On this day in 1921 – June 23rd

On this day  (June 23rd) 1921 – Over 1000 British troops mounted a sweep of the Millstreet area of County Cork. It was probably as a reaction to the Rathcoole Ambush on June 16th, one of the largest ambushes of the War of Independence where two Auxiliaries were killed and four wounded, when mines were detonated under an army convoy.

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  1. This sweep included the killing of Mikie Dineen of Ivale on St. John’s Day as reported by his brother in the “Irish Bulletin”:

    The Torture and Murder of Michael Dineen.

    (The following statement has a peculiar interest in that neither the Press nor Dublin Castle ever reported this murder. Such crimes on the part of the British forces have been so numerous that eventually both the press and the public ceased to be surprised at them, regarding them as normal incidents in the daily life of the people. Dublin Castle, whose agents were involved in this horrific murder, were careful to conceal its occurrence).

    Statement of Daniel Dineen, Ivale, Kilcorney.

    “About 7 a.m. on Friday, June 24th., I noticed some Auxiliaries and a policeman at a little distance from my house. I have since ascertained that the policeman’s name was Dowd. I called my brother, Michael, who was in bed. He got up and dressed, and was saying his morning prayers when the Auxiliaries came in. They questioned him and charged him with being in the Rathcoole Ambush on the previous week, and with being an office in the I.R.A., all of which was untrue, and which he denied. Then they took him out of the house and one of them went to his room, searched it and took some money. When this man came downstairs he ordered my brother to be brought in again, and questioned him about Sinn Fein, etc, and said: “I’m going to shoot you because you must be an officer in the I.R.A.” “If you do,” said Michael, “I can’t help it. I suppose you shot as innocent men as me.” He ordered Michael to be brought outside again.

    “We heard Michael shouting.”

    “My wife and I begged that Michael would not be shot, but the door was shut on us. We heard Michael shouting as if he were being beaten. My step-son went out, and he saw two Auxiliaries shooting my brother. He also heard them telling Michael to run, but he did not. My wife went out, and three men in uniform told her she had better go into the house again. She heard a good deal of firing as she returned to the house. Shortly afterwards two Auxiliaries came into the house, and one of them told me they had shot my brother, that they had turned the machine-gun on him, and he ought to be dead by this. He told us bring him to one of the sheds and put him in a coffin, and bury him, and said they would report the matter themselves, and that I need make no report. The man who said this was the man who had questioned Michael previously and who had taken the money. I can identify that man. The policeman named Dowd was present during the whole proceedings.

    Terrible Wounds.

    “When I examined the body of my brother, Michael, I found that one of his legs completely shattered at the knee. There was no wound or any mark of gun fire here, so the leg must have been broken when he was beaten. His back was covered with bullet wounds, and nearly all the blood was drained from his body. There was a long cut in his vest, and a large open wound in his breast, which I thought was caused by a bayonet.

    “I have never been asked to give evidence at any inquiry into my brother’s death.

    (Signed) Daniel Dineen.
    Ivale,. 3rd. July 1921

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