On October 3 1968, a four man unit, of the little known republican organisation Saor Éire, attempted to rob the Munster and Leinster Bank in Ballyfermot.
As the armed volunteers approached the Bank, they were spotted by members of the Gardaí and were forced to abandon the fundraising operation. The Saor Éire unit managed to escape the scene in their getaway car but were followed by the Gardaí. At Kylemore Road Ballyfermot, the republicans realised they were being followed and opened fire as a warning. The Gardaí continued to give chase until the Saor Éire volunteers were forced to abandon their car following a crash at Cooley Road in Drimnagh. As the unit attempted to escape on foot, they fired more shots into the air and shouted ‘This is political’ in an effort to get the Gardaí to give up the chase.
After escaped through back garden however, they were confronted on the next road by plain clothes Gardaí and arrested. Thomas (Charlie) O’ Neill, Sean(Ructions) Doyle, Padraig Dwyer and Simon O’Donnell were charged as a result of this operation and were granted bail. Padraig Dwyer and Simon O’Donnell reportedly then went ‘on the run’.
Following a number of more successful fundraising operations, Saor Éire stated they would ‘finance a movement which will strive for a workers republic’. The organisation was later involved in providing training, funding and arms to the nationalist and republican community in the occupied six counties in an effort to strengthen defence against Loyalist death squads and the British Army.
The above article first appeared on the Dublin South Central Fighting Story blog.