Anti-Treaty combatants killed in Clare: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Cathal Brugha, Republican leader killed on 5 July in Dublin. The New York Times. Closing In On All Irregulars. Republican Leaders on the Scene. Archived from the original on 8 August Retrieved 17 January Retrieved 25 May Violence and Community in Cork, ". Archived from the original on Private Edward V Kavanagh died 28 October Private Peter Byrne died 28 October Archived from the original on 6 December Retrieved 9 December Archived from the original on 18 November Retrieved 25 October Come here to me!.
Executions during the Irish Civil War - Wikipedia
Sergeant Thomas Walsh died 17 December Private James Henna died 19 December Private Patrick Mulhall died 19 December Cosgrave , Richard Mulcahy and Kevin O'Higgins , took the position that the Anti-Treaty IRA were conducting an unlawful rebellion against the legitimate Irish government and should be treated as criminals rather than as combatants. O'Higgins in particular voiced the opinion that the use of martial law was the only way to bring the war to an end. Another factor contributing to the executions policy was the escalating level of violence.
In the first two months of the Civil War July—August , Free State forces had successfully taken all the territory held by Republicans and the war seemed all but over. After the Anti-Treaty side resorted to guerrilla tactics in August—September, National Army casualties mounted and they even lost control over some of the territory taken in the Irish Free State offensive.
The town of Kenmare , for example, was re-taken by Anti-Treaty fighters on 9 September and held by them until early December. This had the effect of instituting martial law for the duration of the conflict. The legislation, commonly referred to as the Public Safety Bill ,    empowered military tribunals with the ability to impose life imprisonment, as well as the death penalty, for a variety of offences.
By imposing capital punishment for anyone found in possession of either firearms or ammunition, the Free State effectively prevented Republican sympathizers from storing any arms or ammunition that could be used by Republican forces; anyone in possession of even a single sporting or civilian firearm or cartridge could be executed by firing squad.
Offences covered under the law not only included attacks on state policy or military forces, but also publishing "seditious publications" as well as membership of either the Republican Army or the Communist Party. The Republican, or Anti-Treaty, members had refused to take their seats in the Parliament and the opposition to the measures was provided by the Labour Party , who likened the legislation to a military dictatorship.
On 3 October, the Free State had offered an amnesty to any Anti-Treaty fighters who surrendered their arms and recognised the government. The Order was strengthened in January to allow execution for many other categories of offence, including non-combatant Republican supporters carrying messages, assisting in escapes or using army or police uniforms; and also deserters from the National Army. After the Civil War the government also felt the need to pass the Indemnity Act, , which stipulated that all sentences passed on military prisoners taken by the Provisional Government's forces, before the passing of the Act, were retrospectively "valid".
Soon after the passage of the resolution, several other pressures were brought to bear on Republican fighters. On 10 October, the Catholic Hierarchy issued a statement condemning the Anti-Treaty fighters, ending with: The Anti-Treaty side were to be called "Irregulars" and were not to be referred to as "Republicans", "IRA", "forces", or "troops", nor were the ranks of their officers allowed to be given. From now on, the Free State, equipped with legislation, the support of the Church and of much of the Press, was prepared to treat the Republican fighters as criminals rather than as combatants.
The first four executions occurred shortly after the Republicans rejected the amnesty in mid-October They were followed by three more on 19 November.
The next to be executed was Erskine Childers , who had been secretary to the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Childers was a well-known Republican - it was on his boat, the Asgard , that the guns had been brought in during the Howth gun-running - he was a renowned columnist, novelist, and a member of the Anglo-Irish , Protestant landowning family of Glendalough House, Annamoe , County Wicklow. He had been captured on 10 November in possession of a Spanish-made. He considered the existence of a Provisional Government in Ireland and its authority to act as proposed and execute the nine.
On 24 November Childers was executed by firing squad. He also ordered the killing of hostile judges and newspaper editors.
On the same day, three more Republican prisoners were executed in Dublin. After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Free State government decided on the retaliatory executions of four prominent Republicans one from each province. O'Connor and Mellows particularly were revered heroes of the War of Independence. Historian Michael Hopkinson reports that Richard Mulcahy had pressed for the executions and that Kevin O'Higgins was the last member of cabinet to give his consent. Sean Hales was the only TD to be killed in the war.
However, Republicans continued to burn the homes of elected representatives in reprisal for executions of their men. Homes of senators were among the houses burned or destroyed by the IRA in the war. Cosgrave 's home was burned and his uncle was assassinated. In all, the Free State formally sanctioned the execution of between 77 and 81 Anti-Treaty fighters during the war. Republican historian Dorothy Macardle popularised the number 77 in Republican consciousness, but she appears to have left out those executed for activities such as armed robbery.
Those executed were tried by court-martial in a military court and had to be found guilty merely of bearing arms against the State. After the initial round of executions, the firing squads got under way again in earnest in late December Most of those executed were prisoners held in Kilmainham and Mountjoy Gaols in Dublin , but from January , Kevin O'Higgins argued that executions should be carried out in every county in order to maximise their impact.
From 8—18 February, the Free State suspended executions and offered an amnesty in the hope that Anti-Treaty fighters would surrender. However, the war dragged for another two months and witnessed at least 20 more official executions,  amongst them six men executed on 11 April in Tuam Military Barracks found guilty of the unlawful possession of arms on 21 February.
There is a commemorative plaque in Tuam on the site of the old Military Barracks. Several Republican leaders narrowly avoided execution.
Ernie O'Malley , captured on 4 November , was not executed because he was too badly wounded when taken prisoner to face a court martial and possibly because the Free State was hesitant about executing an undisputed hero of the recent struggle against the British. Liam Deasy , captured in January avoided execution by signing a surrender document calling on the Anti-Treaty forces to lay down their arms.
The Anti-Treaty side called a ceasefire on 30 April and ordered their men to "dump arms", ending the war, on 24 May. Nevertheless, executions of Republican prisoners continued after this time. Four IRA men were executed in May after the ceasefire order and the final two executions took place on 20 November, months after the end of hostilities.
It was not until November that a general amnesty was offered for any acts committed in the civil war. In highlighting the severity of the Free State's execution policy, however, it is important not to exaggerate its extent. How those who were executed were chosen from the others captured in arms is unclear; however, many more men were sentenced to the death penalty than were actually shot. This was intended to act as a deterrent to anti-Treaty fighters in the field, who knew that their imprisoned comrades were likely to be executed if they kept up their armed campaign.
In addition to the judicial executions, Free State troops conducted many extrajudicial killings of captured anti-Treaty fighters.
Timeline of the Irish Civil War
From an early point in the war, from late August coinciding with the onset of guerrilla warfare , there were many incidents of National Army troops killing prisoners. By 9 September, a British intelligence report stated that "Oriel House" had already killed "a number of Republicans" in Dublin, including Joseph Bergin, a Military Policeman from the Curragh Camp who was believed to have been passing information to Republican prisoners. There were also allegations of abuse of prisoners during interrogation by the CID. For example, Republican Tom Derrig had an eye shot out while in custody.
County Kerry , where the guerrilla campaign was most intense, would see many of the most vicious episodes in the Civil War. On 27 August, in the first such incident of its type, two anti-treaty fighters were shot after they had surrendered in Tralee, County Kerry. One of them, James Healy, was left for dead but survived to tell of the incident.
Republicans also killed prisoners. There was a steady stream of similar incidents after this point in Kerry, culminating in a series of high-profile atrocities in the month of March Four of them, including Brian MacNeill, the son of Eoin MacNeill were later found to have been shot at close range in the forehead, indicating that they had been shot after surrendering.
March saw a series of notorious incidents in Kerry, where 23 Republican prisoners were killed in the field and another five judicially executed in a period of just four weeks. The killings were sparked off when five Free State soldiers were killed by a booby trap bomb while searching a Republican dugout at the village of Knocknagoshel , County Kerry, on 6 March. The next day, the local Free State commander authorised the use of Republican prisoners to clear mined roads. Paddy Daly justified the measure as, 'the only alternative left to us to prevent the wholesale slaughter of our men'.
National Army troops may have interpreted this as permission to take revenge on the Anti-Treaty side.