The annual commemoration for Sean O’Carroll and Patrick Tierney was held in Ardee on Sunday afternoon – where a crowd came out to remember the two young IRA volunteers murdered in the town 96 years ago.
The event was held at the O’Carroll/Tierney memorial statue on the Drogheda Road in the town shortly after the end of 12pm mass at the Church of Nativity of Our Lady – a celebration attended by sitting Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd, former deputy Seamus Kirk and current members of the Ardee Municipal District committee – Liam Reilly, Dolores Minogue and Jim Tenanty.
Among the speakers at the event were Fintan Malone and Ardee Municipal cathaoirleach Reilly, while Madge Martin said the decade of the rosary at the memorial – which was built in 1955, 35 years after the double murder occurred in the town.
A colour party raised the flag and Nicky Callan played The Last Post was played as those in attendance paid tribute to the duo who lost their lives almost a century ago. Padraig Lynch played the lament while the ceremony ended with Rose Higgins, daughter of Frank McCourt, laid a wreath in memory of the deceased.
Speaking at the event, organiser Fintan Malone said, “It was a bad year in 1920 for people in Ireland and here in Ardee, Patrick Tierney and Sean O’Carroll were taken out and shot. It circulated right around the world. It was in the New York Times, and newspapers in London at the time outlined how it happened.
Reilly also spoke at the event. “On the faithful night on November 30th 1920, both Patrick and Sean were murdered in the town after rumours that bodies had been found in Mullacurry and that a machine operater from McGees was taken to the Fair Green, put on his knees, a gun put to his head and was only saved after an RAC officer pleaded for his life.
“Unfortunately, too many murders took place then and since in the battle for Independence,” he said.
Sean O’Carroll, a native of Kildare, was 25 when he was taken from his lodgings in Castle Street by the Black and Tans and shot dead in a laneway close by. The laneway where he was found was later renamed Sean O’Carroll Street, and a plaque was erected at the place of his death.
Patrick Tierney was a native of Ardee and was murdered the same night, November 30th 1920, by a squad of drunken Tans. In 1991, aged 90, his sister Delia Spillane recalled that night when her brother was taken from the house and found later with broken arms and legs, stomach ripped out with a bayonet and a bullet through his head.
Like O’Carroll, Tierney had a street in the town subsequently named after him.