David Shannon

Published in Personal History

Michael Manning, Battalion Adjutant, Old IRA, Clifden District, Co Galway, received   intelligence that the Black and Tans were searching for an informer in Clifden who had set up an ambush against their unit only the previous week.

They were threatening to travel to Clifden by train for a search and destroy mission  for the presence of the IRA force.

Michael Manning assembled his most trusted comrades to prepare for the attack and to protect Clifden. They made ready to hide out locally to prepare to ambush. Food and weapons were stored on Loch Fada, Ballinaboy, south of Clifden. The men could retreat there for a week on the islands.

The Black and Tans arrived on the 11 o’clock train from GalwayCity. Michael and his trusted comrades kept watch on the town at Loch Fada. Two locals scanned the Clifden – Ballyconneely road for enemy patrols.

The Black and Tans deployed in two squads of 15 men each on either side of Market Street en route up the hill from Clifden railway station and immediately set fire to O’Connor’s, Stankard’s and Healy’s shops just before setting fire to Michael Manning’s public house and garage. An off duty, Captain Healy R.E. (Royal Engineers) was shot dead in the street for no reason other than to terrorise the population. The Black and Tans made no effort to interrogate any alleged informer real or imagined. The Black and Tans withdrew to Clifden railway station and got on the 12 o’clock train, again holding the train driver at gunpoint.

Michael and other business owners spent the next month in Clifden salvaging goods and other items from their premises. Michael Manning and his comrades were awarded a Cogadh na Saoirse (War of Independence) medal in 1941.

The Black and Tans sacked Balbriggan in September 1920; Black and Tans aided by Auxiliaries sacked Granard in November 1920; with Cork fired by the Auxiliaries 11- 12th December 1920; the Essex Regiment led by their sadistic CO Major Percival sacked Bandon. Major, later Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery enjoyed burning ordinary people’s homes in Cork.

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