bourgeois” class.’The controlling influence is said to be the ‘Irish Transport Union’ and ‘the anti capitalist influences of the Third International’. In short, the source blames communists for these attacks, rather than the IRA.  While such misstatements are expected in propaganda intended to secure compensation, they are highly problematic as a historical source.  Even then, the statement undermines charges of sectarianism, since both southern loyalists and home rulers are said to have been the targets.[31] In Murphy’s methodology, the lack of evidence for something always becomes evidence of its existence when that is convenient. Do we have examples of him doing it the other way when it suits him?In his passion to pursue rather than control his speculations, Murphy misrepresents more representative Protestant views. Again on page 328, Murphy asserts that ‘the disappearance of youngsters…. truly traumatised the Protestant community’. At the end of July 1922, according to Murphy, ‘the Southern Protestant Appeal, set up to support families who were fleeing the south drew up a declaration’. Murphy cited it in reference to ‘Protestant residents in Southern Ireland’, who,‘desire to express our abhorrence of sectional bitterness manifesting itself in acts of violence. We earnestly hope that recent horrible reprisals, culminating in the killing of children, will make it clear that citizens of all creed and classes must unite in a most determined effort to secure peace’.At first glance, this does appear to be significant, in particular ‘the killing of children’ reference. However, this appeal made its first public appearance in the Irish Times on 7 April 1921, nearly four months earlier. The Southern Protestant Appeal did not relate to Protestants in Southern Ireland. It arose from concern at violence against Catholics in Northern Ireland. The appeal therefore did state what Murphy cited above, but with reference to the killings in the North. The appeal continued, in a passage that Murphy does not cite, with the following observation,‘We further desire as members of religious minorities in Southern Ireland, to put on record that the South of Ireland has been notably free from sectarian violence’.This statement was made, let us remind ourselves, in April 1921 after two years of often-bitter conflict and two months before the Truce. It was instigated by a letter to the Irish Times from an EA Aston, a Protestant, on 21 March and supported by ‘Belfast Catholic’ on 24 March, who referred to ‘a bomb thrown amongst Catholic children in Weaver Street’ in Belfast, in the North, not in the South. The ‘killing of children’ reference was to the killing of Catholic children not Protestants. It is of significance that southern Protestants did not support the contention that they were subject to sectarian attack.One exception to this rule appears to be the April 27-29 1922 killings in the Bandon Valley of 13 Protestant civilians. The Protestant Convention, that paralleled the Southern Protestant Appeal, met on 11 May 1922 and stated,‘apart from this incident, hostility to Protestants by reason of their religion has been almost, if not wholly, unknown in the twenty six counties in which Protestants are in the minority’. (Irish Times, Independent, 12 May, 1922)While Murphy selectively quotes from the Southern Protestant Appeal and misreports its origins, I can find no reference to the parallel Protestant Convention in Murphy’s book. I raise the issue because Florence O’Donoghue’s leading role in the IRA was then coming to an end. He resigned from the IRA at the end of June 1922 and stayed neutral in the ensuing Civil War that commenced on 20 June (p. 317). Murphy’s problem is this:  at the height of O’Donoghue’s alleged sectarian reign of terror against Cork Protestants, southern Protestants were claiming that they were not targeted on a sectarian basis. Murphy’s solution to this problem is (as noted) to accuse Protestants of lying about their own experiences. Murphy has preconceived speculations that he is unwilling to test carefully against the evidence.JOHN BORGONOVO’S RESEARCH‘Further evidence may ultimately suggest that even my most closely argued theories are wrong.’ (Gerard Murphy, p. 29)In 2007, in 198 pages and nine chapters, John Borgonovo ploughed the same ground as Murphy. His concisely composed Spies, informers and the ‘Anti-Sinn Fein Society’, the Intelligence War in Cork City 1920-21 (Irish Academic Press, 2007) covered the same series of IRA executions that Murphy analyses. It was completed originally in 1997 as an MA thesis in University College Cork (UCC), prior to publication of Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies in 1998.[32] Borgonovo also edited Florence and Josephine O’Donoghue’s War of Independence, a destiny that shapes our ends (IAP, 2006). Though Murphy stated (p. 22) that Hart’s published work provided the stimulus for his research, Borgonovo’s may have provided its structure. The O’Donoghue’s demeanour as anti-Protestants in chief in Murphy’s research does not tally with Borgonovo’s portrayal. Borgonovo revealed how Josephine was working for the British Army commander in Cork, General Strickland, as an IRA spy. Under her codename, ‘G’, she was the source of valuable intelligence information used not only in Cork but also in Dublin by Michael Collins, the head of intelligence. Borgonovo carefully evaluated evidence and suggested that IRA intelligence appeared extensive and absent of sectarian intent.[33]GRAVESOne aspect of Murphy’s research has already excited media attention[34] and may also attract the official version. It suggests where bodies of some of those executed during the conflict are buried. It is a fact that some were never recovered. Borgonovo noted that Martin Corry, an IRA volunteer and subsequently a Fianna Fail TD, regularly ‘boasted’ that his land was one location.[35] In addition, a colour photograph in Gerard Murphy’s book, facing page 143, contains the caption,‘The clump of trees at Frankfield, Ballycureen, where three Protestant boys who were executed by the 2nd battalion of the city IRA are believed to be buried’If they are there, the authorities may take an interest in the recovery of human remains. The remit of the commission tasked with recovering bodies after the recent conflict in the North of Ireland could be expanded to examine this.CONCLUSIONGerard Murphy, who has written two novels, has produced novel material in a work that began life as a novel. (p. XI) It may soon feature, as with Peter Hart’s research, in Orange Order commentaries.[36] But it should be treated as fiction until better evidence is provided. Southern Protestants consistently rejected unionist claims that the IRA was deliberately targeting Protestants.[37] Some committed loyalists begged to differ, not Protestants generally, including many unionists. Much better evidence needs to be supplied than Murphy provides to overturn the judgment of those most likely to have had such fears.Gerard Murphy’s is not a history based on Michael Oakshot’s dictum that,  ‘History is what the evidence compels us to believe’. It is rather based on what Gerard Murphy believes. Evidence in these circumstances is a useful support but not essential. Not only does Murphy fail to supply appropriate compelling evidence for what he believes, he also manages to provide sufficient warrant to show that his case is riddled with contradictions. The best that can be said for the book is that it was published in an unfinished condition. There may be a better smaller book hiding inside. The back dust cover includes an accurate statement from Professor Eunan O’Halpin of Trinity College Dublin that the work will ‘stir up controversy’. It will and it should, controversy about the lapses in historical standards and the absence of historical method that are prevalent in some revisionist histories of the Irish War of Independence and its aftermath.[1] Sometimes referred to as ‘the Tan war’ (after the British ‘Black & Tans’ counterinsurgency force), usually to undermine the impression that full independence resulted.[2] See note 10.[3] Dorothy Macardle, The Irish Republic, Wolfhound, 3rd ed., 1999, pp. 266, 271-76. Most of the remainder were won by unionists in the province of Ulster.[4] An unsurpassed survey of the Anglo-Irish conflict that discusses the sectarian and propaganda aspects of British policy is a participant’s account, Frank Gallagher, The Four Glorious Years, Blackwater, 2005 (originally publ., David Hogan, pseud., Irish Press, 1953). Gallagher, the last person prosecuted by a Free State military tribunal in 1931 and the first Editor of the Irish Press, also pioneered analysis of the sectarian structure and practices of the Northern Ireland statelet and of its private sphere, The Indivisible Island, Gollancz, 1956.[5] Cited on rear dust cover of Meda Ryan, Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Mercier, 2003[6] Macardle, op cit, p. 477.[7] Ibid, Chapters 64-76, pp. 608-754.[8] See G.B. Kenna, Facts and Figures, The Belfast Pogroms, 1920-22, Donaldson Archives, 1997; also note following.[9] See Michael Farrell, Northern Ireland, the Orange State, 2nd ed., Pluto, 1980; John D. Brewer and Gareth I. Higgins, Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland, 1600-1998: the Mote and the Beam, Macmillan Press, 1999; Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s ordeal, 1966-1996, and the search for peace, Hutchinson, 1995; John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, Explaining Northern Ireland, Blackwell, 2003, p.45.[10] See Meda Ryan, Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Mercier, 2003; Brian Murphy, The Origin and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland in 1920, Spinwatch-Aubane, 2006; John Borgonovo, Spies, Informers and the ‘Anti Sinn Fein Society’, IAP, 2007; Brian Murphy, Niall Meehan, Troubled History, a 10th Anniversary Critique of Peter Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies, Aubane, 2008; Niall Meehan, Distorting Irish History, the stubborn facts of Kilmichael: Peter Hart and Irish Historiography, at www,spinwatch.org, 2010. See http://gcd.academia.edu/NiallMeehan. The following also addressed Peter Hart’s questionable methodology:  Brendan O’Leary, ‘A Long March,’ Dublin Review of Books, No. 5, Spring 2008, at www.drb.ie; Conor Kostick, Revolution in Ireland, Popular Militancy 1917-1923, 2nd ed., Cork University Press, 2009, pp. 102-3.[11] At a Centre for Contemporary Irish Research Seminar in Trinity College on November 3rd, chaired by Eunan O’Halpin, Murphy reported Peter Hart’s work as the initial and continuing inspiration for his research.[12] See Niall Meehan, 2010, op cit.[13] Also, unpublished theses cited by Murphy are not listed in the bibiography. One is cited in a misleading manner, on pages 42, 82, 360 and 393. On page 42 a source for ‘Table 3. List of civilians killed in the environs of Cork city during the War of Independence’ is given simply as ‘Miller-Borgonovo’. This hyphenated individual is not indexed, though a ‘Borgonovo, John’ is indexed as making his first appearance on page 82 (not 42). There, a ‘John Miller Borgonovo’ (without hyphen) is named as the author of the ‘most recent detailed work’ on ‘executions carried out by the Cork No 1 Brigade in Cork city’. This is cited as ‘Informers, Intelligence and the Anti-Sinn Féin Society, the Anglo Irish Conflict in Cork City 1920-21’ (note, the term ‘Anti Sinn Fein Society’ should be in inverted commas). This is followed by note 6 in which the work is again named and dated as a 1998 University College Cork (UCC) MA thesis (p. 360). The note concludes by misnaming the 2007 Irish Academic Press book by ‘John Borgonovo’ that is based on, but also updates, the thesis. That book is ‘Spies, Informers and the ‘Anti-Sinn Féin Society’, the Intelligence War in Cork City’. Murphy again leaves out the important inverted commas surrounding ‘Anti-Sinn Féin Society’. He also omits the hyphen between ‘Anti’ and ‘Sinn Féin’, substitutes ‘League’ for ‘Society’ and omits the sub-title. In the bibliography (p. 393) these mistakes, apart from the now included subtitle, are repeated. To sum up, the 1998 Borgonovo thesis that Murphy names in his main text and cites in note 6, p. 82, is not the ‘most recent detailed work’ on the subject, Borgonovo’s misnamed (pp. 360, 393) 2007 book is. More on Borgonovo’s significant research later.[14] Coogan, op cit, p. 130. Also, On page. 246, Professor John A Murphy is criticised for asserting ‘There was no ethnic cleansing on [Cork city’s] South Mall’, the up market commercial and financial district said to be dominated by a well to do Protestants. Neither the source, The Sunday Independent (4 October 2004), or the context, (a meeting of Reform, an organisation wishing to take the Irish Republic back in to the British Commonwealth), is given. Murphy observed, ‘Irish Protestants in the 26 counties suffered population decline, grievously in the 1914-23 period and more gradually thereafter. There are many explanations for this phenomenon, active persecution being the least plausible… the notion that tens of thousands of Protestants were compelled to flee their shops and farms is Paisleyite myth-mongering.’ Murphy, it should be stated, supports the argument that individual Protestants ‘were victims of Catholic sectarian nationalism masquerading as republicanism in places like west Cork’ and sources his view within Peter Hart’s research. Murphy replied to newspaper criticism from Eoghan Harris and from John Paul McCarthy on this point. He stood over his original comment. (Examiner, 5, 10 November 2010; Sunday Independent 7, 14 November 2010)[15] See, http://www.gillmacmillan.ie/history/history/the-year-of-disappearances (accessed 9 November 2010).[16] Eoghan Harris promoted the book in the Examiner, 5 November 2010. John Paul McCarthy wrote similarly in the Sunday Independent on 7 November. On 12 November in the Irish Independent, Kevin Myers observed in his commentary, ‘I invented the entire subject of historical journalism for the period 1914-23’. He continued, ‘my exclusion by the Irish Times from its supplement to mark the 90th anniversary of the [1916] Rising was one of several reasons why I resigned from that newspaper’.[17] G.B. Kenna, op cit, p101. Kenna names and dates the victims. Of the 185 Protestants, up to half were probably killed by Catholics, mostly from belief that they were acting in self-defence. The remainder were said to be victims of indiscriminate unionist firing and attempts by the British military to repel unionist attacks on Catholics (ibid, pp. 101-114).[18] See for example, John-Paul McCarthy, ‘Lost chance to write the Workers’ Party history’, Sunday Independent, 8 November, 2009.[19] While Murphy and, following him, McCarthy use ‘Gray’, ‘Grey’ is the more usual spelling in the literature. I am informed by Manus O’Riordan (email, 15 Nov 2010), son of Michael, below, ‘There is not the slightest evidence to support the charge of sectarianism against the Greys. Quite the contrary. When Michael O’Riordan was expelled from the Labour Party in 1944 – following his public stand against the anti-Semitism of Cork Labour Councillor Tim Quill – and went on to establish the Cork Socialist Party, Jim Grey became one of the most active campaigners on O’Riordan’s behalf in the subsequent [14 June] 1946 Cork [Borough] by-election [in which O’Riordan obtained more votes than Tom Barry, see http://electionsireland.org – NM]’.[20] The Coolacrease killings were the subject of a controversial 2007 RTE documentary involving Eoghan Harris. For a critique, see, Philip O’Connor, Paddy Heaney, Pat Muldowney, Coolacrease: the True Story of the Pearson Executions, an Incident in the Irish War of Independence, Aubane, 2008. See also Niall Meehan and also (separately) Philip O’Connor and Pat Muldowney’s response in Dublin Review of Books, No. 11, Autumn 2009, to a review by Tom Wall in issue No. 9, available at www.drb.ie.[21] John Borgonovo, ‘The Guerrilla Infrastructure: IRA Special Services in the Cork No. 1 Brigade, 1917-1921,’ The Irish Sword, XXVII, No. 108, pp. 215-16. Borgonovo’s sources are, n. 53, RIC Daily Reports, 8 – 14 April 1921. This is not an obscure source.[22] Hart, 1998, op cit, p. 311. One reason ‘tramps’ sometimes received attention from the IRA was that the British army were in the habit of sending soldiers out disguised as tramps. See Florence O’Donoghue, No other law, Irish Press, 1954, p. 119.[23] See note 10.[24] Murphy, notes that this story ‘has been described in detail elsewhere’. It is the O’Donoghue’s own story, in John Borgonovo, ed, Florence and Josephine O’Donoghue’s War of independence, a destiny that shapes our ends (IAP, 2006). Unsurprisingly, the O’Donoghue’s memories of these years do not correspond with Gerard Murphy’s views.[25] The episode is also mentioned in Borgonovo, ed, 2006, p. 174, 188-9, n. 47, which publishes the letters series.[26] A logical place to pursue the matter would be in Boulogne itself, but there is no evidence that Murphy thought of or did this.[27] In Borgonovo, ed, 2006, p. 170, 171[28] G.B. Kenna, op cit., p. 22, citing Protestant expelled worker, James Baird, in the Dublin Evening Telegraph, 11 November 1920, who gives this figure.[29] Jasper Ungoed-Thomas, Jasper Wolfe of Skibbereen, Collins Press, 2008, pp. 143-4, 220-1; Jasper Ungoed-Thomas, ‘IRA Sectarianism in Skibbereen?’ Skibbereen and District Historical Society Journal, Vol. 6, 2010. p. 97.[30] The incident climaxed Peter Hart’s conclusion (op. cit.) that the IRA was sectarian toward Protestants. For a counter view, see Meda Ryan, ‘‘The Dunmanway find’ of Informers’ Dossier’, in Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Mercier, 2005, pp. 209-229.[31] Irish Times, 2 June 1922. The same page reports 200 refugees from unionist sectarianism in Belfast being transferred to the Marlborough Hall, Dublin.[32] Borgonovo, 2007, op cit, p. 1.[33] Ibid, passim.[34] See Kevin Myers, op. cit.; and, prior to the book’s publication, Andrew Bushe, ‘Have secret files solved 85-yr-old murder mystery?’, Sunday Mirror, 1 July 2007.[35] John Borgonovo, ‘The Guerrilla Infrastructure: IRA Special Services in the Cork No. 1 Brigade, 1917-1921,’ The Irish Sword, XXVII, No. 108, pp. 211-13[36] See interview with Orange Order Grand Secretary Drew Nelson, Irish Times, 17 June 2006.[37] A useful exploration is contained in four articles in Church & State, No. 86, Autumn 2006: Eamon Dyas, ‘The Crown Campaign Against Protestant Neutrality in Cork During the Irish War of Independence’; Editorial, ‘Ireland in 1921: Dr. Fitzpatrick Puts Mr. Bury’s Foot in It’; Joe Keenan, Dennis Kennedy, ‘Protestant Refugees: Semantics or Accuracy?’; Sean McGouran, ‘Robin Bury’s Faulty Witness’. It is available at, http://free-magazines.atholbooks.org/c&s/cs86.pdf. See also http://free-magazines.atholbooks.org/c&s/cs90.pdf for Manus O’Riordan, ‘Tom Barry and Sectarian Degradation’, Church and State, No. 90, Autumn 2007. The issue is also discussed by Niall Meehan, ‘Frank Gallagher and land agitation – a response to Tom Wall’s ‘Getting Them Out, Southern Loyalists in the War of Independence’’ (DRB, Issue 9 Spring 2009)’, Dublin Review of Books, Issue 11, Autumn 2009; ‘Top People, review of The Irish Establishment 1879-1914, by Fergus Campbell’, Dublin Review of Books, Issue 14, Summer 2010 – available at www.drb.ie and at, http://gcd.academia.edu/NiallMeehan/Papers.

De Valera was an English spy?

De Valera was an English spy?

By Padrig O Ruairc.

Book Review:- “England’s Greatest Spy – Eamonn De Valera.” By John J. Turi. Published by Stacey International, London 2009. ISBN 978 – 1 – 906768-09-6

Last week I stumbled across the above book, in O Mahony’s Bookshop, Limerick. I was completely unaware of the radio debate that had taken place on RTE a few hours earlier between the author and the veteran Irish historian and journalist Tim Pat Coogan. I found the title of the book both shocking and intriguing as this weighty tome seemed to rally against the perceived orthodoxy, and whole fabric of accepted modern Irish politics and twentieth century Irish history. After reading the sleeve notes which stated: “Turi presents startling new evidence to prove the man who led Ireland throughout most of the 20th century [De Valera] … was an agent for England” I decided, although immediately sceptical of such a controversial claim, to read the book eager as a historian examine this “new evidence” and determined to try and keep an open mind about the book’s central thesis.

Unfortunately the new evidence promised in the sleeve notes does not appear in the main body of the book. Instead the reader is treated (mistreated?) to a whopping 462 page political rant which re-hashes worn out conspiracy theories and pub talk about ‘Who killed Michael Collins?’. Added to these are the author’s even more fantastic deductions about the War of Independence and Civil War which he arrives at without providing any conclusive documentary evidence. Infact Turi’s whole thesis that De Valera was a British Agent seems based completely on supposition, propaganda stories, wild interpretation of accepted facts, hear say and illogical conjecture. Throughout the book any setbacks that are encountered by those fighting for Irish independence are immediately ascribed to conspiracy by Mr. Turi, who never considers the more realistic possibility that these events were due to bad luck, chance, incompetence or poor decision making. What little he does offer as evidence to prove his claims is regularly liberally interpreted to suit his theories – rather than adjusting his theories to suit the facts.

Turi’s central argument is that the British authorities in Ireland were fully aware of the I.R.B’s plans for the 1916 Rising but allowed the rebellion to take place so that they could organise a “machine gun massacre” of the rebel Irish. According to Turi the British had already ensured the rebellion would failure through the actions of their spy Austin Stack was responsible for the capture of the German arms shipment on the Aud. This and not Eoin Mc Neill’s countermanding order was responsible for the failure of the rebellion. Turi then claims that after his surrender to the British and imprisonment in Kilmainham Jail, De Valera was given a stark choice become a British Agent or else be executed along with Pearse, Connolly and co…
De Valera readily agrees and through the secret machinations of Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, he is appointed leader of Sinn Fein in 1917. This of course was part of a secret British plot to split the Sinn Fein party, code named: “Assignment Sinn Fein” Unfortunately for the British this plot is then foiled by one of the heroes of Mr. Turi’s tale Arthur Griffith. De Valera is arrested by the British and imprisoned in Lincoln Jail, England and then his escape is staged so that De Valera can go to America to sabotage the Irish American groups lobbying the American President to support Irish Independence. This secret operation is dubbed “Assignment America”
Eventually De Valera takes part in “Assignment Ireland” whereby he returns home to destroy Sinn Fein and The I.R.A. From within – he succeeds and the I.R.A. are forced to negotiate with the British. In two further British assignments – ‘Chaos’ and ‘Civil War’ De Valera first ensures that the Irish delegation in the Treaty negotiations will not secure a Republic and then he argues against the Treaty so that he can plunge the south of Ireland into Civil War. This of course is orchestrated by the British because Michael Collins is about to cause trouble for them in the north, and the Civil War will keep him distracted long enough for De Valera’s next assignment – the assassination of both Griffith and Collins.
Turi’s heroes Collins and Griffith of course by how are about to discover De Valera’s role as a British agent. Griffith is murdered after being served arsenic laden chocolates, and Collins’s assassination / murder is organised personally by De Valera and Emmett Dalton in Cork. Collins wasn’t hidden by the I.R.A. ambushers at Bealnablath on 22nd of August 1922 he was actually shot in the back and then in the head by a British agent who was posing as a Free State soldier.
The story doesn’t end there – Sean Hales T.D. starts investigating the plot and is also murdered by De Valera’s henchmen.
De Valera remains working as a British agent long after he is elected President and under their guidance manages to sabotage the Irish economy and keep Ireland neutral during World War Two in order to create anti-Irish feeling in the U.S. By the end of the book the only thing surprising to the reader is that Mr. Turi’s does not claim that De Valera’s masters in the British Government were not themselves being controlled by the Free Masons and the Elders of Zion who secretly control the world!

Does Mr. Turi’s book present any real proof to support these claims? Of course not, but he claims the proof exists – on page 302 Turi actually calls for the exhumation of Collin’s remains to prove he was murdered! On page 298 he quotes a Dr. Singh calling for Griffiths remains to be exhumed to prove he was also murdered. What would be the purpose of these exhumations? On page 462 the need for these exhumations is made clear when Turi calls for De Valera to be given a posthumous trial on charges of “treason, fraud and conspiracy to murder.”

Not content with merely vilifying De Valera, the author also derides a whole host of Republican figures who opposed Collins and the Treaty. Turi often uses rumour innuendo and Pro-Treaty and British propaganda tales of the period to do so. According to Turi: Countess Marcivictz was a coward. De Valera may have had an extra marital affair. Liam Lynch was ‘quite possibly insane’. Oscar Tranor the leader of the I.R.A.’s Dublin brigade was more interested in killing Irishmen than British soldiers. Austin Stack was a British spy since at least 1916. Erskine Childers ‘spent his whole life in the service of England and English Imperialism.’

One of the only leading anti-Treaty republicans who does not suffer character assassination at the pen of Mr. Turi is Cathal Brugha. It would have been incredibly difficult for Mr. Turis to question the integrity and motives of Brugha who had been severely wounded by a hand grenade, as well as by multiple gunshot wounds during the 1916 rising. After suffering these wounds Brugha initially was not expected to survive by his comrades. However since Brugha did survive and became one of Collins’s main rivals for power after 1916 it is surprising that Turi does not implicate him in the conspiracy.
Infact the name Cathal Brugha does not occur once in the whole book!!! Instead, rather confusingly, Brugha is only referred to by the English language translation of his name Charles Burgess. Turi who boasts that he has read over two hundred books on the subject must have known that Irish and British historians uniformly refer to the man as Cathal Brugha. Intriguingly when Turi quotes passages from other books which mention Cathal Brugha he seems to have deliberately translated the name in the quote from ‘Brugha’ to ‘Burgess’. Is it possible that when Mr. Turi was unable to discredit one of Michael Collins’s main rivals for power that he decided instead to try and airbrush him from the history books using literary slight of hand? Or have I too begun to suffer the effect of Mr. Turi’s love of illogical and absurd conspiracy theories?

As well as having a very thin, convoluted, unrealistic and often contradictory plot, Mr. Turi’s book suffers further from a disorganised chronology which has several large gaps in the first half of the book. The narrative constantly jumping back and forward in time to so often that it reminded me of the television series “Quantum Leap” Amazingly there is no account of the East Clare by-election of 1917 – I cannot think of too many biographies of politicians that do not give an account of the first time they stand successfully for public office! The whole narrative of the book is badly written, confusing and in some places incomprehensible, In the chapter about the Treaty negotiations and the causes and beginning of the Irish Civil War Turi’s thesis that De Valera was a spy gets lost completely, only to re-emerge in the narrative like a nmany headed hydra at a later point.

The language, grammar, terms and descriptive phrases used in the book are very, very poor, and couched in ‘twee’ Irish-American stereotypes of Ireland. This occurs so often as to be annoying and distracting. Ireland is referred to as ‘the Emerald Isle” or the “oulde sod”, books about Irish history are ‘Gaelic history books’, De Valera’s friends and comrades are his ‘buddies’ etc. The author also seems to suffer from difficulties with the geography of Britain and Ireland. The phrases England and Britain are constantly interchanged and confused in the text, on page 258 Turi paradoxically defines Scottish Planters as being “English settlers.” The British Prime Minister of the period Lloyd George is described on page 192 as “Lloyd George, a Welsh [sic] and Celt himself” – surely this should have read: ‘Lloyd George, a Welshman and fellow Celt (like De Valera). In many cases the language appears, to me, to be low brow and crass ie. page 259 “The decision was a slam-dunk, a no brainer”, on page 292 events are “shifted into fast forward”

On page 294 “Modest and frugal, Griffith literally sold the shirt off his back to keep his newspapers alive.” Whilst I can appreciate and agree with the point Turi is apparently(?) trying to make here that Griffith often deprived himself of money which he diverted to ensure the survival of his political newspapers – the sentence quoted suggests that Arthur Griffith went bare-chested to a used shirt traders in Dublin to finance his newspapers!
While I can appreciate that these seemingly grammatical mistakes may be the result of the many cultural and linguistic-dialectic differences between America and Ireland , it should be noted that other American / Irish American historians writing about the same period such as T. Ryle Dwyer and John Borgovono do not use similar phraseology in their work and take some care to tailor it to their Irish readership. I do not mean to ‘nit pick’ or become pedantic in highlighting these grammatical / descriptive errors which seem trivial when taken individually, occur so often through out the text that they become infuriating.

There are no attempts at impartiality of language or tone throughout the book
British soldiers are described as ‘screaming deamons’ Cromwell is the ‘plague of all plagues’. Orangemen and Irish Unionists are ‘Unionist goon’s’ Members of the Anti- Treaty I.R.A. during the Civil War are described as ‘IRA dissidents’ a heavily politicised, and ‘loaded’ modern political term connected with the post 1998 peace process.

De Valera is described by Turoi using imagery which is suggest to my mind the forces of the occult – the implication being as far as I could see that De Valera was a tool of evil. “Eamonn De Valera cast his long black shadow on events…” De Valera’s supposed British allies are “screaming demons”. Page 66 “Eamonn De Valera, forsaking martyrdom, made his Faustian pact with the Devil…” Or if the Prince of Darkness isn’t harsh enough how about Hitler! Page 450 “De Valera’s extremists in the Irish Republican Army were the Irish version of Hitler’s Brown Shirt enforcers.”

The only redeeming features in the whole book are Mr. Turi’s critical examination of the many myth’s surrounding of De Valera’s parentage in Chapter 2, and the examination of De Valera’s poor performance as a military commander during the 1916 Rising in Chapter 4. These deservingly challenge propaganda myths later created around De Valera’s early life and career, by sympathetic historians. Perhaps if Mr. Turi had not indulged in fantastic conspiracy theories, and firmly grounded himself in factual evidence, he might have produced a poor to fair critical biography of De Valera worth reading.

Finally to make matters worse Turi continually makes scathing and insulting references to a whole host of Irish historians and previous De Valera biographers including Longford and O Neill, Desmond Ryan, Joe Whelan, Dorothy Mc Ardle, T.Ryle Dwyer and Tim Pat Coogan. He seemingly regards them all as incompetents for not discovering De Valera’s alleged role as a British spy. These attacks are counter productive to Mr. Turi’s argument, and give the impression that not only is he a ‘conspicary nut’, he is also a bitter ‘crank’.

This book is not a work to be tossed aside lightly – it should hurled away from the reader with great force! It has often been said with regard to publishing that “Paper never refused ink.” I would suggest that if Mr. Turi publishes any other similar works in the future that he uses softer and more absorbent paper! The great tragedy here is that Mr Turi’s unfounded conspiracy ramblings will receive far more media attention and airtime, because of their controversial nature, than more deserving, thought provoking and well researched books on the period that have been recently published such as Terrence O Reilly’s “Rebel Heart – George Lennon Flying Column Commander”, William Sheehan’s “Hearts And Mines” or T.Ryle Dwyers “Michael Collins The Man Who Won The War”

In Turi’s interview with Fiona Audley for the Irish Post newspaper, the author commented about De Valera: “I don’t have enough bad words to say about him.” Having taken the time to read and suffer through all 462 pages of it, it is my humble opinion that the same could be said about Mr. Turi’s book! So I think I’ll end it here…

If the above arguments have failed to convince you that the book is a “feeble effort” ( The authors own modest description. Preface Page xi) then you might be interested in listening to Tim Pat Coogan in debate with Mr. Turi on the Pat Kenny Radio show, available by podcast at the below link.

http://www.rte.ie/podcasts/2009/pc/pod- … tkenny.mp3

Tom Barry, West Cork Flying Column commander

Tom Barry was born in Killorglin, County Kerry, the son of a former RIC officer who had become a shopkeeper. His family moved to County Cork in his youth, and he was educated for a period at Mungret College, County Limerick from 25 August 1911 to 12 September 1912. The reason for his short stay is indicated by a reference from the school register of the Apostolic School, Mungret College, ‘Went – Home (ran away) without knowledge of superiors – no vocation’.

“           In June, in my seventeenth year, I had decided to see what this Great War was like. I cannot plead I went on the advice of John Redmond or any other politician, that if we fought for the British we would secure Home Rule for Ireland, nor can I say I understood what Home Rule meant. I was not influenced by the lurid appeal to fight to save Belgium or small nations. I knew nothing about nations, large or small. I went to the war for no other reason than that I wanted to see what war was like, to get a gun, to see new countries and to feel a grown man.        ”

In 1915, during World War I, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery at Cork and became a soldier in the British Army. He fought in Mesopotamia (then part of the Ottoman Empire, present day Iraq).[3] He rose to the rank of sergeant. Barry was offered a commission in the Munster Fusiliers but refused it. While outside Kut-el-Amara Barry first heard of the Easter Rising..

War of Independence

War of Independence

On his return to Cork he was involved with ex-servicemen’s organisations. In 1920, Barry joined the 3rd (West) Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which was then engaged in the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921). He was involved in brigade council meetings, was brigade-training officer, flying column commander, was consulted by IRA General Headquarters Staff (GHQ), and also participated in the formation of the IRA First Southern Division. The West Cork Brigade became famous for its discipline, efficiency and bravery, and Barry garnered a reputation as the most brilliant field commander of the war.

The Kilmichael Ambush on November 28, 1920 was, a turning point of the war as the Auxiliaries, previously thought “invincible”, were defeated by an IRA column – a fact which had a very negative impact on British morale

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On 28 November 1920, Barry’s unit ambushed and killed almost a whole platoon of British Auxiliaries at Kilmichael, County Cork. In March 1921 at Crossbarry in the same county, Barry and 104 men, divided into seven sections, broke out of an encirclement of 1,200 strong British force from the Essex Regiment. In total, the British Army stationed over 12,500 troops in County Cork during the conflict, while Barry’s men numbered no more than 310. Eventually, Barry’s tactics made West Cork ungovernable for the British authorities.



Tom Barry & Comrades

They said I was ruthless, daring, savage, blood thirsty, even heartless. The clergy called me and my comrades murderers; but the British were met with their own weapons. They had gone in the mire to destroy us and our nation and down after them we had to go.”

kilmichael ambush site Memorial

The kilmichael Ambush on November 28, 1920 was, a turning point of the war  as the auxilaries, previously thought “invincible”, were defeated by an IRA column – a fact which had a very negative impact on British morale.

Crossbarry Memorial, Crossbarry, County Cork. In March 1921, 104 Irish Republican Army volunteers under the command of Tom Barry attacked and later escaped from an encircling manoeuvre by 1,200 British soldiers and Black and Tans.

Civil War

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During the negotiations that preceded the Truce that ended the war, the British had demanded that Barry be handed over to them before progress could be made on other matters. Michael Collins refused, although he afterwards jokingly told his fellow Cork men that he had been sorely tempted. Barry opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921, because, according to him, it betrayed the Irish Republic and partitioned Ireland. He fought on the Republican side in the Irish Civil War (1922–1923) and was imprisoned by the Irish Free State after the Battle of Dublin in July 1922. Barry had voiced the opinion that, at the start of the Civil War, while the Republican side was stronger, they should have taken over Dublin and the major cities and forced a new confrontation with the British.

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In September of that year, however, he escaped from an internment camp at Gormanston in north County Dublin and travelled south, to take command of the anti-Treaty IRA Second Southern Division. In November 1922, he led his men in the capture of a string of towns across the south midlands, including Carrick on Suir, Thomastown and Mullinavat, taking the Free State garrison there prisoner. However, due to a shortage of men and equipment, he was unable to hold these places, evacuating them before National Army reinforcements arrived. After this point, Barry increasingly argued with Liam Lynch, the Republican commander in chief, that the Civil War should be brought to an end, as there was no hope of victory. In March, Barry proposed to the IRA Army executive that a ceasefire should be called, but he was defeated by 6 votes to 5. The anti-treaty campaign was belatedly called off by Frank Aiken in May, after Liam Lynch had been killed in a skirmish with Free State troops. Barry was arrested shortly before Aiken’s order to “dump arms”, on 24 May 1923.

After the defeat of the Anti-Treaty IRA in the Civil War, Barry was released in 1924. He served as general superintendent of Cork Harbour Commission from 1927 to 1965. In 1937, he succeeded Seán MacBride as chief of staff. Barry claimed that they had sabotaged a planned IRA offensive in Northern Ireland. Barry would assert in later life that he opposed both the 1930s bombing campaign in England and IRA contacts with Nazi Germany. In fact in January 1937 he had taken a trip to Germany seeking Nazi support, which was assured to him subject to the condition that the IRA limit its actions to British military installations once war was declared. Financing was to be arranged through the Clann na Gael in the USA. The Army Convention in April 1938 adopted Seán Russells S-Plan instead. Barry resigned as chief of staff as a result, but remained in contact with German agents at least to February 1939.

In 1940, Barry was made responsible for Intelligence in the Irish Army’s Southern Command, a position he held for the duration of World War II (see The Emergency). In 1941 he was denounced by the IRA for writing for the Irish Army’s journal. He was an unsuccessful candidate at the 1946 Cork Borough by-election. In 1949, Barry published his memoirs of the Irish War of Independence, Guerilla Days in Ireland, which became a classic account of the war and an influential guide on guerrilla warfare.

Tom Barrys Typewriter

Above: The typewriter with which Tom Barry wrote Guerilla days In Ireland , now on display in Cork city museum.

Barry was supportive of the Provisional IRA  campaign but expressed reservations about some of their tactics. It is said he did not agree with car bombings and the attacks on the UK cities.

In particular bombings of bars and restaurants he felt had no place in an armed struggle.

In later life Tom Barry worked for the Cork Harbour Commissioners , He lived in Daunts square ,Cork city, in a small flat overhead Woodford Bourne wine merchants.

1916 armband

Tom Barrys wife Leslies 1916 armband. Note the date, 17 years after the Rising.

Tom Barry and his wife Leslie did not have any children , Leslie was President Of The Irish Red Cross , she was also a participant in the 1916 Rising. It is said that Tom Barry  was offered a 1916 rising medal but refused it on the grounds that he did not participate in the 1916 Rising.

He was often to be seen walking the mardyke on his way to Fitzjeralds park where he spent a lot of time. Tom died in 1980.

Tom Barry



The Year of Disappearances. Political Killings in Cork 1921 – 1922.

An article by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc ,
Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc challenges the claims in Gerard Murphy’s recent book, The Year of Disappearances. Political Killings in Cork 1921 – 1922.
Professor Eunan O’ Halpin of Trinity College, was prophetic in his endorsement of Gerard Murphy’s recent book, The Year of Disappearances. Political Killings in Cork 1921 – 1922. O’ Halpin stated the book ‘…is bound to stir up controversy.’ Murphy claims that the I.R.A. murdered dozens of Protestant and Unionist citizens of Cork between July 1921 and August 1922. However close analysis reveals that the historical documents Murphy uses as evidence do not always support the claims in his book. Questions need to be asked about the reliability of Murphy’s research.
Murphy’s book examines the execution of suspected British spies by the I.R.A. In 1921 the I.R.A. was a secret guerrilla army where many orders would have been given orally and where written communication would frequently have been destroyed. As a result the evidence for the guilt or innocence of those the I.R.A. executed is often fragmentary. Murphy links these fragments together using supposition, coincidence, and local rumor. Murphy frequently relies on anonymous sources for information. Given the long running controversy caused when the late historian Peter Hart used anonymous sources to make controversial claims about the War of Independence, Murphy should not have made contentious charges about the same period without definite written evidence.
Murphy believes that the I.R.A. abducted teenagers from Unionist families during the conflict to put pressure on the British. He suggests many of these were killed and secretly buried but often fails to produce verifiable evidence to prove this. Even Murphy’s definition of what constitutes a teenager is problematic. Murphy refers to four British soldiers Privates Cannim, Powell, Morris and Dacker killed the night before the Truce as ‘teenage soldiers’ (p.16). None of the four were teenagers. They were aged 20, 20, 21 and 28 respectively. When questioned about this inaccuracy Gerard Murphy told the Sunday Tribune newspaper, ‘They are usually referred to in Cork as teenagers and this is why I referred to them as such. I did not look up their ages.’* In this instance rather than conducting a quick internet search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which would have confirmed the soldiers ages in minutes Murphy instead relied on incorrect second-hand information and treated it as factual.
Rather than conducting a quick internet search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which would have confirmed the soldiers ages in minutes, Murphy relied on incorrect second-hand information and treated it as factual.
The lists of those killed by the IRA in Murphy’s book also pose difficulties. Murphy states that a person named Duggan was abducted and killed by the IRA in Cork sometime in July of 1921. There is no record of a person named Duggan being abducted at that time. Murphy does not state Duggan’s full name, sex and date or place of death in the book. He admits that, ‘Little or nothing is known about Duggan’ (p.35 ) Yet he automatically accepts Duggan’s death as historical fact.
Three Protestant Boys
Murphy’s lists of Cork civilians killed by the I.R.A. also lacks essential detail. It includes groupings of anonymous fatalities including ‘Three Merchants’ and ‘Six Prominent Citizens’ ( p.338 ) Crucially Murphy claims that the IRA in Cork did not target Protestants because of their religion until the War of Independence ended in July 1921 He writes that, ‘… the IRA campaign in the city, at least up to that point was not sectarian’ ( p.42 ). Murphy states that the IRA killed three Protestant teenagers from Cork between 11 – 15 July 1921. According to Murphy, the trio confessed they were British spies before being killed. Murphy sees this as a key event which launched the Cork IRA on a murderous sectarian campaign in late 1921 and early 1922. In his book Murphy insists that this event ‘…set in motion a whole witch hunt fuelled by suspicion and paranoia that led to dozens of deaths.’ (p. 306) The three victims are unnamed in Murphy’s work and he refers to them as ‘Three Protestant Boys’.
There is no record of three Protestant youths being abducted together in newspapers or police reports of the time. Nor is there any record of their existence or death in archival collections such as the Mulcahy Papers in the U.C.D. Archives. Other youths who disappeared, were abducted individually, and secretly executed by the IRA in Cork in the same period were recorded. How could the disappearance of this group of three have escaped the attention of their families, the press, the police and the British authorities? The logical conclusion is that the disappearance of the ‘Three Protestant Boys’, which Murphy claims sparked a sectarian campaign, was not recorded because it did not happen.
The logical conclusion is that the disappearance of the ‘Three Protestant Boys’, which Murphy claims sparked a sectarian campaign, was not recorded because it did not happen.
Murphy’s only information about the fate of the ‘Three Protestant Boys’ comes from one anonymous source. Murphy states that he was told ‘the story’ (his description – p.302) by the 89 year old son of an IRA veteran. Murphy states this man was informed ‘…by a Volunteer who waited until all connected to the event were themselves dead.’ ( p.302) Murphy does not state how the IRA veteran his 89 year old source supposedly heard the story from knew of the killings. Nor is he named anywhere in Murphy’s book. This third hand anonymous information cannot be verified or examined and therefore completely lacks credibility. Yet it is Murphy’s strongest evidence not only for the fate of the ‘Three Protestant Boys’ but also of their existence.
The Documentary Evidence
Murphy claims that the killings of these three were referred to by Connie Neenan in an account of his IRA activities recorded in writing by Ernie O’ Malley. (Ernie O’Malley Military Notebooks U.C.D. Archives P17b/112 p. 126) Murphy gives the following as an extract from this interview: ‘Three were friends and they confessed to their trackings and they were killed.’ This sentence is so central to Murphy’s thesis that he refers to it no less than 15 times in the book. Murphy also entitles the book’s 27th Chapter ‘Three Were Friends’. However the phrase ‘Three were friends…’ is not found anywhere in the document cited by Murphy.
The sentence in the account quoted by Murphy actually reads: ‘Both kids confessed their trackings, and they were killed.’ This transcription of the sentence has been confirmed by two other historians who have specialised in transcribing O’Malley’s notebooks. Namely O’Malley’s son Cormac K. H. O’Malley and Dr. John O’Callaghan of the University of Limerick. While O’Malley’s handwriting is difficult to read, this document is amongst the most legible interviews he recorded. It is clear beyond doubt that there are only nine words in the sentence. A comparison between Murphy’s transcription of the passage and the original (above) shows that Murphy frequently misidentified words, in one case reversed the order of two words, changed numerals to words and inserted several words that were not in the original.
Presumably Murphy mistook the B in ‘Both’ for the numeral ‘3’. Regardless, Murphy provides an extremely poor and misleading transcription of the sentence. It is clear from the original that Neenan was referring to two suspected spies executed before the Truce and therefore could not possibly have been referring to ‘Three Protestant Boys’ killed afterwards.
Gerard Murphy insists that the transcription of the document in his book is fully correct and accurate. This claim is paradoxical since Murphy gives at least three slightly different transcriptions of the sentence in his book (pp. 109, 149,306). When questioned about the accuracy of his transcription of this sentence Gerard Murphy told the Sunday Tribune newspaper, ‘To my eyes at least the word ‘friends’ is clearly legible. A blind man could see that the sentence has ten words not nine, excluding the 3.’
When contacted concerning the accuracy of Gerard Murphy’s transcription of the sentence and provided with a copy of the document in question, Gill & Macmillan, Murphy’s publishers stated; ‘It is not our intention, to insert ourselves into this scholarly dispute.’
Given the lack of any verifiable proof whatsoever that this incident ever happened, serious questions need to be raised about the dozens of deaths that Murphy claims were a result of it. Murphy makes over forty references to O’Malley’s handwritten documents in his book in support of his various claims. If Murphy was unable to read and accurately transcribe O’Malley’s interview with Neenan then the other references Murphy makes to O’Malley’s notebooks must also be treated as circumspect by the reader until they have been checked in the original.
By omitting three key words from his transcription Murphy has completely changed the meaning of the sentence. The original sentence implies that I.R.A. methods of gathering information were competent and precise. Murphy’s incorrect transcription of the sentence gives the opposite impression.
Finally Murphy’s inaccurate transcriptions are unfortunately not confined to handwritten documents. Murphy reproduces part of a typed IRA document issued by the 1st Cork Brigade. (O’Donoghue Papers National Library of Ireland MS 31 230) According to Murphy it directs IRA intelligence officers to examine letters addressed to ‘… any address or firm with which people generally deal…’
The document actually states that the IRA should be on the alert for letters sent to ‘… any address or firm with which people locally do not generally deal…’ By omitting three key words from his transcription Murphy has completely changed the meaning of the sentence. The original sentence implies that I.R.A. methods of gathering information were competent and precise. Murphy’s incorrect transcription of the sentence gives the opposite impression.
The flaws in Murphy’s work are often evident only when his original source material is examined. If Murphy can not accurately transcribe either the handwritten or typed documents he uses as evidence, then the claim that his book is a work of historical fact based around these documents is seriously questionable.
Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc is a Ph D student at the University of Limerick. He is the author of Blood On The Banner – The Republican Struggle in Clare and The Battle For Limerick City both published by Mercier Press, Cork. He administrates the website www.warofindependence.info
*The quotations from Gerard Murphy above, are taken from his unpublished response to The Sunday Tribune newspaper and appear courtesy of The Sunday Tribune.


1916 Rising Dublin- Sherwood Foresters

We are grateful to John McGuiggan for the following article. If anyone would like to e mail John his e mail is at the end of the page.

In some forgotten corner of a foreign field

For a dead English soldier it really doesn’t matter whether the foreign field in which you finally rest is in Flanders or in Dublin. At least it shouldn’t. But scattered across Dublin cemeteries lie the forgotten remains of the young men of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment who were slaughtered on Dublin’s Streets during the 1916 Easter Rising. Their story, like their scruffy and neglected graves, remains largely forgotten in the long and embarrassed history of the English in Ireland.

They were volunteers, recruited from the towns and villages of Nottinghamshire. From Newark and Bingham from Huthwaite and Hucknall, Robin Hood county, the English folk hero from which the regiment took it’s name. They had responded to Kitchener’s posters, to fight in the trenches of Belgium and France, but had been caught instead in a smaller cause and had been pulled out of basic training at Watford to be thrown into street fighting against the Irish Rebels in Dublin

They were so raw. Most had less than three months of military service. They were unfamiliar with their weapons and many of them had not yet had live firing practice. Young men with guns and little training are as much of a danger to themselves as they are to anyone else. On Dublin’s dockside their officers issued live ammunition but ensured that as the men charged their weapons they were pointing their rifles safely out to sea – just in case of accidents amongst such unskilled soldiers.

The officers, all volunteers from English public schools, breakfasted at St. George’s harbourside Yacht club while the men opened tins of bully beef and biscuits. Some of the men thought they had landed in France. They were excited, keen, anxious and apprehensive.

In the paneled rooms of the Yacht club the officers were briefed on the outbreak of Rebellion and given their orders. They were to divide their forces. Two of the battalions, Derbyshire men, would march round the city and enter from the west, making their way to Kilmainham hospital, now the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and thence to Dublin castle.  They were to be heavily engaged in the rebellion but would suffer light causalities. Their most notable presence became known through the use of Guinness Company boilers mounted on the rear of lorries and deployed around the city centre as makeshift armoured cars.

The other two battalions, the Nottinghamshire men, faced a much graver fate. They were to march straight though the heart of Dublin. Many of the raw young Robin Hoods would never make it. They would never see Belgium or France and never see again the forests of their native Sherwood.

They marched towards their destiny armed only with lee-Enfield rifles and bayonets. There was not a hand grenade between them. At Watford they had left with Lewis machine guns, two to each battalion. A fearsome, drum fed weapon, capable of firing .303 calibre bullets at a rate of up to 600 rounds per minute. But at Liverpool a zealous and bureaucratic loading officer insisted they leave the Lewis guns behind. It was to be a costly error.

The Rebels towards which they now advanced were under the command of Eamon de Valera, the future Taoiseach and President of Ireland.  He and his men had been training for this moment for years. They were on home ground, better trained and more experienced than the oncoming Sherwood Foresters, well armed and superbly positioned in buildings heavily reinforced with sandbags and makeshift barricades. Their task was to hold the Mount Street Canal Bridge and prevent troops entering the city centre to reinforce those already fighting around the General Post Office. They had to stop the oncoming Sherwood Foresters.

At Clanwilliam house, directly opposite the Mount Street bridge, De. Valera deployed some six men armed with a mix of Lee-Enfield’s, German mausers and Italian Martini rifles. The house was a large gracious three story Georgian end terrace, with long elegant windows which gave commanding views over the approaches to the Mount Street bridge. More men were deployed in a school on the south corner of the bridge. And on the approach road to the bridge, at No. 25 Northumberland Road, behind barricaded and looped firing positions were deployed the experienced rebel volunteers Lt. Grace and Lt. Malone. They were to inflict the first and the heaviest of the Sherwood’s casualties and the house, which still stands , bears a commemorative plaque to their efforts. In all some seventeen rebels held the chosen strongpoint’s around the Mount St. Bridge.

The Mount Street canal bridge area is one of the most opulent of Dublin’s suburbs. Graced by large substantial houses. It is in the most sought after residential quarter of the city. But only for the rich for the houses are splendid and today you would pay several million euros for a semi-detached house of the kind in which Grace and Malone now awaited the raw unskilled soldiers of the Sherwood Foresters.

They marched in the fine sunlight of a Dublin Spring. From Kingstown, where they landed (now known as Dun Laoghaire) though the wide tree lined streets towards the Canal bridge.

The Battalion adjutant Capt. Dietrichsen, a Nottingham barrister, was surprised and delighted to find his wife and children amongst those waving and welcoming the marching troops. She was an Irish girl, Beatrice Mitchell, from the noted Dublin wine merchants;  she had left their home Nottingham, in fear of German Zeppelin raids, for the safety of her parent’s family home in Blackrock, Dublin. They embraced and hugged in the pure joy of the surprise.

Some harassing fire was directed at them as they neared the vicinity of the bridge but it was not of any great or determined effect.  It was largely an enjoyable march, for the residents welcomed them and pressed tea and sandwiches upon the soldiers and offered gifts, including maps and field glasses. The battalion scouts riding ahead on bicycles were given detailed intelligence as to the Rebel positions towards which they now approached. Not all the intelligence was accurate.

Captain Dietrichsen was amongst the first of the Robin Hoods to die.  Less than an hour after embracing his family in Blackrock,  just 200 yards from the canal bridge, he, with the advance guard of the battalion, came under withering sustained fire from the rebels in 25 Northumberland Road. Ten Sherwood Foresters fell , amongst them Captain Dietrichsen and his colleague Lt. Hawken. The soldiers fell back into the opposite side of the road not yet knowing from where the shots had come.

They deployed along Northumberland Road in the spring sunshine, returning fire when they could. But street fighting with rifles is an ineffective response to a well positioned urban enemy behind good and organised cover. What you need to get them out is light artillery, or tanks. The Lewis guns, left behind in Liverpool, would have kept the rebel heads down and reduced the now rapidly escalating casualties, but without a heavier and bettor weaponed response then it was always going to be wasteful slaughter. So it was to prove. Whatever these young raw Robin Hoods lacked in military experience and skills, they lacked nothing in bravery.  Number 25 was identified as the source of their comrades sudden death and the remaining officers drew swords and led the men in a ferocious bayonet charge across the road and towards the rebel’s house.

As they charged towards Number  25 they were caught in a merciless crossfire as the rebels in Clanwilliam house now opened fire. Terrible casualties were inflicted and soldiers fell all across Northumberland Road.   From No. 25, Grace and Malone were firing point blank into the desperate ranks of the Robin Hoods, Grace emptying his Mauser pistol in an orgy of violence in the quiet and gracious suburb.

Northumberland Road was wet with English Blood.

The British infantry had been trained to advance towards enemy lines on the sound of a whistle. It was the only tactic they knew. Now, every twenty minutes, on the sound of a British Army issue whistle, the Robin Hoods again charged their enemy. They charged No. 25 Northumberland Road. They charged the school at the corner of the bridge. They charged the bridge. They charged Clanwilliam House. They charged and charged, and were slaughtered. They were refused permission to flank the rebels with an attack from the right. Only frontal attacks were to be allowed. The attacks were to be pressed home “at all costs”. Frontal charges onto the guns of the rebels.

By late in the day, when the Dublin Military Garrison provided them with a Lewis gun and with hand grenades, they had already lost some 230 men in dead and wounded. They lay all over the quiet suburb, along the grassy canal banks, by the bridge, around the school, the parochial hall, and across the steps of the grand houses.

It was the hand bombs and the machine guns that turned the battle. No 25 was finally overwhelmed with bombs, and one of the rebels shot, the other escaping. The school was taken but no rebels found, only the dead caretaker and his equally dead wife, the bridge was crossed, Clanwilliam house was bombed and burned and here, in the words of the regiments historian, at least three rebels met their death at the hands of the Robin Hoods, the other rebels getting clean away.

From the perspective of the rebels this had been a magnificent victory. So many English dead at the hands of so few rebels. It was the Rorke’s Drift of the Rebellion. Seventeen men had held off two battalions of the British Army.

For the British it was a disaster. Within a twenty minute march of the bridge there were half a dozen other bridges that could have been crossed with little difficulty and which would have delayed the soldiers by no more than half an hour. Instead they had engaged in a full-scale struggle with untrained troops against an well-entrenched and highly motivated enemy. It was the classic example of how not to fight a street battle. Perhaps the first important lesson for the British Military in street fighting tactics.

For the raw dead teenage soldiers it was a tragedy. They must have known when they volunteered for the Great War, that death was a possibility, they knew that they might die in Belgium or in France. But Dublin. Death in Dublin would never have entered their minds.

Had they died in Flanders they would at least have merited a well-kept grave with a noble military headstone. They would be visited, and honoured on Remembrance Day.   Capt. Dietrichsen, perhaps because his family were in Dublin, got a private marked grave, but unlike those of his comrades who lie in the military cemeteries of Belgium and France, his Dublin corner of a foreign field lies scruffy, neglected and forgotten, his name worn to nothing by the passage of time.

Some of the dead soldiers’ lie in decent graves well kept and tendered with proper care and respect by Irish cemetery staff. Military graves, listed in the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it is the way that military dead should be treated. Others lie in sad untidy plots, scattered around Dublin cemeteries, neglected by age, forgotten by history. One or two of the dead have no graves at all and appear to have been dumped in a mass grave, along with civilian and rebel dead, at Dublin’s Deans Grange graveyard

Perhaps the military performance of the Robin Hoods was considered so poor that they were not and are not recalled with the same degree of honour that we remember the dead from Flanders or the dead from World War II.  That cannot be, for these raw young soldiers were as brave as lions. Their slaughter was not of their own making and any military deficiency in the Mount Street bridge battle came from the poor leadership and direction given by the Generals of the British High Command in Ireland, not from the performance or bravery of the Sherwood Foresters, men or officers.

These were young volunteers, as noble as any soldiers who ever died in military service. This November, this Remembrance Day, think of them when you wear your poppy.

They deserve nothing less.

(c)John McGuiggan wig@fourcourts.net

Weapons Of The IRA 3.rd West Cork Brigade

A contributor has recently sent us some photos of weapons used by the Irish Republican Army , third West Cork Brigade, we thank you very much.  The pistol is a Webley and Scott Ltd London & Birmingham, 6.3 mm automatic pistol.

The machine gun is a Lewis ,marked Animes Automatiques Lewis Belgium and Bimingham co Ltd proof marks.

Many weapons used by the IRA  in west Cork were captured from Crown forces and it can be well assumed that these weapons were captured at some of the famous ambushes in that area. I have no further details so please dont ask as these were sent in by sender unknown.

IRA weapons:

Lee Enfields , mausers , webleys, lewis and vickers were all used, along with a multitude of shot guns , mills bombs(grenades) , and numerous different types of pistols/revolvers. Some British Writers would have you believe they used hatchets too, no comment.

We believe they are a great addition to the site and would only ask that more reader would send in photos , documents or any other information.

IRA Pistol

third West Cork Brigade Pistol

IRA pistol Webley & Scot

IRA Lewis Machine Gun

Irish republican Army MG

Irish republican Army MG

close up Irish republican Army MG LEWIS

close up Irish republican Army MG LEWIS

close up Irish republican Army MG LEWIS

mechanism close up Irish republican Army MG LEWIS

mechanism close up Irish republican Army MG LEWIS

IRA LEWIS GUN 2

IRA LEWIS GUN

IRA LEWIS GUN

We hope you enjoy the great photos and please send us your own photos, documents or other information to  info@theirishwar.com

or go to the web site http://theirishwar.com/

Michael Collins Painting

We have been contacted by Tadgh Creed form West Cork and has has sent us a lovely painting he completed on Michael Collins,. It is a fine painting. Well done tadgh and maybe you will do more?

Thanks Tadgh!.

If any reader has more paintings or drawings or indeed photos please e mail them to us , we would be glad to publish them. E mail us at  info@theirishwar.com

or visit our web site at  http://theirishwar.com/

Identifying a British Army cap Badge ( NOT IRA or Volunteers) Cork Connection

To Whom It May Concern,

I’ve been viewing your excellent website “The Irish War” for a period of several months now and have been very impressed with the information that it contains. In that regards, I am wondering if anyone can help me in identifying what regiment my great uncle Patrick Flynn might have belonged to, based on the uniform that he is wearing in the photo that I’ve attached. On the back of the photo there is written: “Patrick Flynn – IV Solider – 1905”. He is pictured with his younger brother Cornelius. Both were from Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland. Patrick was born 1883. Con was born 1894. Patrick immigrated to the United States in 1906 to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I live, while Con stayed in Clonakilty, dying there in 1966.

I’ve tried blowing the image of the “Badge Cap” up to see what regiment my great uncle might have possibly belong to, but so far I’ve been unable to match it to any “Badge Cap” that I’ve seen on the internet. I’m assuming the “IV” on the back of the photo stands for “Irish Volunteer”, but I’m not positive, it could mean Fourth.

I’ve been told that the Uniform is that of a “First World War – British Army Khaki Service Uniform” – possibly a Calvary or Royal Horse Artillery unit based on; the ammunition bandoleer, “Cor Blimey Hat” and puttees.

Although, the uniform does seem to match the “1902 Pattern Service Dress” for the British army in WW1, the picture is not from the WW1 time period, because again, the photo is dated 1905 on the back and Patrick emigrated to the United States in 1906, and was living here in Cincinnati, Ohio during WW1. Also, if the picture was from the 1913 – 1918 time period — Con, the young boy in the picture would have been in his early 20’s – which is not the case, as you can see. If the picture is dated correctly, i.e., 1905 – the brothers would have been around 22 and 11 years of age respectively in 1905, which seems to match the picture correctly.

I know your website deals mostly with Irish medals, Irish militaria and uniforms of the 1916 Easter Rebellion and the Irish War of Independence, but maybe someone can recognize the Cap Badge, and tell me what army regiment my great uncle belonged to, because so far I’ve had no luck in identifying his regiment.

I would appreciate any information that you can send my way.

Thanks in advance for your help, I’m looking forward towards your reply.

Thank you,

Sincerely,

Tim Flynn




The Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary

By Admin :

Recently we have had requests for more information on the RIC/Black and Tans /Auxillaries. So, to get a different perspective please see the article below.

By Author Ernest McCall

The Auxiliary Division

Royal Irish Constabulary –

The first anti-terrorist unit in the world

The Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC) came into being on 23/7/1920 (the date of the first recruit).  Their remit was to face a rough and dangerous task – fighting the IRA.  The Auxiliary Division was formed into 21 Companies based on British Army formations, however, the rank structure was that of the Royal Irish Constabulary and they wore RIC rank insignia.  The men of the ADRIC were classed as Temporary Cadets (equivalent to Sergeant) as the RIC had an officer cadet system.   Within the ADRIC was another Division called the Veterans & Drivers Division who specialised in driving and security duties and they were classed as Temporary Constables and not Temporary Cadets.  Inside an eighteen day period during July / August 1920, 15 Auxiliary Companies were formed and distributed around the troubled spots.  The RIC Special Reserve (the Black & Tans), were classed as Temporary Constables and are often confused with the ADRIC although they were two distinct units within the RIC.   The ADRIC were sent to the Marital Law Areas of Ireland concentrating on Cork, Limerick and Dublin.  Each Company had approximately 100 officers and men.  They were highly mobile and they had a selection of vehicles including two Rolls Royce armoured cars.  The Auxiliaries were overwhelmingly former officers of the British Army who were demobilised after the Great War.  Nevertheless, there were former officers from British Empire regiments i.e. Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans and some Americans who had served in British regiments during the Great War.

Republican propaganda at the time claimed they were “the dregs and scum from English gaols and pubs”, which is nowhere the truth.  In fact, approximately 10% of the ADRIC held bravery awards from Victoria Cross to Mentioned in Dispatches.  During the existence of the ADRIC, some gained bravery awards for actions whilst in Ireland.  The Auxiliaries soon gained a reputation of being ferocious fighters and the IRA put a bounty of £50 on each Auxiliary head.  The ADRIC were involved in the “Bloody Sunday” shooting at Croke Park and a week later the IRA got its revenge at Kilmichael, County Cork by ambushing and killing 16 Cadets and one Veteran Driver, which resulted in the greatest loss of life for the RIC during the War of Independence.  The ADRIC learnt from the Kilmichael ambush and the IRA never had a similar success against the ADRIC for the remaining period of the war.   In Dublin as a result of the Croke Park shooting and Crown Forces activity the IRA did not organise an attack on the ADRIC until April 1921, some six months later.  In May 1921 during the Customs House attack, the last major IRA attack of the war, Auxiliaries from “F” & “Q” Companies along with some military captured approximately 100 IRA men with weapons and killed five of them during the exchange of gunfire.  The failed Customs House attack had a major influence on the IRA’s future strategy.  In the other Martial Law areas the Auxiliaries acted independently and achieved many successes as well as the occasional setback.  Within 50 weeks of the ADRIC being formed the IRA was signing the Truce.  Their effect on the IRA was such that the Republicans ensured that the Auxiliary Division were included in the Anglo-Irish Treaty.  They (the IRA) requested that no more Auxiliary Police were to be recruited except for maintaining drafts.  There is no doubt that the ADRIC had a major influence on the War of Independence and had it not been for the Truce, they along with the Army would have put down the rebellion, but 10 Downing Street settled for the Truce.  The Auxiliary Division was disbanded by January 1922.  Some commentators claim that the Auxiliaries were the first anti-terrorist unit in the world.

Copies of the book can be purchased by sending a sterling cheque made out to E McCall to the value of £27.85 (inclusive of postage within the UK, outside the UK the book & postage is £30.60, book & airmail is £35.60 and these prices are subject to change) to “Tudor’s Toughs”, PO Box 262, Newtownards BT23 9DP, County Down,

Northern Ireland, UK.

If you wish a presentation or order the book on Tudor’s Toughs please me contact re fees etc at mccall.ernest@gmail.com

COMMENTS BY THOSE WHO HAVE BOUGHT

“THE AUXILIARIES –

TUDOR’S TOUGHS”

AMERICAN BUYER, “I cannot say enough about it.   Not only was it everything I had hoped for and more, but it is such a beautifully finished book.  Befitting of what is a labour of love.  Well done, Sir!  It is already one of my favoured possessions.  I am going to cool my heels for a while tomorrow, and your book will be with me”.

IRISH REPUBLIC BUYER, “I would be very interested in buying your book which I am told is an invaluable source”.

NORTHERN IRELAND HISTORIAN, “I haven’t put the book down since I got it”.

ULSTER GENEALOGICAL REVIEW JOURNAL, “An excellent and nicely-produced important new publication”.

ENGLISH BUYER, “Received the book this morning, cannot put it down”.

THE RIC FORUM, “This is a very informative reference copy and will add to the body of knowledge about the world’s first mobile counter-insurgency force”.

NORTHERN IRELAND GRAMMAR SCHOOL HISTORY TEACHER, “Congratulations on a very professional and well researched book, I have certainly learnt a lot”.

IRISH MILITARY HISTORIAN, “I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate you on a wonderful piece of research and work; I look forward to your next work”.

CANADIAN HISTORIAN, “You have managed to compile the information in a form that is very readable and not just a collection of cold facts.  It will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in this period of Irish history”.

IRISH HISTORIAN, “It is a wonderful addition to the history of policing in Ireland.  This book deserves an honoured place on the shelf of every Irish historian”.

British I.R.A. Volunteers 1921

British I.R.A. Volunteers 1921  . An article by padraig O Ruairc.

Very often the history of Irish Republicanism is presented in over simplistic black and white terms of Catholic Vs Protestant – English Vs Irish. Any one who has undertaken even the most basic study of Irish history from the 1700’s onwards will know that this supposed sectarian mould of Irish history (set by the British Governments strategy of divide and conquer) was repeatedly broken. We all know, (or at least should all know) that the leadership of the 1798 rebellion was far more about Protestants like Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy Mc Cracken and Lord Edward Fitzgerald than it was about Fr. Murphy of Boolavogue!
Like wise when looking at the Easter Rising – Irish War of Independence and later the Irish Civil War that people frequently broke out of the cultural and religious roles assigned to them. We have heard of ex British Soldiers like Erskine Childers and James Connolly leading the republicans or else Northern Presbyterian Ernest Blythe, Northern Quaker Bulmer Hobson, Northern Protestant Rodger Casement or Anglo Irish Protestant Constance Marcivictz taking up the republican cause.

But these examples British (and more specifically English) men who joined the republican struggle as ordinary I.R.A. Volunteers (not leaders) many of whom gave their lives for Irish Freedom will probably not be so well known to you.

Enjoy and remember this next time someone presents the struggle for independence as a simple black- white, right-wrong, English-Irish, Catholic- Protestant question.

Padraig

Easter Week 1916, Dublin – Abraham Weeks
An English Jew from the East-end of London. Weeks was a militant socialist, trade unionist and member of the International Workers of The World better known by their nickname The Wobblies. Apparently he had come to Dublin to escape conscription to the British Army during WW1 and arrived at Liberty Hall, the H.Q. of The Irish Citizens Army on Monday the 24th of April asking to join the rebels stating That he had conscientious objection to fighting for capitalistic and imperialistic governments, but that he also had a conscientious objevtion to being left out of a fight for liberty. Weeks was nominally appointed as a member of the ICA and was attached to the G.P.O. garrison in O Connell / Sackville St. for the duration of the Easter Week rebellion. He was fatally wounded during the evacuation of the G.P.O. on Friday of Easter week and died the next day. (Not surprising really given that James Connolly to this day is the only Irish politician to have given an election address in Yiddish – See Manus O Riordan Connolly Socialisim and the Jewish Worker, Saothar 13 Printed 1988)
[For more see;- James Connolly, Liberty Hall & The 1916 Rising by Francis Devine and Manus O Riordan]

War of Independence and Civil War, Offaly – Charlie Chidlie
An Englishman who served in the British Army and was stationed in Crinkle Military Barracks, Birr Co. Offaly during the War of Independence where he was employed as military driver who chauffeured British Army Staff officers. Chidley deserted to join the I.R.A. and was able to give them valuable intelligence information. He remained with the I.R.A. through the remainder of the War of Independence, and took the republican side during the Civil War. He was captured by the Free State Army in Autumn of 1922 and interned.
[For more read; Coolacrease by Paddy Heney]

War of Independence, Cork – Peter Monahan.
A British Army soldier from Scotland Monohan was stationed in Cobh with the Cameron Highlanders. Just before Christmas of 1920 Monohan troubled by the actions of the British Forces in Ireland deserted from his regiment taking with him Tommy Clarke who was apparently less interested in the rights and wrongs of the military situation in Ireland and was just fed up of Army life. They made their way through Ringaskiddy abd headed west – apparently they got dioriented along the way and after wandering about cold and hungry for a few days they wound up in Kilmacsimon Quay a very small village between Bandon and Kinsale. Their presence had already been noticed by the local I.R.A. Volunteers when tho two deserters called at the family home of Liam Deasy (who was an adjutant in the I.R.A.’s west Cork Brigade) asking his mother for food and cigarettes -which she gave them.
Monahan and Clarke were then arrested by the I.R.A. who suspected them of being British spies and were intent on executiong them when Monahan revealed his republican sympathies and the fact that he had worked as a mining engineer in Scotland and had a good knowledge of commercial explosives. This proably saved their lives as the West Cork Brigades efforts at making landmines for use in ambushes and barrack attacks up to this point had all been successfull. Monohan joined the I.R.A. and made mines that were used in attacks on R.I.C. Barracks at Kilbrittan, Drimoleague and Inishannon.
On one occasion when Monohan was leading a small group of I.R.A. volunteers down a country road they met a local farmer driving a pony and trap. He struck up a conversation with Monahan and un hearing his Scottish accent assumed that the armed men with him were R.I.C. Auxialiaries ( believe it or not it was a common enough mistake to make to confuse the Auxies and I.R.A. during the war as neither side was properly uniformed, civilian trench coats and british equipment were used by both sides.) The farmer asked Monahan ;Is it safe for me to be talking to you sir? When Monahan replied that it was the man told them the whereabouts of an I.R.A. dugout he had stumbled across and continued ;Im not like the rest of them round here at all. The Very Reverend Mr. Lord is my man and I give him the information. You fellows should come round at night and ill show you round. Having unwittingly blown his cover and exposed himself as a spy the man was taken prisoner and executed that night.
Monahan was killed by British fire during the Crossbary Ambush of March 1921
[For more read Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland by Leon O Broin or Republican Cobh and the East Cork Volunteers Since 1913 by Kieran Mc Carthy

War of Independence and Civil War, Kerry – Reginald Hathaway Stennings
Alias Walter Stephens, a 23 year old Englishman, a native of London, with an address of 39 King Edward Street, Slough, Bucks, England. He came to Tralee some time during the War of Independence as a member of the East Lancashire regiment of the British Army. During this time he deserted the British joined the I.R.A. and became very friendly with local republican leaders Edward Greaney and Aero Lyons. He remained a member of the I.R.A. after the truce and when the Civil war broke out he joined the Free State Army. However he quickly disappeared from barracks absconded with a rifle and a hundred rounds of ammunition in order to rejoin and rearm the I.R.A.! He was captured during the surrender of Pierses Flying Column and signed a form undertaking not to take up arms against the Free State under the alias of Walter Stephens.
He was taken prisoner along with James Mc Enry and Edward Greaney on the 18th of April 1923 at Clashmelcon caves and received severe physical abuse from his Free State Captors after his surrender.
He was executed by the Free State Army at 8 o clock on Wednesday the 25th of April 1923. He is buried in the republican plot at Rahela Graveyard Ballyduff, Co. Kerry.
For more read Tragedies of Kerry by Dorothy Mc Ardle of The Civil War in Kerry by Tom Doyle

War of Independence and Civil War, Cork – Ian MacKenzie Kennedy
Ian Graeme Baun MacKenzie-Kennedy or Scottie as he was inevitably nicknamed. Scottish Protestant – a well known figure in Ballingeary and in Irish-speaking circles during the War of Independence. MacKenzie Kennedy was born in 1899 and is believed to have hailed from Inverness-shire in the Scottish Highlands. He came from a distinguished family that was steeped in the military tradition. His father was a major and his uncle had been a major general in the British army. His brother was killed in action in France, and his mother keen for her son to avoid the same fate, took him to live in Ireland about 1916. The youthful MacKenzie Kennedy was a tall strapping young man in kilts was proficient in Scots Gaelic, and subsequently studied Irish.
Scottie and his mother initally lived in Killarney with the Honourable Albina Broberick, whose brother was the earl of Middleton. Albina gaelicised her name to Gobnait ni Bruadair and was an unrepentant republican. Later Scottie arrived in Ballyvourney looking for a place to stay in order to learn Irish and further his interest in Celtic studies. Creedons of Ballyvourney advised him to go to the famous Toureen Dubh in Ballingeary where he stayed for the next three years. The house belonged to the Twomey family and had a reputation for being full of laughter and boundless hospitality.
Despite his background Scottie was warmly accepted by the people of Ballingeary as a true Gael among Gaels, and soon the tiny valley among the hills thrilled to the skirl of his pipes. He is still remembered for his sunny, happy nature. A friend Geraldine Neeson, Cork City musician and journalist, gives the following description of him:
“He was a most attractive person whom we all liked very much. An extrovert with a consuming curiosity about people and their motivations. He had a sharp, frequently-used wit and a clear, infectious laugh, and was excellent company.”

Scottie seemed to love Ireland from the first and before long joined the Ballingeary based D Company, 8th Battalion of Cork No.1 Brigade of the I.R.A. His comrades best remembered him for the amusement he caused on so many occasions. His notion for a stovepipe cannon wound tightly with steel wire, to demolish barracks-doors with, might or might not have succeeded. Nobody wished to test it. The experemental sail he affixed to his bicycle was quite effective but a good deal more fun. His comrade Padraig Greene recounted the gunpowder episode.
“Scottie made a quantity of gunpowder and was preparing to test it – an operation in which he asked for my assistance. He had prepared the ‘boxing’, i.e. the cast iron tapering cylinder which goes into the nave of the wheel by plugging one end of it. With a measured amount of powder he wanted to estimate how far it would throw a 26 ounce steel bowl.
“He had all preparations made to do the test, but luckily for me, I was given another job that took me away from the house. Scottie took the ‘cannon’, poured in the powder, placed the bowl on top of it and then tamped plenty of paper on top of the bowl. He made one great mistake – he forgot to put paper on top of the powder before he inserted the bowl.
“When he started the tamping, metal struck metal creating a spark, and the whole thing blew up in his hands. His hands were black from grains of powder and the lintel over the window was cracked and so was the sill. Everyone in the house was in a state of shock when I returned.
“The following day, the Bean A’ Tigh told Scottie to remove the gunpowder into the ashes around the fire causing an explosion which covered the kitchen with ashes and cinders causing further uproar. Few people, other than Scottie would have been allowed to remain on in the house after these episodes. “Scottie’s only complaint was that part of his moustache was burned on one side.”

John M. Regan – The District Inspector of the R.I.C. based in Bantry in 1918-1920 recalled meeting Scottie in his memoirs on an occasion when his car had broken dowm in the vicinity of a local I.R.A. leaders home. With them came a man in a Scotch Kilt whom I recognised at once as a Scotsman of acultured type who had come to Ireland for one reason or other and ended up joining the I.R.A. He had been taken prisoner at Glandore and of course was also released. Just when were about to start he came to me and said, ‘D� yo�ave a revolver of mine. I tried to appear composed as I agreed and for something to say remarked that I had no ammunition to fit it. Upon which he informed me that if I gave it back to him he would get stuff to fit it all right. We left, apparently, the best of friends.

There is one other story about how he went to Killarney quite openly during the early days of the War Independence but before it had reached its real intensity. The town was full of British military and one day two swaggering officers armed fully absed him in the street and made some sneering remark about his cowardice in not not;joining up. Scottie reached out and grabbed one in either hand, banged their heads together, and threw them dazed up the street.

The writer Sean O’Faolain who was a comrade of Scottie’s, recollects him in his autobiography Vive Moi! from when he stayed in Dick Twomey’s of Tureen Dubh. “I slept there (in a hay barn) many a night beside a magnificent tall Scot, named Ian Bawn MacKenzie Kennedy, who had come over to Ireland to fight for the Irish Republic.”
Scottie was respected by his IRA comrades as was shown early in 1921 when he was entrusted with the arms fund totalling £85 and went to England at great personal risk to buy guns – he returned on March 24th with eleven new Webley 45 revolves hidden in a crate.

An underground foundry was constructed at Carrigbawn, to manufacture hand grenades and bombs.Local volunteers scoured the countryside for scrap metal, old pig troughs and plough shares. A year earlier Scottie had provided a “74/14/12” recipe for gunpowder to the officers. Scottie played the Flowers of the Forest on the bagpipes at Donall ‘ac Taidhg McSweeney’s funeral, at the old man’s dying request. He visited his mother at regular intervals in the Castle Hotel in Killarney, but she failed to persuade him to return to Scotland. Eventualy Scottie converted to Catholicism, having been influenced by the religious atmosphere of West Cork. No doubt his father a major in the British army was not pleased about his sons conversion to both Irish Republicanism and Catholicism and requested that if the British Forces in Cork captured his son he asked to be allowed to command the firing squad that executed him!

Throughout the Truce period and after the signing of the treaty Scottie remained a member of the I.R.A. and opposed the Treaty and cycled from Twomey’s house in West Cork to Cork city to oppose the advancing Free State Army. It was not long before Scottiee was to enter the fray. The following is based on an article that appeared Poblacht Na h-Eireann Scottish Edition) dated 21 October 1922. During the fighting in Rochestown, as the covering party of the IRA was evacuating to their second position near Douglas village, their lorry broke down at Belmont Cross. Three Volunteers jumped from the lorry and took up position in Belmont Cottage nearby to enable the rest of the party to get away under the protection of an armoured car. These were Scottie, Frank O’Donoghue and Moloney.
One party of Free State soldiers who charged the cottage was forced to retire leaving one of their number by the name of Flood, a Dublin man, dying on the road. Frank O’Donoghue rushed from the cottage to Flood’s aid, whispered an act of contrition into his ear, and the unfortunate Flood died grasping O’Donoghue’s hand. The republicans took one prisoner.
The cottage was later surrounded, and the three brave republican soldiers kept up an unequal fight against 64 Free State troops, killing 12, and wounding 15 according to the report. Only when the last bullet was fired did the battle cease. When further resistance was impossible, and having delayed the enemy until the republicans had taken up their position, the little party decided to surrender.
MacKenzie Kennedy opened the door and put up his hands in token surrender, but was shot dead as was Moloney. O’Donoghue was captured and taken prisoner.
Ian MacKenzie Kennedy was only 23 when he was killed on the 7th of August 1922. He was buried on the 12th of August in the republican plot in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork City alongside other soldiers of the Republic. There is a small plaque to his memory in Ballingeary and he is commemorated on the republican monument in Macroom.

Most of the research is my own except for information on Charlie Chidlie supplied by Philip Mac Comway and the piece on Scottie Mc Kenzie Kennedy which was taken from an article in the Irish Democrat newspaper by Stephen Coyle that I added to and edited after.

Does anyone else here know of any English or British men who served in the I.R.A. 1913-1923?

Irish Citizen Army Uniforms and Equipment 1916

An article by Padraig O Ruairc

Brief History of the Irish Citizens Army

The army rose out of the great strike of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in 1913, known as the Lockout of 1913. The dispute was over the recognition of this labour union founded by James Larkin. It began when William Martin Murphy, an industrialist, locked out some trade unionists on August 19, 1913. In response, Larkin called an all out strike on Murphy’s Dublin United Tramway Company. Other companies, encouraged by Murphy, sacked ITGWU members in an effort to break the union. The conflict eventually escalated to involve 400 employers and 25,000 workers.This strike caused most of Dublin to come to an economic standstill and was marked by vicious rioting between the strikers and the Dublin Metropolitan Police, particularly at a rally on O’Connell street on August 31, in which two men were beaten to death and about 500 more injured. Another striker was later shot dead by a strike-breaker. The violence at union rallies during the strike prompted Larkin to call for a worker’s militia to be formed to protect themselves against the police. The Citizen army for the duration of the lockout was armed with hurling sticks and bats in order to protect worker’s demonstration from the police. Jack White, a former British Army Captain, volunteered to train this army and offered 50 pounds towards the cost of shoes to workers so they could train. In addition to its role as a self defence organisation, the army, which was drilled in Croydon Park in Fairview by White, provided a diversion for workers unemployed and idle during the dispute. After a six-month standoff, the workers returned to work hungry and defeated in January 1914. The original purpose of the ICA was over, but it would soon be totally transformed.
The Irish Citizen Army was totally reorganised in 1914. In March of that year, a demonstration of the Citizen Army was attacked by the police and Jack White, its commander, was arrested. Sean O’Casey then suggested that the ICA needed a more formal organisation. O’Casey wrote a constitution stating the Army’s principles as follows: the ownership of Ireland, moral and material, is vested of right in the people of Ireland and to “sink all difference of birth property and creed under the common name of Irish people”.
On Larkin’s insistence, all members were also required to be members of a trade union, if eligible. In mid 1914,
James Larkin left Ireland for America in October 1914, leaving the Citizen Army under the command of James Connolly. Whereas during the Lockout, the ICA had been a workers’ self defence militia, Connolly conceived of it as a revolutionary organisation – dedicated to the creation of an Irish socialist republic “The Workers Republic”. He had served in the British army in his youth and knew something about military tactics and discipline. Other active members in the early days included  Countess Markievicz ,Sean O’Casey, , Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. Sheehy-Skeffington and O’Casey left the ICA when it became apparent that Connolly was moving towards the radical nationalist group, the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

James Connolly was a convinced Marxist socialist and Irish Republican and believed that achieving political change through physical force, in the tradition of the Fenians, was legitimate.
Lenin would later describe the Citizen Army as being the first red army in Europe. This organisation was one of the first to offer equal membership to both men and women and trained them both in the use of weapons. The army’s headquarters was the ITGWU union building, Liberty Hall and they were almost entirely Dublin based. However, Connolly also set up branches in Tralee and Killarney in county Kerry. In October 1915, armed ICA pickets patrolled a strike by dockers at Dublin port. Attempts were made to set up Branches of the ICA in Limerick but were not successfull. (However in the Years 1919 and 1920 the remnants of The Citizen Army did organise small groups in Waterford, Cork and Monoghan)
Appalled by the participation of Irishmen in the First World War, which he regarded as an imperialist, capitalist conflict, Connolly began openly calling for insurrection in his newspaper, the Irish Worker. When this was banned, he opened another the Worker’s Republic. The British authorities tolerated the open drilling and bearing of arms by the ICA, thinking that to clamp down on the organisation would provoke further unrest. A small group of Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) conspirators within the Irish Volunteers movement were also planning a rising. Worried that Connolly would embark on premature military action with the ICA, Connolly was approached and inducted into the IRB’s Supreme Council to co-ordinate their preparations for the armed rebellion known as the Easter Rising.
The ICA never numbered more than 250 to 300 men and women nation wide. On Monday April 24, 1916, 220 of them (including 28 women) took part in the Easter Rising, alongside a much larger body of the Irish Volunteers. They helped occupy the General Post Office on O’Connell Street (then Sackville Street), Dublin’s main thoroughfare. Mallin, Connolly’s second in command, along with Markievizc and an ICA company, occupied St Stephen’s Green. Another company under Sean Connolly took over City Hall and attacked Dublin Castle. Finally, a detachment occupied Harcourt Street railway station. ICA men were the first rebel causalties of Easter Week, two of them being killed in an abortive attack on Dublin Castle. Sean Connolly, an ICA officer, was the first rebel fatality. A total of eleven Citizen Army men were killed in action in the rising, five in the City Hall/Dublin castle area, five in Stephen’s Green and one in the GPO.
Connolly was made commander of the rebel forces in Dublin during the Rising and issued orders to surrender after a week. He and Mallin were executed by British army firing squad some weeks later. The surviving ICA members were interned in Frongoch in Wales until 1919.
Many of them later joined the new Irish Republican Army (IRA) from 1917 on, but the Citizen Army remained in existence until the 1930s. According to some reports ICA units were involved in various IRA operations during the Irish War of Independence. However the ICA always maintained its Independence never fully coming under IRA control for example ICA members stationed at Liberty Hall were not informed about or asked to take part in the burning of the Customs House in May 1921 and were forced to watch the ensuing drama from the steps and windows of Liberty Hall directly across the road. During the fighting in Dublin that began the Irish Civil War in June 1922, some elements of the ICA (which by this time had about 140 members) were involved in the Anti-Treaty IRA occupation and defence of the Four Courts while others occupied Liberty Hall, the Trade Union headquarters
In the 1920s and 1930s, the ICA was kept alive by veterans such as Seamus MacGowan, Dick McCormick and Frank Purcell, though perhaps only as an old comrades association by veterans of 1916.
Uniformed Citizen Army men provided a guard of honour at Constance Markievicz’s funeral in 1927.
In 1934, Peadar O’Donnell and other left wing republicans left the IRA and founded the Republican Congress. For a brief time, they revived the ICA as a paramilitary force, intended to be an armed wing for their new movement. According to Brian Hanley’s history of the IRA, the revived Citizen Army had 300 or so members around the country in 1935. However, the Congress itself split in 1935 and collapsed shortly afterwards. Most of the ICA members joined the Irish Labour Party. The ICA’s last public appearance was to accompany the funeral procession of union leader James Larkin in Dublin in 1947.

Uniform of The Irish Citizen Army
Taken from R.M. Foxs Book – The Irish Citizen Army Page 68
“Until the uniforms came (in 1914), the rank and file wore Irish linen armlets of a light blue colour with the letters ICA on them, while the officers wore bands of crimson. When a consignment of belts, havoursacks and bayonets arrived the men were soon busy cleaning, polishing and oiling with enthousiasm. Big slough hats conpleted the turn out. … When the uniforms came the enthousiasm was greater than ever. They were of a darker green than those worn by the Irish Volunteers, and it became the custom among the Transport Union members to fasten up one side of the big slouch hats with the red hand badge of the Union.”

The mens uniform was of a good quality serge coloured a very dark grenn – almost exactly the same colour as the R.I.C. bottle green. The uniform had a high collar and had two brest pockets and two large box pockets. The buttons used were the “football” type compressed leather buttons in both dark and light brown. (These buttons were also standard issue on Cumann Na M-Bann uniforms and were used on Irish Volunteer and later IRA uniforms becoming more common post 1916 as the official brass “IV” buttons became harder to get. Theres an illustration below – Im alsp reproducing them if anyone needs any) The slouch hat was of the same very dark green colour. It was similar in style to the hats worn by the ANZAC’s in the British Forces and the Boer “Cronje” hat. The Cap badge of the Irish Citizens army was the Irish Transport And General Workers Union badge for 1913 The red hand of Ulster which sometimes had the letters ITGWU on it in raised detail. Ordinary ranks sometimes wore a shoulder title in block letters reading ICA.
The ICA belt was of the same pattern as the RIC belt with the Brass “Snake S” Bely Buckle. Those carrying rifles wore black bandoliers and all members carried a white linnen ammunition and kit bag. The trousers were the same dark green colour and matierial, but appart from one picture of Marcivictz wearing Puttees I have never seen a photo of any other member of the ICA wearing putees or leather leggings.

The womens uniform was of a similar dark green colour but was of a much coarser heavy tweed matierial. It had an open V – neck style collar. The following is a reference to it from Helena Maloneys Bureau of Military History statement. Countess Marcivictz was the most photographed female member of the ICA however she is usually pictured wearing a mans uniform – as explained below. Which gave the idea that ICA men and women both wore the same uniform.
Helena Maloney -“In his book Sean O Faoilain attributed vanity to Madame Marcivictz as the motive of her nationalist and military activitys, and stressed her fondness for uniforms. The truth was she had never bought a uniform – like many other members of the Citizen army except a Boy Scouts shirt which then cost 3/6 d, and a boy scouts hat. Her Citizen Army dress up to the week before the Rising consisted of a plain tweed costume with a sam browne belt and black turned up hat, similar to the men’s with a small bunch of cocks feathers. She went out to the rebellion in the uniform coat of Michael Mallin, who had got a new uniform. And he was so slim his coat fitted her perfectly.”
Women wore the same bandoliers and white kit bags as the men but sometimes wore sam browne belts rather than the “Snake S” buckle belts. Most women wore a skirt in the same colour but some such as marcivictz wore trousers underneath of just simply trousers. (Note women wearing trousers in 1910;s Ireland was exceptionaly unusual and broke entirely with accepted ideas of dress style and morality.

Officers Uniform
ICA officers essentialy wore the same uniforms as the ordinary member. Except that instead of the Block letter ICA shoulder title they wore a scrolled of italic pair of badges with the letters ICA on their collars as illustrated on the picture of Marcivictz below.The full photograph (Not Illustrated) of Marcivictz wearing Mallins old uniform shows that it had raised patches in a similar shape to I.V and British army officers uniforms but there were not outlined with lace like the I.V. and British uniforms. The ICA later adopted diamond shaped brass rank markings worn in pairs on the epaluttes. A post 1917 ICA uniform on display on the Ulster Somme Heritage centre Newton Ards has used Irish Volunteer brass “Trefoil” rank markings on the epaluttes in sunstitution for the official diamond shaped rank markings which were presumable not available. James Connolly had a uniform made for himself just before the Easter Rising and it is described in Ina Connolly Herons book “Portrait of a Rebel Father”

Citizen Army Boy Scouts
As well as founding Na Fianna Eireann countess Marcivictz also ran the ICA Boy Scouts Their uniform was similar to the Fianna except that they had red facings and wore blue neckerchiefs or scarves. The Irish National Guard a small breakaway group from trhe Fianna again with a slightly different uniform were also closely allied to the ICA Boy Scouts. Clan Na Gael Girl Scouts were founded after some branches of Na Fianna Eireann – “The Irish National Boy Scouts” refused to admit girls as members they also worked closely with the ICA. Below is a reference to the ICA Boy Scouts and their Uniform in Cork in 1920 from James Alan Busby’s Bureau of Military History Statement No 1628
“Late in 1918 or perhaps early in 1919 , a Fianna representative from Dublin came to Cork and created a split in our ranks. A rival group known as the Citizen Army Boy Scouts was started in Cork. At the same time we had a girls contingent attached to the Fianna known as the Clan Na Gael Girl Guides. The Misses Wallace ofSt. Augustine Street Cork, were amongst the leaders of the latter group. There was no difference in policy between the Fianna and the Citizen Army scouts. There was however a small distinction in the uniform, we wore a saffrom scarf while they wore a blue scarf. They had as far as I remember about forty boys at most in the organisation, but to the best of my belief it petered out about 1920.”

Weapons and Armament.
like the Irish Volunteers the ICA used a motley variety of weapons and were glad of anything they could get their hands on. Many of their cartridges and bombs/grenades were manufactured by members of the ICA in the basement of Liberty Hall. In comparison to the Irish Volunteers the ICA being a small force were far better uniformed arm armed. Photos {see below) of the army in training at Croydon Park Dublin show up to 70 men all armed with rifles. The most common rifle used was a german bolt action mauser. Contarty to many reports the ICA did not take part in the Howth Gunrunning of 1914 but some ICA members managed to steal “Howth Mausers” hidden by the Volunteers when they were confronted by the Kings Own Scottish Borders and RIC on their way back into the city that evening. Members of the ITGWU worked on the docks in Dublin and were later able to smuggle in quantities of mauser rifles for the ICA before 1916. Lee Enfield rifles were initaly scarce in the ICA up to 1916 but in the War of Independence they managed to find a source in a sympathetic British soldier who managed to smuggle out Lee Enfields from Portobello Barracks. Officers most commonly carried C96 Broom Handle mauser pistols and Countess Marcivictz is also photographes with a Webly ans Scot Long barrelled .45 revolver, though she used a mauser pistol in the rising itself. Officers would have used a variety of revolvers including colts and automatic pistols such as luger 9mm parabellums smuggled in from Germany.

Unlike Cumann Na m-Bann whose duties were usualy restricted to more traditional sexist roles of cooking, first aid and despatch carrying the women of the ICA carried weapons and were of equal rank with the men. Margret Skinnider an ICA member from Scotland and Countess Marcivictz both fought in the front line with rifle and revolver.

Flags
the Citizen Army carried a “Plough And The Stars” of “Starry Plough” flag It was a bluey-green field with an image of a plough in yellow, with a sword as a ploughshare that had the big dipper/ ursa major constellation of seven eight pointed silver stars imposed on it. The plainer starry plough of a plain blue field with seven five pointed stars still used by the Irish left was not used by the ICA until it was reformed by the Republican Congress in the 1930’s
The origional Starry Plough was flown from the imperial hotel in O Connell St. during the Rising. On St. Patricks day 1916 the ICA hoisted a plain green flag with a golden or yellow harp over liberty hall. The remnants of this are on display in Collins Barracks. A scroll was also unveiled across the front of Liberty Hall in 1914 after the outbreak of WW1 which read “We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland!”

Final Note
Unlike the Irish Volunteers who were mostly Catholic (with notable exceptions Bulmer Hobson etc…) a fairly large section of the ICA were of minority religions. Marcivictz was Protestant as were Jack White and Dr. kathleen Lynne. Jack White later declared himself an Atheist and embraced Anarchisim during the Spanish Civil war. The first casulty of the 1916 rising was Abraham Weeks, attached to the G.P.O. Garrison (See Manus O Riordan – James Connolly, Liberty Hall and the 1916 Rising) Weeks was an English Jew and member of the International Workers of the World Union who came to Dublin from London in 1916 to avoid conscription to the British Army and to join the ICA.

Photos

Citizen Army Group Firing
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The photos arent the greatest quality but you can click on them to enlarge. This photo shows two ordinary ICA members armed with rifles the one closer to the camers has the more typical mauser rifle. The captain kneeling and pointing is armed with a C96 broom handle mauser and is the group leader (female) closest to the camera. Note also she has a feathered hat similar to marcivictz and wears the ‘scrolled’ ICA letters on her collar not the Block ICA letters on the epaluttes worn by the others. She also has the officers Slade wallace pattern belt and is the only one wearing putees.

Citizen Army Captain firing C96 Broomhandle Mauser Pistol
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This is a Citizen Army Captain or NCO firing a Broom handled mauser. The weapons wooden holster could be fixed to the guns handle and used as a stock transforming the weapon into a carabine. If you enlarge the inage you can clearly see the red hand ITGWU badge used to pin up the hat and the block letter ICA shoulder title

Two Members of ICA
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The Captain on the left had his mauser in the wooden holster, and though he does not have the brass diamond shaped rank marking fixed to his epaluttes, the fact that his “Snake S” buckle type strap in the style of a sam browne and that he has a pistol rather than a rifle shows he is of senior rank. The Ordinary member wears the black bandolier and his belt does not have a cross strap. the white linen ammunition and kit bags are worn on opposite sides because of the ICA Captains cross strap and mauser holster – more normaly it would be worn in the fashion of the ordinary ICA member. These are old RUC uniforms that have been bought and doctored for the purpose at E 4o for tunic and trousers – not a small fortune! in re-enactment terms

Captain Jack White and Irish Citizen Army at Croydon House Dublin
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You can see how well armed and uniformed the ICA realy were from this. The officer on the right closest to the camera is captain Jack White a vetern of the Boer war with the British army. The sword he is carrying is a British Army officers sword

Citizen Army on Roof of Liberty Hall
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The men in uniforms are armed with mauser rifles – the most common weapon in the ICA. The uniformed man in the centre has the red hand badge clearly visible pinning up the side of his cap. The man standing behind with the revolver in civilian clothes is also a member of the force. Again if E4o is beyond your budget for a uniform civilian clothes courdruoy, tweed or even an old suit from oxfam with the addition of a made up ICA blue or red armband is cheaper still and perfectly accurate.

Origional Citizen Army Button
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Taken from a womens ICA uniform in a private collection, note the dark green rough tweed matierial rather than the serge used in the mens tunics. The camera flash had brightened the colour but trust me its dark green. Im reproducing these buttons if anyone needs them other wise modern leather buttons are acceptable and cost little.

Countess Marcivictz in Officers Uniform
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Note she is wearing an officers slade wallace belt, and if the resolution is good you can see the officers collar badges. This was Malins old uniform mentioned above. Photo taken about one week before the Rising.

Countess Marcivictz in ICA Boy Scouts Uniform
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This photo was taken circa 1917 -1918 note how imprisionment and hungerstrike have worn on the countesses face, the wrinkles, blackened and broken teath and grey hair were all touched up when the photo was used to promote her for election. Compare to the above photo. Shows what these people realy went through for our freedoms? All the more reason why if we are going to re-enact the period we should do their memory justice. Any way she is wearing the ICA Boy Scouts uniform – quite similar in design to the Fianna Eireann one.

History of the Irish Volunteers

The Irish Volunteers

Irish (National) Volunteers, a militia founded 25 November 1913 at the Rotunda in Dublin They were founded as a direct response to the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force , founded 1912 )) , the UVF opposed Home Rule for Ireland and wished to maintain the union with Britain. To ensure that Home Rule would be resisted they were prepared to fight , hence the foundation in 1913 of the militant UVF.

. The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was “to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland.” The Volunteers included members of the Gaelic League , Ancient Order of Hibernians , and Sinn Féin , and, secretly, the IRB. The Volunteers fought for Irish independence in 1916’s Easter Rising, and were joined by the Irish Citizen Army ,Cumann na mBan and Fianna Éireann to form the Irish Republican Army .

Background

Home Rule for Ireland dominated political debate between the two countries since Prime Minister  William Ewart Gladstone  introduced the first Home Rule Bill in 1886, which was rejected by the House of Commons. The second Home Rule Bill, seven years later having passed the House of Commons, was vetoed by the House of Lords. It would be the third Home Rule Bill, introduced in 1912, which would lead to the crisis in Ireland between the majority Nationalist population and the Unionists in Ulster.

On 28 September 1912 at Belfast City Hall almost 250,000 Unionists signed the Solemn League and Covenant to resist the granting of Home Rule. This was followed in January 1913 with the formation of the Ulster Volunteers composed of adult male Unionists to oppose the passage and implementation of the bill by force of arms if necessary.

Initiative

The initiative for a series of meetings leading up to the public inauguration of the Volunteers came from the Irish Republican Brotherhood(IRB). Bulmer Hobson, co-founder of the republican boy-scouts, Fianna Éireann, and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, believed the IRB should use the formation of the Ulster Volunteers as an “excuse to try to persuade the public to form an Irish volunteer force”. The IRB could not move in the direction of a Volunteer force themselves, as action by known physical force men would be stopped, despite the precedent established by the Ulster Volunteers. They therefore confined themselves to encouraging the view that Nationalists also ought to organize a Volunteer Force for the defence of Ireland. A small committee then began to meet regularly in Dublin from July, 1913, who watched the growth of this opinion.They refrained however from any action until the precedent of Ulster should have first been established while waiting for the lead to come from a “constitutional” quarter.[8]

The IRB began the preparations for the open organisation of the Irish Volunteers in January 1913. James Stritch, an IRB member, had the Irish National Foresters build a hall at the back of 41 Parnell Square in Dublin, which was the headquarters of the Wolfe Tone Clubs. Anticipating the formation of the Volunteers they began to learn foot-drill and military movements. The drilling was conducted by Stritch together with members of Fianna Éireann. They began by drilling a small number of IRB associated with the Dublin Gaelic Athletic Association, led by Harry Boland.

Michael Collins along with several other IRB members claim that the formation of the Irish Volunteers was not merely a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Ulster Volunteers, which is often supposed, but was in fact the “old Irish Republican Brotherhood in fuller force.

“The North Began”

The IRB knew they would need a highly regarded figure as a public front that would conceal the reality of their control. The IRB found Eoin MacNeill the ideal candidate, Professor of Early and Medieval History at University College Dublin. McNeill’s academic credentials and reputation for integrity and political moderation had widespread appeal.

The O’Rahilly, assistant editor and circulation manager of the Gaelic League newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis encouraged MacNeill to write an article for the first issue of a new series of articles for the paper. The O’Rahilly suggested to MacNeill that it should be on some wider subject than mere Gaelic pursuits. It was this suggestion which gave rise to the article entitled The North Began, giving the Irish Volunteers its public origins. On 1 November, MacNeill’s article suggesting the formation of an Irish volunteer force was published. MacNeill wrote,

There is nothing to prevent the other twenty-eight counties from calling into existence citizen forces to hold Ireland “for the Empire”. It was precisely with this object that the Volunteers of 1782 were enrolled, and they became the instrument of establishing Irish self-government.

After the article was published, Hobson asked The O’Rahilly to see MacNeill, to suggest to him that a conference should be called in order to make arrangements for publicly starting the new movement. The article “threw down the gauntlet to nationalists to follow the lead given by Ulster unionists.” MacNeill was unaware of the detailed planning which was going on in the background, but was aware of Hobson’s political leanings. He knew the purpose as to why he was chosen, but he was determined not to be a puppet.

Launch

With MacNeill willing to take part, O’Rahilly and Hobson sent out invitations for the first meeting at Wynn’s Hotel in Abbey Street, Dublin, on November 11. Hobson himself did not attend this meeting, believing his standing as an “extreme nationalist” might prove problematical.The IRB, however, was well represented by, among others, Sean MacDermott and Eamonn Ceannt, who would prove to be substantially more extreme than Hobson. Several others meetings were soon to follow, as prominent nationalists planned the formation of the Volunteers, under the leadership of MacNeill.] Meanwhile, labour leaders in Dublin began calling for the establishment of a citizens’ defence force in the aftermath of the lock out of 19 August 1913. Thus formed the Irish Citizen Army, led by James Connolly, which, though it had similar aims, had no connection with the Irish Volunteers.

The Volunteer organisation was publicly launched on 25 November, with their first public meeting and enrollment rally at the Rotunda in Dublin. The IRB organised this meeting to which all parties were invited, and brought 5000 enlistment blanks for distribution and handed out in books of one hundred each to each ot the stewards. Every one of the stewards and officials wore on their lapel a small silken bow the center of which was white, while on one side was green and on the other side orange and had long been recognized as the colors which the Irish Republican Brotherhood had adopted as the Irish national banner.The hall was filled to its 4,000 person capacity, with a further 3,000 spilling onto the grounds outside. Speakers at the rally included MacNeill, Patrick Pearse, and Michael Davitt, son of the Land League founder of the same name. Over the course of the following months the movement spread throughout the country, with thousands more joining every week.

Organization and leadership

The names of those who were members of the governing Committee of the Volunteers from November 1913 to October 1914, exclusive of Redmond’s 25 nominees who only functioned between mid-June to mid-September 1914 were:

  • Honourable Secretaries: Eoin Mac Néill (Gaelic League (GL)), Laurence J. Kettle (Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), Ancient Order of Hibernians(AOH));
  • Honourable Treasurers: The O’Rahilly (GL, Sinn Féin (SF)), John Gore (AOH, IPP);
  • Members: Piaras Béaslaí (Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB)), Sir Roger Casement (GL), Eamonn Ceannt (IRB, GL, SF), John Fitzgibbon (GL, SF), Liam Gogan, Bulmer Hobson(IRB, Fianna Éireann (FÉ)), Michael J. Judge (AOH), Thomas Kettle (IPP, AOH), James Lenehan (AOH), Michael Lonergan (IRB, Fianna Éireann (FÉ)), Peter (Peadar) Macken (IRB, Labour leader, SF, GL), Seán Mac Diarmada (IRB,Irish Freedom), Thomas MacDonagh(IRB), Liam Mellows (IRB), Col. Maurice Moore (IPP, GL, Connaught Rangers), Séamus O’Connor (IRB), Colm O’Loughlin (IRB, St. Enda’s School (SES)), Peter O’Reilly (Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH)), Robert Page (IRB, Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)), Patrick Pearse(IRB, GL, SES), Joseph M. Plunkett(IRB, Irish Review), John Walsh (AOH), Peter White (Celtic Literary Society);
  • Fianna Éireann representatives: Con Colbert(IRB), Eamon Martin (IRB), Patrick O’Riain (IRB).

When the thirty member Provisional Committee was finalized, the addition of several new IRB members brought their total within the Committee to twelve. The IRB then specifically brought Liam Mellows to Dublin to strengthen the Fianna representation and they were eventually to recruit Pearse, Plunkett and MacDonagh, and thus hold over half the strength of the Committee[ This brought the IRB representation to 16 with the rest of the committee being represented by both Redmondites and Sinn Feiners, among others

The manifesto of the Volunteers, approved at the 25 November meeting, stated the organisation’s objectives were “to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland.” To train, arm, equip and discipline themselves for the above purpose while uniting Irishmen of every creed, party and class. Though the “rights and liberties” were never defined, nor the means by which they would be obtained, the IRB in the Fenian tradition construed the term to mean the maintenance of the rights of Ireland to national independence and to secure that right in arms.

The manifesto further stated that their duties were to be defensive, contemplating neither “aggression or domination”. MacNeill offered his opinion in the article The North Began that the Tory policy in Ulster, was deliberately adopted to make the display of military force with the threat of armed violence the decisive factor in relations between Ireland and Great Britain. If Irishmen accepted this new policy he said they would be surrendering their rights as men and citizens. If they did not attempt to defeat this policy “we become politically the most degraded population in Europe and no longer worthy of the name of Nation …” In this situation he said guarding our own rights is our first duty. They have rights who dare maintain them, but rights in the last resort, could only be maintained by arms.

MacNeill himself would approve of armed resistance only if the British launched a campaign of repression against Irish nationalist movements, or if they attempted to impose conscription on Ireland following the outbreak of the First world war such a case he believed that they would have mass support

The IRB was unable to gain complete control of the organisation, especially after the leader of the irish parliamentary party ,John Redmond, demanded that the Volunteers accept his own personal appointments to its Provisional Committee, which would effectively place the organisation under his control. While the moderates did not like the idea, they were prepared to go along with it in order to prevent Redmond from forming a rival organisation, which would draw away most of their support. The IRB was completely opposed to Redmond’s demands, as this would end any chance they had of controlling the Volunteers, but were unable to prevent the motion from being carried in Redmond’s favour.

Arming the Volunteers

Shortly after the formation of the Volunteers, the British Parliament banned the importation of weapons into Ireland. The “Curragh incident” in March 1914 indicated that the government could not rely on its army to ensure a smooth transition to Home Rule.] Then in April 1914 the Ulster Volunteers successfully imported 24,000 rifles in the Larne Gun Running event. The Irish Volunteers realised that it too would have to follow suit if they were to be taken as a serious force. Indeed, many contemporary observers commented on the irony of “loyal” Ulstermen arming themselves and threatening to defy the British government by force. Patrick Pearse famously replied that “the Orangeman with a gun is not as laughable as the nationalist without one.” Thus O’Rahilly, Sir Roger Casement  and Bulmer Hobson worked together to coordinate a daylight gun-running expedition to Howth , just north of Dublin.

The plan worked, and Erskine Childers brought nearly 1,000 rifles, purchased from Germany, to the harbour on the 26 July and distributed them to the waiting Volunteers, without interference from the authorities. The remainder of the guns smuggled from Germany for the Irish Volunteers were landed at Kilcoole a week later by Sir Thomas Myles.

As the Volunteers marched from Howth back to Dublin, however, they were met by a large patrol of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the British Army . The Volunteers escaped largely unscathed, but when the army returned to Dublin they clashed with a group of unarmed civilians who had been heckling them at Bachelors Walk. Though no order was given, the soldiers fired on the civilians, killing four and the wounding of a further 37. This enraged the populace, and during the outcry enlistments in the Volunteers soared.

THE SPLIT

The outbreak of world war in August 1914 provoked a serious split in the organisation. Redmond, in the interest of ensuring the enactment of the Home Rule Act 1914 then on the statute books, encouraged the Volunteers to support the British and Allied war commitment and join irish Regiments of the British New Army divisions, an action unsuccessfully opposed by the founding members. Given the wide expectation that the war was going to be a short one, the majority however supported the war effort and the call to restore the “freedom of small nations” on the European continent. They left to form the National volunteers, which fought in the 10.th and  16.th Irish Division, side-by-side with their volunteer counterparts from the 36 th Ulster Division. Unlike the latter, the 16th Division had no trained military Irish officers of its own, and were commanded by British officers, with the exception of Irish General William Hickie. The National Volunteers ceased to exist after the Armistice in 1918 when their battalions were disbanded in 1922 under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

A minority believed that the principles used to justify the Allied war cause were best applied in restoring the freedom to one small country in particular. They retained the name “Irish Volunteers”, were led by MacNeill and called for Irish neutrality. The National Volunteers kept some 175,000 members, leaving the Irish Volunteers with an estimated 13,500. This split proved advantageous to the IRB, which was now back in a position to control the organisation.

Following the split, the remnants of the Irish Volunteers were often, and erroneously, referred to as the “Sinn Féin Volunteers”, or “Shinners”, afterArthur Griffith’s political organisation Sinn Féin. The term began as a derogatory one, but soon became ubiquitous in Ireland. Although the two organisations had some overlapping membership, there was no official connection between Griffith’s then moderate Sinn Féin and the Volunteers. The political stance of the remaining Volunteers was not always popular, and a 1,000-strong march led by Pearse through the garrison city of Limerick on Whit sunday, 1915, was pelted with rubbish by a hostile crowd. Pearse explained the reason for the establishment of the new force when he said in May 1915:

What if conscription be enforced on Ireland? What if a Unionist or a Coalition British Ministry repudiates the Home Rule Act?
What if it be determined to dismember Ireland? The future is big with these and other possibilities.

After the departure of Redmond and his followers, the Volunteers adopted a constitution, which had been drawn up by the earlier provisional committee, and was ratified by a convention of 160 delegates on 25 October 1914. It called for general council of fifty members to meet monthly, as well as an executive of the president and eight elected members. In December a headquarters staff was appointed, consisting of Eoin MacNeill as chief of staff, The O’ Rahilly as director of arms,Thomas Ma Donagh as director of training, Patrick Pearse as director of military organization, Bulmer Hobson as quartermaster, and Joseph Plunkett as director of military operations. The following year they were joined by Eammonn Ceannt as director of communications and J.J. O’Connell as chief of inspection.

This reorganization put the IRB is a stronger position, as four important military positions (director of training, director of military organization, director of military operations, and director of communications) were held by men who were, or would soon be, members of the IRB, and who later become four of the seven signatories of the Easter Proclamation. (Hobson was also an IRB member, but had a falling out with the leadership after he supported Redmond’s appointees to the provisional council, and hence played little role in the IRB thereafter.)

THE 1916 RISING

The official stance of the Irish Volunteers was that action would only be taken were the British authorities at  Dublin Castleto attempt to disarm the Volunteers, arrest their leaders, or introduce conscription to Ireland. The IRB, however, was determined to use the Volunteers for offensive action while Britain was tied up in the First World War. Their plan was to circumvent MacNeill’s command, instigating a Rising, and to get MacNeill on board once the rising was a fait accompli.

Pearse issued orders for three days of parades and manoeuvres, a thinly disguised order for a general insurrection. MacNeill soon discovered the real intent behind the orders and attempted to stop all actions by the Volunteers. He succeeded only in putting the Rising off for a day, and limiting it to about 1,000 active participants within Dublin and a further 2,000-3,000 elsewhere. Almost all of the fighting was confined to Dublin. The Irish Citizen army supplied slightly more than 200 personnel for the Dublin campaign.

The Rising was a failure in the short term, and large numbers of Irish Volunteers were arrested, even some who did not participate in the Rising. In 1919 the Irish Volunteers became the Irish republican army, swearing its obedience to the First Dail during the course of August 1920.

IRA Volunteer Captain Dan McNamara cork no.1 brigade . 1.st bat A coy

We have been contacted by Dan McNamara , grandson of IRA Volunteer  Dan McNamara  cork no.1 brigade . 9th bat  A coy. Dan is looking for any information on his grandfather , if anybody has any relevant information please post a reply on this post section.

Dan has been good enough to send us pages from Dan McNamara ‘s  Diary , it makes for highly interesting reading. Thanks Dan.

Michael F Heslin Longford Brigade Irish Voulunteers, Information required .

Attached is a photo of my grandfather Michael F Heslin (on the left) who was Adjutant/Intelligence Officer of the Longford Brigade in the Irish

IRA longford Brigade

War of Independence. I know nothing about Irish uniforms and hope someone may recognise it. I found a couple of pics on the internet, one saying it was a Volunteers uniform, another saying it was an IRA Officer’s uniform. Someone else told me they thought it was a Free State uniform. I am totally confused and hope someone can help. There appears to be two bands on the hat and three on the sleeves. What might these represent?
Many thanks in advance folks.
Michael J Heslin.

Tomás Mac Curtain Lord Mayor of Cork

Tomás Mac Curtain (20 March 1884 – 20 March 1920) was a Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of cork city,Ireland.. He was elected in January 1920.

He was born at Ballyknockane in the Parish of Mourne abbey in March 1884. He attended Burnfort National School. In 1897 the family moved to Blackpool on the northside of Cork city (corcaigh) where he attended The North Monastery school.. Mac Curtain became active in numerous cultural and political movements from the turn of the nineteenth century when he joined the Blackpool, Cork branch of Conradh na Gaeilge(the Gaelic League), becoming its secretary in 1902. He had diverse interests in music, poetry, history, archaeology and Irish history. He worked in his early career as a clerk and in his free time taught Irish to those who wished to learn. In 1911 he joined the Fianna Eireann  and was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers .

IRISH VOLUNTEERS AT SHEARES STREET CORK CITY

BACK: P. Cotter, Sean Nolan, Dathi Cotter, Sean Scanlan, Fred Murray. CENTER: Tom O’Sullivan & Diarmuid O’Shea (with rifles), Tom Barry, Pat Corkery, Donal Barrett, Donal Og O’Callaghan, Tadg Barry, Diarmud Lynch, Con Twomey (with rifle) FRONT: Sean Murphy, Tomas MacCurtain, Sean McDermot, Herbert Moore Pim, Sean O’Sullivan, Sean O’Murthille.

He met Eilish Walsh (Eibhlís Breathnach) at a Gaelic League meeting and they married in 1908. They had six children, five of whom survived into adulthood. The family lived over number 40 Thomas Davis Street where Tomás had a small clothing and rainwear factory.

In April 1916 at the outset of the Easter Rising Mac Curtain commanded a force of up to 1,000 men of the Irish Volunteers who assembled at various locationsaround County Cork. From the volunteers headquarters at Sheare’s Street in the city, Mac Curtain and his officers awaited orders from the volunteer leadership in Dublin but conflicting instructions and confusion prevailed and as a result the Cork volunteers never entered the fray. A tense stand-off developed when British forces surrounded the volunteer hall and continued for a week until a negotiated agreement led to the surrender of the volunteers’ arms to the then Lord Mayor of Cork Thomas Butterfield on the understanding that they would be returned at a later date. This did not happen however and Mac Curtain was jailed in the former Frongoch Prisoner of War camp in Wales. After the general amnesty of participants in the Rising 18 months later Mac Curtain returned to active duty as a Commandant of what was now the Irish republican Army .

He was elected in the January 1920 council elections as the Sinn Féin councillor for NW Ward No. 3 of Cork, and was chosen by his fellow councillors to be the Lord Mayor. He began a process of political reform within the city, making changes to the way in which the council operated and was run.

Death

In January 1919 the Anglo-Irish war started and Mac Curtain became an officer in the IRA . On 20 March 1920, his 36th birthday, Mac Curtain was shot dead in front of his wife and son by a group of men with blackened faces, who were found to be members of the Royal Irish constabulary (RIC) by the official inquest into the event. In the wake of the killing which was in revenge for the shooting of a policeman, Mac Curtain’s house in the city’s Blackpool area, was ransacked.

THE LOCATION WHERE Tomás Mac Curtain WAS ASSASSINATED, THERE IS A PLAQUE TO COMMEMORATE  Tomás Mac Curtain ON THE UPPER STORY.

The killing caused widespread public outrage. The coroner’s inquest passed a verdict of wilful murder against British Prime Minister Lloyd George and against certain members of the RIC. The IRA later killed the man who ordered the attack, District Inspector Oswald Swanzy, in Lisburn, County Antrim ,on 22 August 1920 using Mac Curtain’s personal handgun, sparking a pogrom of Catholics in the town. Mac Curtain is buried in St. Finbarrs Cemetery, Cork.

His successor to the position of Lord Mayor, Terence MacSwiney, died while on hunger strike  in Brixton prison, London.

Tomás Óg Mac Curtain

Mac Curtain’s son, Tomás Óg (junior) (1915–1994) later became a leading republican and member of the IRA Executive (whose main purpose was to elect the Chief of staff of the IRA . In January 1940, he was sentenced to death by the De Valera government for mortally wounding Garda John Roche at the end of St. Patrick Street Cork  city centre on 3 January 1940. Detective Garda Roche, from Union Quay Barracks, had shadowed him for weeks and following a confrontation, he was shot. However Tomas was granted clemency due to the fact that his father had been killed by the British Army. He was released after seven years. He later served on the IRA executive during the Border Campaign.

Laurence Regan IRA Vol Four Courts , any information ?

Hello,
My grandfather was Laurence Regan who defended the Four Courts.
Does anyone have any information on him please, also are there any medals out there with his name on? I believe he received a military funeral with Jack Lynch present in the 70′s
Yours gratefully,
Peter

Terence MacSwiney Lord mayor of Cork

Terence Joseph MacSwiney (: Traolach Mac Suibhne) (28 March 1879 – 25 October 1920) was an Irish playwright, author and politician. He was elected as Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Cork , during the Irish War of Independence , in 1920. He was arrested by the British on charges of sedition and imprisoned in Brixton prison in England. His death there in October 1920 after 74 days on hunger strike brought him and the Irish struggle to international attention.

MacSwiney was one of eight children. His father, John MacSwiney, of Cork, had volunteered in 1868 to fight as a papal guard against Garibaldi, had been a schoolteacher in London and later opened a tobacco factory in Cork. Following the failure of this business, he emigrated to Australia in 1885 leaving Terence and the other children in the care of their mother and his eldest daughter.[ MacSwiney’s mother, Mary Wilkinson, was an English Catholic with strong Irish nationalist opinions. He was born in kilmurray, county cork and moved to the Cork city as a child. He was educated by the christian Brothers at the North Monastery school in Cork city, but left at fifteen in order to help support the family. He became an accountancy clerk but continued his studies and matriculated successfully. He continued in full time employment while he studied at the Royal University (now University College Cork), graduating with a degree in Mental and Moral Science in 1907.

In 1901 he helped to found the Celtic Literary Society, and in 1908 he founded the Cork Dramatic Society with Daniel Corkery and wrote a number of plays for them. He was educated as an accountant and also was a playright , poet ,, and writer of pamphlets on Irish history. His first play The Last Warriors of Coole was produced in 1910. His fifth play The Revolutionist (1915) took the political stand made by a single man as its theme.

MacSwiney’s writings in the newspaper Irish freedom brought him to the attention of the Irish republican Brotherhood .He was one of the founders of the Cork Brigade of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and was President of the Cork branch of Sinn Fein. He founded a newspaper, Fianna Fáil, in 1914, but it was suppressed after only 11 issues. In April 1916, he was intended to be second in command of the Easter Rising in Cork and Kerry, but stood down his forces on the order of Eoin Mac Neill. Following the rising, he was interned under the Defence of the Realm act in Reading and Wakefield Gaols until December 1916. In February 1917 he was deported from Ireland and interned in Shrewsbury and Bromyard internment camps until his release in June 1917. It was during his exile in Bromyard that he married Muriel Murphy of the Cork distillery-owning family. In November 1917, he was arrested in Cork for wearing an IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY(IRA) uniform, and, inspired by the example of Thomas Ashe, went on a hunger strike for 3 days prior to his release.

In the 1918 General Election ,, MacSwiney was returned unopposed to the first Dail Eireann as Sinn Fein representative for Mid Cork, succeeding the Nationalist MP D.D. Sheehan. After the murder of his friend Tomas Mac Curtain ,, the Lord mayor of Cork ,on 20 March 1920, MacSwiney was elected as Lord Mayor. On 12 August 1920, he was arrested in Dublin for possession of seditious articles and documents, and also possession of a cipher key. He was summarily tried by court martial on 16 August, sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in Brixton Prison.



Hunger strike

In prison he immediately started a hunger strike in protest at his internment and the fact that he was tried by a military court. Eleven republican prisoners in Cork Jail went on hunger strike at the same time. On 26 August, the cabinet stated that “the release of the Lord Mayor would have disastrous results in Ireland and would probably lead to a mutiny of both military and police in South of Ireland.” MacSwiney’s hunger strike gained world attention. The British government was threatened with a boycott of British goods by Americans, while four countries in South America appealed to the Pope to intervene. Protests were held in Germany and France as well. An Australian member of Parliament Hugh Mahon, was expelled from the Australian parliament for “seditious and disloyal utterances at a public meeting” after protesting the actions of the British government in the Australian Parliament.

Attempts at force-feeding MacSwiney were undertaken in the final days of his strike. On 20 October 1920, he fell into a coma and died five days later after 74 days on hunger strike. His body lay in Southwark Cathedral in London where 30,000 people filed past it.Fearing large-scale demonstrations in Dublin, the authorities diverted his coffin directly to Cork and his funeral there on 31 October attracted huge crowds. Terence MacSwiney is buried in the Republican plot in Saint Finbarr’s Cemetery in Cork. Arthur delivered the graveside oration.

A collection of his writings, entitled Principles of Freedom, was published posthumously in 1921. It was based upon articles MacSwiney contributed to Irish Freedom during 1911–1912. Nehru, in particular, was influenced by MacSwiney’s example and his writings. Principles of Freedom was translated into various Indian languages including Telugu.

The famous Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh was an admirer of Terence MacSwiney and wrote about him in his memoirs. While in prison during his trial he went on hunger strike to protest the conditions in which Indian revolutionaries were being kept who gave a violent response to the British Raj (unlike Gandhi’s followers who were given fair treatment and good food in prison). Bhagat Singh, in his interview with the Tribune newspaper clearly mentioned MacSwiney as one of his inspirations. When Bhagat Singh’s father petitioned the British government to pardon his son, Bhagat Singh quoted Terence MacSwiney and said “”I am confident that my death will do more to smash the British Empire than my release” and told his father to withdraw the petition. He was executed on March 23, 1931, with two of his comrades, Rajguru and Sukhdev, for killing a British officer. He is also famous for throwing a bomb in the British Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi, India.

His sister Mary Mac Swiney took on his seat in the Dáil and spoke against the Anglo-Irish Treaty in January 1922. His brother Sean Mac Swiney was also elected in the 1921 elections for another Cork constituency. Seán also opposed the Treaty.

In 1945 his only child, Máire MacSwiney, married Ruairi Brugha, son of the anti-treaty cathal Brugha, and later a TD,Member of the European Parliament, and Senator. Máire MacSwiney is the author of a memoir History’s Daughter: A Memoir from the Only Child of Terence MacSwiney (2006).

A collection relating to Terence MacSwiney exists in Cork Public Museum. His portrait, and a painting of his funeral mass, by Sir John Lavery are exhibited in Cork’s Crawford Municipal Art gallery.

There is also a Secondary School named after him in the north side of Cork City, with a room dedicated to his memory.

Below : A picture Of  Terence Mac Swiney on his wedding day wearing his Irish Volunteers uniform.

I.R.A. Rineen Ambush 22 September 1920

MANY THANKS TO PADRAIG O ‘ RUAIRC FOR CONTRIBUTING THE RINEEN AMBUSH ARTICLE.

PADRAIG IS A WELL KNOWN AUTHOR ON THE IRISH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE PERIOD AND WE RECOMMEND  HIS TWO BOOKS,  “BLOOD ON THE BANNER”  AND  ” THE  BATTLE FOR LIMERICK CITY”.

In the early autumn of 1920 Anthony Malone and the other officers of the 4th Battalion had been ordered by the Brigade council of the Mid Clare Brigade I.R.A. to prepare an ambush for British motor patrols in the Milltown Malbay and Ennistymon areas. I.R.A. intelligence reported that a patrol of regular R.I.C. men and Black and Tans travelled in a Crossly Tender lorry from Ennistymon to Milltown Malbay at half past ten each Wednesday morning.   The Brigade Council decided to attack the R.I.C. and Black and Tans the next Wednesday the 22nd of September.

The countryside along the R.I.C.‘s weekly route was examined an ambush site was selected at Rineen about two miles from Milltown Malbay on the Ennistymon road. The site was a low cliff where the West Clare Railway rose sharply above the road commanding a good view of Lahinch and the surrounding coastline to the West. A curve in the road would force vehicles travelling from Ennistymon to Milltown to slowdown as they reached the ambush site.

The ambush at Rineen was to be the first major attack on the British forces in the area and the officers of the Mid Clare Brigade decided to use a large force of I.R.A. Volunteers from eight companies in the 4th Battalion area to take part in the attack.  The morning of the attack each of these I.R.A. companies were to supply seven Volunteers to form the attacking party or to act as scouts and messengers. On the 21st of September John Joe Neylon was detailed to select seven men from the Ennistymon Company of the I.R.A. to take part in the ambush: “On the night previous to the attack, I paraded the Ennistymon Company and called for Volunteers to take part in it without disclosing any details of what was about to come off. Nearly every man present and there was a parade of about seventy strong the same night – volunteered. I had to select only seven and that was a difficult job indeed. When I had made my selection I instructed these men to report to Lehanes at Lahinch that night and went off myself on a bike to see Ignatious O Neill with whom I had some other business to discuss.”

Ignatius O Neill  was still recovering from the wounds he had received at the Crowe’s Bridge ambush and was staying at safe house at Lisdoonvarna. The officers of the Mid Clare Brigade had decided  not to include O Neill in the attack because he was still recovering from his wounds and had kept all information regarding the planned attack at Rineen from him. When John Joe Neylon met him that night, O Neill had heard of the preparations for the attack and was furious: “O Neill met me with a violent reception. He was raging mad because he had heard from some source that we had decided to bring off the ambush without asking him taking part. He described the battalion officers as ‘a shower of bastards’, and accused me of being a ‘double crosser’. In order to placate him I said ‘All right the ambush is coming off and you’ll have to take charge.’ Although he did not want to be in charge I Insisted that he should and outlined to him what our plans were and told him of the arrangements which had been made. As far as I remember he made no change in them. We arrived in Lahinch about three or four o clock in the morning. And there found between sixty and sixty five men assembled. All the companies had supplied the seven men they were asked to do and, in addition, there were the officers of the battalion staff.”

At four o clock in the morning O Neill and Neylon led the I.R.A. Volunteers towards Carrig at Ballyvaskin where the Moy company of the I.R.A. scouted the route to Rineen while the members of the attacking party followed on foot. Thomas Mc Donough drove a number of  I.R.A. Volunteers from Ennistymon to meet the main I.R.A. force at the final assembly point about a mile from the ambush site at Rinneen.  By six that morning fifty members of the I.R.A. had assembled for the ambush. O Neill posted sentries guarding the roads to Milltown Malbay and Lahinch while the main force of the I.R.A. settled down for a brief rest along the boreen leading from the railway line down to the roadway. O Neill and Neylon reviewed the ground with the different company captains and discussed the advantages and possible problems posed by their chosen position. Both the R.I.C. and British Army had a habit of suddenly changing the formation and strength of their transport patrols, if the strength of the R.I.C.‘s patrol was increased to more than one lorry, the attacking formation would have to be changed quickly. A number of signallers were posted along the hilltops near Rinneen and Thomas Moroney was placed in charge of the scouts posted on the roads leading to the ambush site; whose job was to watch for the approach of the R.I.C. patrol and to give advanced warning of a change its strength or the arrival of British re-enforcements. As daylight approached O Neill assembled the remaining forty I.R.A. Volunteers and with the help of John Joe Neylon and Patrick Lehane divided them into three different attacking parties. O Neill repeatedly explained to them in detail the plan of the operation until he was satisfied that each individual I.R.A. volunteer and section leader knew what their task was.

To the north and west of the I.R.A.’s position at Rineen, open ground and fields swept towards the sea. To the south and east of the railway line small fields gave way to open bog land leading towards Milltown Malbay. Ignatius O Neill made an inspection of the I.R.A.’s arms and rejected a number of old shotguns.  The remaining arms included the six Lee Enfield rifles, three Carbine rifles, a large number of shotguns a few revolvers.   Anthony Malone and Patrick Kerins were given rifles ordered to take up  position in the behind a low fence twenty yards directly to the north of the road,  two other riflemen Stephen Gallagher and Sean Bourke were stationed about two hundred yards further west towards Milltown Malbay. These four had orders to prevent the R.I.C. and Black and Tans leaving from the lorry and taking cover in the fields, or from attempting to retreat towards the sea and back to Lahinch.

O Neill gave the remaining rifles to John Joe Neylon, David Kennelly, Dan Lehane and Michael O Dwyer. Peter Vaughan an experienced ex-American soldier who had served on the Western front during the First World War was equipped with two hand grenades. These five men were to form the main attacking force and were stationed at the north western end of a small by-road which connected to the Lahinch road. The main body of I.R.A. volunteers were stationed about fifty yards further up this by-road  where it crossed the railway line. This group commanded a good view of the ambush site being were in a raised position about forty feet above the level of the road at a distance of thirty yards. They were mostly armed with shotguns and were to act as a secondary attacking force with orders to cover the position of O Neill’s group. A number of large furze bushes had been cut to provide camouflage for the these men. At O Neill’s command, a single rifle shot from John Joe Neylon was to be the signal to open the attack.  The riflemen in the first attacking group had orders to shoot the driver of the lorry to prevent it breaking out of the ambush position. Peter Vaughan was to throw his two grenades into the back of the R.I.C. lorry. If the I.R.A. came into difficulties they were to fall back to the railway line crossing the hill at Rineen  and use it as a secondary line of defence while they retreated. It was now past seven o clock and the republicans settled down to a long wait before the expected arrival of the R.I.C. patrol.

That morning eleven miles from Rineen, the 2nd Battallion of the I.R.A.’s West Clare Brigade were also waiting in ambush. Captain Alan Lendrum an ex-British Army officer from Tyrone had been appointed Acting Resident Magistrate at Kilkee by the British authorities. Captain Lendrum occasionally travelled to and from court in an R.I.C. Crossly Tender with a number of Black and Tans for security, but more often he travelled alone in his ford car. The 4th battalion of the West Clare Brigade watched his movements for several weeks, and decided to hold up Lendrum at gunpoint and commandeer his car.  On the morning the 22nd of September while the I.R.A. lay in ambush at Rineen another group of I.R.A. Volunteers waited for Captain Lendrum at a level railway crossing at Caherfeenick two miles north of Doonbeg. As Lendrum drove towards the level crossing the gates were closed by  two I.R.A. Volunteers and he was ordered at gunpoint to surrender his car.  Captain Lendrum drew his automatic pistol but was shot dead before he had a chance to fire.  This action was to have serious consequences for the I.R.A. ambushers at Rineen later that morning.

Thomas Mc Donough had just arrived back at Ennistymon after driving some I.R.A. Volunteers from the town to the ambush site at Rineen, and reported for work at Roughan’s Garage when he saw the patrol of R.I.C. and Black and Tans preparing to travel to Milltown Malbay: “I was standing at the garage door and watched a lorry of police move off from the barracks across the road. It was driven by a Black and Tan named Hardiman  and manned by I think six R.I.C. men including Seargent Hynes and constables Kelly, Harte and Hodnett all of whom I knew well.” As the Crossly tender roared out of Ennistymon towards Milltown Malbay a young I.R.A. Volunteer watched the R.I.C. and Black and Tans disappear in a cloud of dust from his work at Roughans shop and was overheard saying to himself, ‘They are going now but, will they ever come back?’

After eleven o clock the I.R.A. ambushers hidden at Rineen heard the sound of  a train coming from the south and hid from view behind ditches until the train had passed. As the I.R.A. Volunteers scrambled back into position, the scouts watching the road from Lahinch signalled the approach of the R.I.C. John Joe Neylon could hear the sounds of the R.I.C patrol approaching when the I.R.A.’s scouts reached him and O Neill  with reports that the enemy force was much larger than expected: “About noon, word was received from the scouts that the three lorries were coming from the Ennistymon side. O Neill had a quick consultation with myself and a few of the officers beside him. He had expected only one lorry and the plans had been made accordingly. His force was mainly composed of raw material and the ground did not lend itself to quick deployment. In the circumstances he decided, in view of the scouts message, to withhold fire. When only one lorry passed he realised a mistake had been made by one of the scouts.”  The message ‘Police lorry coming.’ had been misinterpreted by one of the I.R.A.’s scouts as ‘Three lorries coming.’ The result was that the R.I.C.’s Crossly Tender was allowed to pass through the ambush without a shot being fired.

Realising the mistake, O Neill dispatched Jack Clune, an I.R.A. Volunteer from Inagh, to cycle to Milltown Malbay and report on the activities of the R.I.C. patrol and to report back immediately if it appeared that the R.I.C. and Black and Tans had seen the I.R.A. Volunteers waiting in ambush and were calling for re-enforcements. O Neill moved the riflemen in the first attacking party into a more suitable position to attack the Crossley tender on its return from Milltown Malbay and made a few other changes to the I.R.A.’s other positions while he waited for Clune to return with news about the R.I.C. patrol. Clune returned from Milltown Malbay two hours later and reported that the R.I.C. patrol had not detected the ambush and their lorry was parked outside the R.I.C. barracks in the town facing the direction of Rineen. Clune’s information was confirmed when of the republican scouts signalled the return of the police lorry and the I.R.A heard the sound of the R.I.C. crossly tender approaching. A few minutes later the Crossley Tender re-appeared. It passed about ten yards beyond the laneway to O Gorman’s house on the northern side of the road when O Neill gave the order to Neylon to fire the opening shot. Peter Vaughan stood up and threw his first grenade at the police lorry, his second grenade missed and landed on the northern edge of the roadway  exploding harmlessly. Already the I.R.A. Volunteers in the first and second attacking parties had opened fire blasting the R.I.C. and Black and Tans in the back of the vehicle with rifle and shotgun fire.

Within seconds of John Joe Neylon firing the opening shot the attack had ended: “immediately all the party opened up. The attack was over in a matter of seconds. There was no reply from the lorry and our fellows rushed towards it to find five dead police men lying inside. One of the police managed to get off the lorry and had gone about three hundred yards towards Milltown when he was seen and shot by Donal Lehane of Lahinch in a field near O Connors house” A short distance away on the northern side of the road Anthony Malone had joined the first attacking section in taking aim at the driver: “The pre arranged signal shot was fired. There was an immediate volley from the different positions. I fired three or four  rounds at the men sitting in the cab and next I saw the driver slump over the wheel as blood pumped from a wound in his neck. He seemed to be staring directly at Kerins and myself. The men on the other side of the road poured several rounds into the tender and, in a matter of minutes the attack was over.”  As soon as the firing stopped O Neill gave the order to cease fire and search the vehicles. The I.R.A. searched the Crossly Tender and recovered a six Lee Enfield and  Carbine rifles, six .45 Webbly and Scott revolvers, a number of Mill’s bomb hand grenades and almost three thousand rounds of .303 ammunition. After the weapons and ammunition were recovered the lorry was set on fire. Patrick Kerin rushed onto the roadside with Anthony Malone and began to search the bodies of the dead R.I.C. men and Black and Tans for intelligence papers and official documents: “When the firing stopped Malone and myself rushed over to the tender. I searched one of the dead men and, from correspondence which he had received from lady admirers in London, I learned that his name was Reggie Hardman, obviously a Black and Tan.” Reginald Hardman was the first Black and Tan killed in Clare, he was twenty one years old and came from East Finchley in London. He had served in the Royal Artillery Regiment before joining the R.I.C. The other five members of the patrol were all regular R.I.C. men; Constable Michael Harte from Sligo, Constable John Hodnett from Cork, Constable Michael Kelly from Roscommon and Constable John Mc Guire from Mayo. Sergeant Michael Hynes from Roscommon was fatally wounded in the ambush and died two days later.

While the Crossly Tender and the bodies of the dead R.I. C. men were being searched,  I.R.A. Volunteers sat on the roadside smoking and talking until Dan Kennelly, who had served in both the British Army and R.I.C., urged the men to get back up the hillside to safety quickly. The I.R.A. shared out quantities of the captured .303 ammunition and began moving back up towards the railway line crossing the hill. Seamus Hennessy heard the sound of lorries approaching from Lahinch and shouted to Stephen Gallagher, who had gone to collect the rifle and ammunition from the dead R.I.C. man who had tried to escape from the ambush, to hurry back towards the hill. Next Hennessey shouted a warning to a group of I.R.A. Volunteers who had halted below the first hill and indicated in the direction of the noise. A few minutes later a British Army lorry came around the bend in the road below the railway. The driver stopped when he saw the blazing R.I.C. Crossly Tender and the soldiers jumped out and rushed up the hillside towards the railway line. Moments later a second British lorry halted a short distance behind the first and more British soldiers poured out to pursue the I.R.A.

Ten lorries of British soldiers had left Ennistymon to search for Captain Lendrum who had been killed by the West Clare Brigade of the I.R.A. at Caherfeenick near Doonbeg earlier that morning. Captain Lendrum’s wife regularly phoned the military and R.I.C whenever he was due to make a journey and when he failed to arrive at Ennistymon the British military had set out to look for him. As they approached Rineen they heard the distant gunfire from the ambush and saw the smoke rising from the burning crossly tender and members of the I.R.A. crossing the hillside. When the British soldiers appeared in view advancing toward the I.R.A. the republican scouts let out a warning cry of ‘Military!’ and O Neill gave the orders to retreat across the railway line back towards Ballyvaskin. A small group, including Ned Lynch, Michael O Keefe and the Bourke brothers, who had been separated from the main force of the I.R.A. and made off towards the sea shore in the opposite direction without being noticed by the British soldiers.

As the British soldiers closed ground on the main force of the I.R.A. scrambling over the hilltop O Neill and John Joe Neylon stood their ground along the railway line to cover the others escape: “Those who  had already been making their way towards the top of the hill, as well as the party who were starting to do so all came under heavy fire, rifle and machine gun from the newly arrived troops. … As the big majority of our men had only shotguns, they were of no use in meeting the British forces who, in a short time had reached the hilltop a quarter of a mile or so east of the scene of the ambush. There was only one course open to us and that was to use the riflemen to fight a rearguard action while the others with the shotguns were making their way to cover and safety on the Ballyvaskin side. Unfortunately only a few of the riflemen were available for this purpose. They included O Neill himself, Michael Dwyer, Patrick Lehane and myself. The other men with rifles had gone off in different ways and it was not possible to collect them. The four of us took up positions in a field adjacent to Honan’s house and engaged the military who were using a machine gun behind a stone wall at the corner of a field about three hundred yards almost due east.” Their opening volley felled the leading British soldier advancing towards them, and his comrades took cover in the heather. The four riflemen spread out and commenced rapid fire returning the captured British .303 ammunition to its previous owners at a generous rate. This gave the British soldiers the impression that they were facing a much larger group of riflemen. Seamus Hennesy was headed towards a gap in a bank when Patrick Vaughan shouted a warning to them ‘Don’t go out that gap, for they’re like to set the gun on it. Roll over the bank when I shout.’ When Vaughan gave the word the shotgun men tumbled over the bank while the British soldiers on the hill raked the gap of the bank and its edges with machine gun fire.

While O Neill and Neylon’s group began firing on the British soldiers in an effort to halt their advance Patrick Kerin and the other I.R.A. Volunteers continued their retreat towards Ballyvaskin across open  ground: “We went in extended formation and had gone a hundred yards or so when we came under heavy machine gun fire from the north-east. The military had reached the top of Dromin hill and placed a machine gun in position four hundred yards away from us. Our party at this stage were in the middle of a ten acre field through which ran a stream in the direction of Ballyvaskin. Pat Frawley and myself made for the stream. On the way I was stunned by a bullet which passed between my ear and head.  Recovering after a few seconds, I got into a shallow drain where I remained for ten minutes or so, and then dashed twenty or thirty yards further on to a cock of hay. There I found Pat Mc Gough, O/C of the Inagh Company. With him I got as far as a low stone wall. The firing was still fierce and was coming mostly from a machine gunner. Here we began to time the machine gun burst and reckoned that a pan was being changed. We dashed across another fifty or sixty yards of open ground behind another stone fence where we met two more of our crowd, Dave Kenelly and John Crawford. Kenelly who had a rifle was in an exhausted state and enquired if any of us were in a condition to return the fire. Crawford had a carbine which he captured from the tender, but the ‘cut off’ had jammed. This I put right by forcing it with my teeth, and we both opened fire. I exhausted all the ammunition I had, a total of fifty two rounds. Our fire enabled the men in our vicinity to retreat in more safety and, when my ammunition was finished, we went after them.”

On the side of Dromin Hill, John Joe Neylon’s group were coming under increasing pressure as the rest of the I.R.A. Volunteers reached Ballyvaskin. They had concentrated their rifle fire on the machine gun grew and thought they had wounded one of them because the fire halted for a short period but longer than a normal stoppage. When the machine gun resumed firing a second volley  from the four riflemen silenced it again, Neylon and his comrades used this opportunity to retreat. As they scrambled town the hillside the British soldiers fire was so close to them that Neylon had his leg grazed by a bullet which passed through the leg of his trousers: “O Neill was wounded in the thigh early at this stage of the fighting and as we retreated he had to be removed. This was done by Michael Dwyer who carried him on his back. Gradually we made our way towards Ballyvaskin taking advantage of whatever bit of cover was available … ultimately the whole party got into the Ballyvaskin country and dispersed”
With the British soldiers in hot pursuit the republicans had no time for an ordered retreat and broke up into a number of smaller groups which would be harder for the British forces to pursue. Local farm labourers who had been making trams of hay near the edge of the bog when the running battle started helped carry the two wounded I.R.A. Volunteers to safety and sent for doctors to Milltown and Lahinch. The wounded were then placed on stretchers and carried across country to Moy. Patrick Kerin and Michael Curtain expected British forces to arrive in the area at any time and hid their rifles and the papers they had taken from the R.I.C. men’s bodies in a stone wall near Molohan’s house. It was now after four o clock and the British military had sent for reinforcements as soon as they had arrived at the ambush site at Rineen two hours earlier. O Neill and Curtin were the only I.R.A. members were wounded in the withdrawal though neither was wounded seriously. However the British forces suffered much heavier losses, in addition to the six dead members of the R.I.C. a  number of British soldiers had been wounded including a Royal Army Service Corps driver.

Volunteer Quigley, any info?

I have a picture of my grandfather, in what is described as an IRA uniform (he is from Fermagh) is this Fermanagh?. I am in the Canadian Military, and to me the cap badge he is wearing is an artillery badge. If possible could I send an email attachment of this picture to you, and if you would be so kind as to provide me with any feedback on what type of badge/uniform he is wearing. Thanks, regards. Aaron Quigley.

General Tudor

Many thanks to Gerard Burrows for the following article and pics,,its a very interesting collection of photos  and information relating to General Tudor.

I read with interest your references to Tudors Toughs ie the Tan, Auxies etc. As you know Tudor was the only man ever to hold the title Chief of Police in Irish Police history. I own the complete uniform of Major Gen Tudor which can be seen on some photos of the period and also archived News reels of him and Gen French inspecting Auxies in Dublin. My Grandfather was head constable in the RIC (22 yrs) and was based in Killorglin at the time of the Castlemaine Ambush which Dan Keating took part in. My mother relatedthe story of this ambush many a time when I was young, she told us that her father was told by the mother of one of the ambushers that this ambush was to take place. My grandfather had pleaded with the DI not to send the men to Tralee to collect their wages that day but he was over ruled by the DI with the result that 8 were killed my mother said there was as many as 11 killed as she was in the station when the bodies were brought back,she also said that my grandfather had to draw his gun to prevent other police going on reprisals. Later my grandfather was sent to West Cork until the truce in 1922. He survived one other ambush at Dunmanway,thanks to his house keeper telling him her son was leading a band of men to kill him. After the Truce he went to England with his family under an assumed name but later returned to live in Belfast on the Falls Road where his youngest son joined the IRA under old Wish Fox. Later my grandfather exiled him to England and he didnt return home until his father died. My grandfather was from Tralee,a catholic and an Irish speaker, just thought you might be interested in this wee story.
Slan go Foil
Gerry

Hi Garry no problem at all publishing the story of my grand father Micheal Blake and I will send you photos of my Gen Tudor collection which includes items of his full dress uniform from the Boer War period, also I have his uniforms from his command in Palestine and I found correspondance from Churchill regarding members of the Police Force in Ireland to be offered posts in Palestine. I have a copy of a letter from Gen Tudor to Churchill in which he refers to the Black and Tans doing a great job there. I have spent about 4 yrs now researching documents and writing to various people in Newfoundland who knew General Tudor including a doctor who was with him when he died. One lady in particular whose father was a friend of Tudor when she was a young girl , this lady by the way is English speaks Irish and is a reknowned Harp player and is in her 80,s !!! she send me a photo of a privately produced book by Gen Tudor entitled “The Fog of War” signed “To Carla with love Hugh” also she sent me a picture of his brass knuckle duster!!!! this item he always carried while meeting the boats coming in with their catches as most of the crews were Irish. A friend of mine has Gen Tudors palm pistol which he keeps promising to let me have!!! nothing as yet, it is residing in Florida at the minute. Tudor is difficult to write about as according to Carla Emerson he was declared Persona Non Grata by the establishment in Britain, she speaks of the Scotsman been involved, Ramsey Mc Donald??although his foreign secretary who led the Labour Party commission to Ireland at the time may have caused his departure, I have checked letters and diaries of these people and found that the Diary of the Foreign secretery  had all its pages removed from 1920-25, rather interesting??Anyway to finish my book on Gen Tudor I need to know who sent him to Newfoundland and why there?? as it has a big Irish community, infact Gen Tudors House Keeper/nurse was Irish Monica Mc Carthy whose family were from Cork. So from Britains best General to fish salesman and according to Micheal Collins himself during a conversation with Captain William Darling who was one of Tudors Officers in Dublin Castle after Collins had a car accident and was offered a lift to Dublin by Darling who was unaware of who he was helping out until Collins personally introduced himself enroute to Dublin where the pair ended up drinking in the Vaughan Hotel, Collins referred to Tudor as one of Britains best Generals sent to fight him and his men, he also mentioned that the IRA always knew when they encountered Auxies as they tended to put out a good fight!!! his words. This man Darling is the great uncle of Alister Darling the ex British Labour minister. During my searches through British records I found on marked “secret” along with many others!!! but this was one was very interesting as it mentioned a Royal Navy ship was on its way to Ireland with a supply of Gas Grenades for  the “Free State Army” for use against the anti treaty forces, apparently they suddenly discovered that they had signed a treaty prohibiting the use of gas and they were to be disposed of in Dublin Bay!!!! wonderful what you find when you are researching things. Anyway I will send you some pics of the collection and sorry about the spelling I always get timed out when I go to check it.!!!!

Slan go Foil
Gerry                                                                     GENERAL TUDORS UNIFORM

GERRY WITH THE UNIFORM

Edward Buckley Cork Brigade? Any info

Garry,
I met you at the military exhibition at Sundays Well Gaol,Cork, last weekend. I spoke with you about an old War of Indenedence medal (Black & Tan) belonging to my late grand uncle. You kindly said you’d try check what part he played , however small, in the War of Independence.His details are as follows:
Name: Edward Buckley
Address: 12 Well Lane, Cork (later Redemption Road,Cork);
Born: around 1890
Died: 1966
Trade in 1911: shop porter, also gunner in Cork RGA (Reserve Army?)
If you had any info on his activities, I’d be delighted to know> I was very young when he died, but I remember him as a friendly man.
Regards,
Jim Fitzpatrick

Andy “Dazzler” Mulligan

Hi,I’m looking for any information you can give me about my great grand father Andy “Dazzler” Mulligan. According to my mother and her cousins (His grandchildren) he was a gun runner in the Easter Rising who fought with Pearse in the G.P.O. eventually captured and imprisoned in Bristol before being tortured and left paralysed.He also allegdally had the proclomation hid in a wall in a pig yard in the inner city.
Thats all the info i have but i cant find anywhere this is written down.
I would appreciate any help you can give me
Regards
Bryan Higgins

1916 Rising, 1916-1966 Rising Survivors Medal

Here we have a nice example of the Irish 1916 Rising Survivors medal, nicely stamped. This is from Jerry McCarthy’s collection. Thanks for the pics, Jerry.

1916 Rising survivors medal obverse
1916 Rising survivors medal detail 1916 Rising survivors medal detail

Irish Volunteers Cap Cork connection

A friend and collector has supplied us with photographs of a Cork Volunteers cap,very nice quality and condition. Many thanks to Daniel Hulin.