Sunday, 10 April 2016

10‭ ‬April‭ ‬1923:‭ ‬The Death of Liam Lynch on this day.‭ ‬This legendary IRA Chief of Staff was killed as a result of an encounter with Free State forces in the Knockmealdown Mountains on the border of counties Tipperary and Waterford.‭ ‬Realising that Free State columns were closing in on their position Lynch and a number of other Republican Officers decided to escape across the exposed slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains.‭ ‬It was while attempting to avoid capture that a Column of opposing forces fired upon this small band and Lynch was hit.‭ ‬Realising that his wound was fatal he ordered his comrades to proceed without him and was captured.‭

A Lieutenant Clancy of the Free State Army soon reached the spot where Lynch was lying and he asked him to identify himself Lynch gave his name and rank,‭ ‬Chief of Staff Irish Republican Army.‭ ‬The soldiers then dressed his wound and placed him on a stretcher made from rifles and coats and carried him down the mountain.‭ ‬A priest,‭ ‬Fr Hallinan,‭ ‬arrived on the scene and administrated last rites to the dying Leader.‭ ‬He was taken to‭ ‬St.‭ ‬Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel and died there about‭ ‬8.45pm that evening.‭

Liam Lynch was a veteran of the War for Independence and had carried out numerous attacks on the British Army.‭ ‬He had kidnapped the British General Lucas and had captured Mallow Barracks and set it alight.‭ ‬While he initially welcomed the Truce he rejected the Treaty.‭ ‬When the Civil War came he was in Dublin and captured but was allowed to walk free.‭ ‬He reorganised the IRA in Munster and did his best to slow the advance of the Free State Forces into that Province.‭ ‬But as they were pushed back the calls from both without and within the IRA were for a Ceasefire or a negotiated settlement.‭ ‬Liam Lynch rejected both and was determined to fight on.‭ ‬His death marked a watershed in the Civil War as without his influence demoralisation within the IRA increased and all hope of Victory in the War dissipated.‭  ‬Frank Aiken became Chief of Staff and on the‭ ‬3‭ ‬April he ordered a Ceasefire.‭ ‬On the‭ ‬24‭ ‬May he issued the order to‭ ‘‬Dump Arms‭’‬.‭  ‬The Civil War was over.

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