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Black and Tans’ victim remembered this weekend

A LARGELY forgotten victim of the British forces in Clare will be acknowledged as part of the Easter commemorations in East Clare this weekend.

James (Jim) Grogan, from Feakle, was shot dead in June 1921 by the British Army, between Bodyke and Feakle, near to his home in the townland of Core. 

Oral historian and folklore collector, Tomás Mac Conmara, who is currently conducting a PhD on the Irish War of Independence in Clare, is including the story of Jim Grogan in his research. 

Mac Conmara has found that Grogan was shot dead by Private OCH Biggs of the 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Mac Conmara, who has interviewed a number of local people about the incident, is hoping more information will result from Grogan’s acknowledgement as part of the commemoration. 

“The East Clare Memorial committee was established to preserve the memory of those who fought and died for Irish independence in the East Clare area.  However, we should also acknowledge the often-forgotten civilian victims of the British forces in the area. Jim Grogan was walking in his own townland in 1921 and had every right to find his way home safely. However, after running for safety when he heard the Black and Tans coming, he was shot dead.  Grogan was not a volunteer, posed no threat to the British forces but was shot dead for running for safety. His name should be recalled when we commemorate this period of our history,” Mr Mac Conmara said.   

The East Clare Memorial committee has commemorated the East Clare IRA and Cumann na mBan for many years and this year they will once perform ceremonies in both Tuamgraney and Scariff.

Annie Noonan, the eldest daughter of Joe Noonan, a member of the East Clare IRA and founding member of the East Clare Memorial committee, will lay a wreath in her father’s name in Tuamgraney. 

Joe Noonan was a member of the Tuamgraney Company of the East Clare IRA and a member of the East Clare Flying Column.  

According to MacConmara, Noonan was the son of a teacher, who worked for a time on the MacLysaght estate in Raheen, Tuamgraney. 

“He had been active in Redmondite Volunteers in 1914 and stayed with the smaller Irish Volunteer grouping, following the split in 1914. Noonan was active during the East Clare Byelection of 1917 and, from there, took a more active military role in the local IRA. He took an active role in the IRA during the Irish War of Independence and following capture, went on hunger strike in Dundalk in 1918 and in Wormwood and Lincoln prisons in 1921. In the early 1950s, Noonan was on a committee, which helped to establish the East Clare Memorial Park, which makes it very special that his daughter will now lay a wreath in that park, in her father’s name on Easter Sunday,” he said. 

One-hundred-year-old, John Michael Tobin will lay the commemorative wreath to the Scariff Martyrs in Scariff again this year. John Michael is the last surviving person to have been at the funeral of the four men in November 1920, after they were murdered by British auxiliaries on the bridge of Killaloe. 

As part of this year’s event, local singer Pat O’Neill will perform the ballad, the Scariff Martyrs, following the Scariff commemoration. 

The commemoration takes place at the East Clare Memorial Park in Tuamgraney at 10.30am and at Scariff Churchyard at 12.30pm and will include, a reading of the Irish Proclamation of Independence and speeches from local contributors including Councillor Pat Hayes.

 

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