The following Saturday night, Saint Patrick’s eve, there was a ceili in the hall to welcome us home and although I enjoyed seeing some of my old friends again, it turned out to be a strange night. In the course of the night I noticed some agitation and heated discussions taking place and eventually I was approached by a tearful Elma O’Connell, Dave
O’Connells (Daithi) sister who asked me if I could intervene and do something to prevent her boyfriend from doing something. She explained that on the following day de Valera was coming to the Republican Plot to unveil a monument and that her boyfriend and another volunteer intended to blow up the monument that night. I immediately approached the local OC and another senior member of the movement and we went upstairs to the library to discuss it and I was amazed at their casual attitude to what I thought could turn into a disaster. They said that they had warned the two lads that if they went ahead with their plan it would be an unofficial action and they would be dismissed from the movement and I felt that the least that should be done was that a group should go down to the house in Blackrock and detain the two lads there until after Dev had departed again. However, the senior member’s response was that he had come to the dance with his wife and no one was going to spoil his night’s enjoyment so he went back to the dance hall again. As it turned out, the two lads went ahead with their plan and at about three am as John and myself were walking up Mount Carmel Road there was a mighty explosion and I prayed that the two lads would be all right. The next morning as I was returning from Mass I called to the old Fire Station on Sullivan’s Quay and the firemen told me that Elma’s boyfriend had been blown to bits and that they had collected his remains in buckets and that the other volunteer was so badly injured that he wasn’t expected to survive. Despite his severe injuries he did in fact survive but he lost a leg and an eye and as a matter of fact the monument wasn’t even scratched and if they had succeeded in blowing it up they would have emptied most of the graves in the Plot…
Cork Socialist-Republican Jim Lane said ” Ó Líonacháin view of a proposed detention of Swanton and Madden, fitted in with his belief, that if the IRA were the lawful successors of the First Dail, then they should have exercised their authority and arrested both volunteers. His experience on the night, shows that they were neglectful of their responsibility. They behaved more like a gang than an Army of the Republic”.
“A Rebel Spirit” – the Life and Times of Séamus Ó Líonacháin. From his early days growing up in poverty stricken Cork, following on to his days as an IRA volunteer, his subsequent arrest and imprisonment for seven years in Crumlin Road jail Belfast. https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Rebel-Spirit-The-Life-And-Times-Of-Seamus-O-Lionachain/140265629383498?fref=photo