SIR – In relation to the article entitled, ‘How a killing on the steps of a Bandon Church may have changed the War of Independence,’ written by Daithi Fallon and published on July 25th, 2020, I am perplexed and surprised by the overall tone of the piece and in particular some of its content. In my estimation, it casts a shadow over the integrity of one of Ireland’s bravest freedom fighters, General Tom Barry.
As Daithi states it was a war and this is a fact that we must never forget; what happened on that day was an act of war and, as stated in the article, he had been forewarned in a letter by the IRA. One must be reminded that this was a war as a result of oppression and cold-blooded deprivation at the hands of the British Empire. At that point in history, the Irish had no other option but to fight back and restore their nation.
Tom Barry stated that Sergeant Mulherin was one of the most dangerous members of the British forces in West Cork. Daithi states in his article that the shooting in the church porch has been described as one of the more cowardly and shameful acts of the war. Can the writer please elucidate where this description can be found?
Surely this was a very brave act by the volunteers knowing what was at stake. These courageous young men put their lives on the line to eliminate this scourge whose role as a British intelligence officer was causing tremendous harm to the IRA.
Canon Magner, who had no role whatsoever in the war, was ruthlessly murdered by the British, along with a young man named Timothy Crowley, on the side of road just outside of Dunmanway while assisting a motorist who had broken down. This was a blatant example of a motiveless and gutless execution.
Daithi writes of Tom Barry appearing to have trouble in fitting in after his participation in World War I. He also mentions that Tom Barry was rumoured to be a spy.
These baseless assumptions are vacuous rhetoric, attempting to undermine the character of Tom Barry. The writer goes on and speaks about possibilities and alternatives about who killed Mulherin.
One being that Barry was tested in proving his credentials in this killing, This farcical fabrication provided little credence to the fact that Tom Barry was an accomplished and experienced war veteran who had already proven his abilities. Charlie Hurley knew this, which is the reason why Barry received the commanding position once Tom Hales was captured.
This article is ingrained in waves of imagination devoid of much factual evidence. I would postulate that the memory of Tom Barry is righteously written in the annals of history including his own account in Guerilla Days in Ireland, Meda Ryan’s Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter and indeed in the testimonies of his men in the Military Archives.
The memories and legends of men such as Tom Barry, and indeed all the volunteers who fought for Ireland deserve to be remembered with honour and pride as these are the men who shaped the history of this great country.