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LETTER: Introducing further errors to the debate

July 16th, 2017 6:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – As Niall Meehan states, Dr Eve Morrison's letter (June 11th, 2017) identifying William Chambers as the ‘unidentified scout' interviewed by the late Peter Hart is a significant addition to the Kilmichael ambush debate. However, Ms Morrison does not provide the evidence that has led her to this conclusion.  

Crucially, Hart (p33) said that this man was HJ, who gave him a tour of the ambush site and who stated ‘Barry made us. He shot one, then we shot one' when allegedly killing surrendered and wounded auxiliaries. HJ is the rock upon which Hart's argument is built. 

Yet, if Willie Chambers was at Enniskeane, then he could not witness Tom Barry doing anything at the ambush site 15 kilometres away. Is Ms Morrison now saying that Willie Chambers is HJ and, if she is, where does that leave Hart? If I'm confused, despite having reconstructed the ambush in detail in my latest book, Cork's Revolutionary Dead 1916-1923, I cannot imagine where this leaves everyone else.

Secondly, in her reply to Niall Meehan (June 24th) she claims Daniel Hourihan said that Tom Barry had sent him away from the column to organise billets for the Flying Column on the day of Kilmichael in his 1937 Military Service Pensions Collection (MSPC). 

While it is true he says that he was ‘sent away from the column for short periods' in his statement Ms Morrison is not correct. 

In his follow-up interview with the MSPC, he says ‘At Kilmichael, I was sent for to reinforce the col […….] the morning of the fight.' There is, and never was, any doubt that Hourihan fought at Kilmichael and he never said otherwise.

Unlike many of the other commentators on this topic, I have long believed that Peter Hart's 28-year-old work has been superseded, but I am certain that Eve Morrison would not wish to introduce further errors to the debate.

Barry Keane,

Glendalough Park,

Cork.

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