Two Constables Killed Near Tuam

Galway Observer, Saturday, July 24, 1920.

Two Constables Killed Near Tuam

Constables Carey and Burke, Dunmore were shot on Monday night when returning from Galway in a police motor car.

They left for Galway Assizes that morning, accompanied by Sergeant Beatty and Constable Brennan, whom they left at Tuam from which town they took an additional escort of police.

They returned to Tuam at about 8pm and took Sergeant Beatty and Constable Brennan on the journey back to Dunmore. Constable Burke was driving.

When nearing Newtown D'arcy, about 3 miles from Tuam, they found the road barricaded with felled trees. Before the driver had time to pull up, shots rang out from behind a lodge, and as Carey and Burke were jumping from the car they were shot and mortally wounded.

The other two policemen alighted, and it is stated that they discharged all their ammunition at a party of about 40 or 50 men, who had been in ambush behind the hedge.

The two police were overpowered and their rifles taken from them. They were taken blindfolded and told to go back in the Tuam direction.

They reached Tuam in a short time and reported the matter at the police barrack.

Soldiers and police immediately proceeded to the scene of the occurrence in charge of District—Inspector O'Callaghan.

Father Moane, C.C., was also summoned, but on arrival it was found that the two constables were dead.

Later in the night it appears that additional police were summoned from Galway and adjoining stations.

At about 4 oclock in the morning volleys of shots were heard in various parts of the town. Batches of police marched through all the streets and shot at the houses.

Very extensive damage was caused. The premises of Messrs. Banny Bros., the largest drapery establishment in the town, were completely demolished. The occupants having made way down a blazing stairway to the hall door, where they were refused egress at the rifles point. They eventually succeeded in escaping by the back way.

The Town Hall, a splendid cut—stone building, was completely gutted, and numerous other shops were considerably damaged.

Paraffin oil and petrol seem to have been extensively used, and bombs were also flung into buildings.

The houses of young men identified with Sinn Fein were visited by angry police, who acted in a most aggressive manner.

All business suspended, and the streets were covered with wreckage.

It is remarkable that no serious injury or loss of life occurred among the civilian population.

Deserters Caught — Irish Volunteers End Deserters in Tipperary

Irish Volunteers have put a speedy end to the romantic career of four men, believed to be English deserters, in Tipperary, who played the bandit for a while.

Two weeks ago the adventurous Englishmen made a forcible exchange of clothing with two shop assistants at a business in Thurles, and thus, disguised in civilian clothing, became a terror to the countryside.

It is stated that an effort by the R.I.C. failed to locate them, and then the Irish Volunteers stepped in, and within an hour had rounded up the modern Turpins, for whom, they proved there was no room in Tipperary.

The story ends with the deportation of the freebooters as "undesirable aliens."

Shots in Swinford

A military patrol of the Border regiment from Claremorris was fired at on Saturday night at Swinford and two soldiers were severely wounded. The soldiers halted at Swinford courthouse, from which four streets branch and immediately shots were fired at them by unknown parties. The lorry was riddled in several places with several bullets.

The military returned the fire, discharging as many as 500 rounds, with what result did not transpire. The wounded soldiers were conveyed to Claremorris, where their wounds were dressed prior to removal to the Curragh Hospital.

[Trial in Derry]

At the trial in Derry of four Galway men, who were charged with grievous assault, a city special jury was sworn. The only Catholic called was challenged and ordered to stand by at the request of the Crown.

Colonel Smyth Shot in Cork

Cork was startled on Saturday night when the news spread round the city that Col. Smyth R.I.C., 'Divisional Commissioner' for Munster, had been shot dead and County Inspector Craig R.I.C., had been wounded.

At about 11 o'clock that night a party of 12 to 15 men walked into the County Club some of the men remained quietly in the vestibule, keeping guard on the door, while others went straight in, it is stated, to the smoke room where Colonel Smyth, the County Inspector, and two other gentlemen were sitting.

Colonel Smyth was at once picked out by the raiders, who fired several shots into him.

The Divisional Commissioner staggered and attempted to run, but was again shot and fell dead.

In the shooting County Inspector Craig was slightly wounded in the leg. The raiders then left the club and disappeared.

Colonel Smyth's name figured prominently in the House of Commons during the week as the gentlemen who made a speech to the police in Listowel, which was the subject of much criticism.

Rapid and Daring

The shooting of Colonel Smyth and County Inspector Craig was carried out with the utmost rapidity, daring and coolness. About 10.45 a party of men, having approached by way, it is believed, of Crans lane, quietly made their way into the club by the main entrance on the South Mall. All carried revolvers.

Nothing happened to be in the vestibule or hall at the time, the hall boy being upstairs for the moment, but not far from the main entrance out of sight of it. The hall—porter Edward Fitzgerald, was standing at the bottom of the staircases.

Hearing the tramp of feet, he walked into the hall to find himself confronted by the party of men, who covered him with revolvers. He was warned not to make any noise, and was ordered to walk in front of the party into the vestibule, presumably so that they would not be visible from the entrance.

Guarding the Stairs

At the bottom of the stairs about eight or ten of the men remained still covering Fitzgerald with their revolvers. The others of the party proceeded to the smoking—room and, throwing open the door, entered.

Only four men were in the room at the time. They were Divisional Commissioner Smyth, County Inspector Craig, Mr. Barker (secretary of the club), and another member of the club, whose name has not been mentioned.

Colonel Smyth had arrived at the club at 8.30 in a motor—car, and having dined, proceeded to the smoke—room with the County Inspector. They had not been long there when the door was opened and six men entered, covering as they did the occupants of the room with their revolvers.

"Where is he?" asked one of the party.

"There he is," replied another, pointing to the Colonel, who was easily recognized, having only one arm.

Turning to him, the first speaker said: "Were not your orders to shoot at sight? Well you are in sight now: so prepare."

Two shots were thereupon fired at him, and the Colonel, who had risen from his chair, was seen to stagger, but, recovering himself, he rushed in the direction of the raiders, only to be met with another volley of three shots. He fell against the wall, reeled forward, and slid to the ground in the corridor just outside the door.

Picked up a few minutes later by his friends he was found to have been shot in the head and body.

The raiders then, without even a glance at the other occupants of the room, who were paralysed with horror at what they had witnessed, pocketed their weapons and walked out. Rejoining the other members of the party in the hall, all the men left the building and disappeared.

A hurried examination of the Divisional Commissioner showed that he was beyond all aid, and it is thought that when he collapsed in the corridor he was dead.

The Inspector's Wounds

It was also found that Co. Inspector Craig had been wounded, though not seriously, in the leg, probably by one of the first shots discharged.

The police immediately were telephoned and apprised of the occurrence, and a doctor. In a short time a large body of police, armed with carbines, arrived on the scene, and took up their stand at the entrance, allowing no one to enter the building.

A party of military was also quickly on the scene and posted at points some 50 yards above and below the County Club.

Dr. Dalton made an examination of the Body of Divisional Commissioner Smith, and pronounced life extinct. The bullet had lodged in the right calf.

A few minutes after 11 o'clock a military ambulance arrived, and in it Co. Inspector Craig was conveyed to the military hospital.

The body of Divisional Commissioner Smyth was removed to the Victoria Barracks, where an inquest was opened.

Not Disguised

Mr. Barker, secretary of the County Club, who was in the room during the firing, gave a short description of the scene. He said that not more than six men entered, and although some of those who had remained in the vestibule wore masks, none of these six were disguised in any way.

He thought that only seven or eight shots at the most were fired. He himself was on the opposite side of the room from Divisional Commissioner Smyth and County Inspector Craig, as was also the only other occupants of the room. The whole occurrence took place with incredible rapidity, and he thought the raiders could not have been more than 30 seconds in the room.

When the first shot was fired Divisional Commissioner Smyth sprang to his feet and ran towards the door, but the raiders again fired at him, and staggered as if struck.

He continued towards the door, however, but another bullet must have hit him, for he swayed heavily for a moment, some five yards down the corridor, and then, pitching forward, he clutched at the wall, and slid to the floor, where he lay still.

The raiders then departed.

"As round our Blazing Fire."

A remarkable scene took place in Kinvara, when the police vacated their barracks. After their departure the town was surrounded by hundreds of Volunteers, who had blocked all the main roads. The roof of the barracks was then smashed in, and the building systematically demolished, the tricolor being hoisted over the ruins. The courthouse was then visited, and the "Soldiers Song" sung round the fire, in which all records and law books were consumed.

Kenmare courthouse has been burned down. Vacated R.I.C. barracks have been destroyed at Aughrim, Glenfarne, and in Ballymore—Eustace, where the contents of the courthouse were also destroyed.

Bank Notes (Ireland) Bill

The Bank Notes (Ireland) Bill was read a third time in the House of Commons on Monday night after a protest by Commander Kenworthy, who said that the provisions proposed should be left for the consideration of an Irish Parliament.

Constable Shot Dead — Chauffeur Gagged and Tied to a Gate — Patrol Ambushed

In the early hours of Saturday morning a sensational occurrence took place near Newcastle West, Co . Limerick, a police constable who was going on holidays being shot dead.

About 6.30am Const. Masterson left the town in a motor—car on his way to Limerick, for Galway, of which he is native. At Sweep's cross, about two miles from the town, the chauffeur was confronted by a party of men in bicycles, who ordered the car to be stopped.

The driver was apparently seized, gagged and tied to a tree, as the dead body of the policeman was discovered later by a passing civilian, who told the police at Rathkeale.

The remains were removed in the motor—car to Newcastle West police barracks, the driver being detained until the inquest is held.

Large bodies of military and police arrived in the town and several houses were searched. Constable Masterson had 13 years service. He was brother—in—law to District Inspector O'Keefe, latterly of Dungarvan, and leaves a wife and two children. No arrests are reported.

German's Sign — Scene at Spa Conference — Little Respect for the Allies

The London "Daily Express" correspondent at Spa gives an account of the final meeting of the conference to settle with Germany. Herr von Simons, the German Foreign Minister, started to make a speech.

He had not gone far when M. Millerand interrupted him with the word "Are you prepared to sign this protocol or not?"

Herr von Simons took no notice, but attempted to continue his barrage. Herr Millerand exclaimed "that's enough" and whispered to Mr. Lloyd George, who rose and addressing Herr von Simons, said — "There is a little room off there on the right in which we have been having tea during the afternoon. I suggest that you gentlemen retire there, and when you are ready to give an answer yes or no you may return. The delegates returned at 8.50pm and signed.

Patrol Ambushed

A police patrol, consisting of one sergeant, three constables, was ambushed at a cross roads near Glencar, Co. Kerry, on Friday night. Shots were fired from each side of the fence and Const. Clery and Cooney were severely wounded by buckshot. The attackers then decamped. The injured men were attended by Dr. Dodd, Killorglin, and conveyed to the barrack.

Const. Cooney was later taken to the Co. Infirmary at Tralee, but Const. Clery's conditions did not permit of his removal.

Military and police arrived in the district. No arrests were reported.

Const. Clery is only six months in the force, but Const. Cooney has four years service.

Land for Irish Ex—Service Men

Sir H. Greenwood replying to Mr. Donald stated that up to the present the Estates Commissioners had made offers under the Irish Land (Provisions for Sailors and Soldiers) Act, 1919, to purchase 4,350 acres of untenanted land, and their offers had been accepted in respect of 750 acres, but proceedings had not yet sufficiently advanced in those cases to take possession of the lands. They had also instituted compulsory proceedings in respect of 870 acres, for which their offers had been refused, but objections had been filed, and they would come before the court at an early date.

Spiddal Man's Death — Convictions at Derry Assizes

At the Derry Assizes before Mr. Justice Dodd and a special jury, Patrick and Bryan Feeney (brothers), William Feeney and John Folan, of Loughanbog, Connemara, were convicted of assaulting and inflicting actual bodily harm to Patrick Thornton, of same place, and were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment from conviction.

The evidence was that on Feb. 2, when returning home with his brother, Thornton was set upon by 12 men and beaten with sticks and stones. A man who had been identified as Peter O'Malley, who had not been apprehended, fired a revolver, the shot striking Patrick Thornton, who died 6 days afterwards. Deceased had been in the Army and was invalided home from France. At the Trial prisoners and witnesses spoke in Irish only.