November 28, 2020
The Kilmichael Ambush turned the tide of the Tan War and changed the course of history – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Mary Lou McDonaldSpeaking on the centenary anniversary of the Kilmichael Ambush, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD described the event as a pivotal moment in Ireland’s fight for independence. 

Teachta McDonald said “the courageous actions of Tom Barry and the men of his flying column turned the tide of the Tan War.”

The Sinn Féin President continued:

“Until Kilmichael there was a sense of invincibility around the forces of the Crown in Ireland. The Rising of 1916 had been suppressed – its leaders executed, and volunteers imprisoned. The British occupied the country. The great and the good told the people there was no other way. 

“But the IRA volunteers who gathered at Kilmichael were not deterred by any of that. They were not motivated by personal gain. They were not in awe of the great and the good. They were motivated purely by the noble cause of a free and equal Ireland as envisaged by the Proclamation of Easter Week. They set out in defence of the Republic.

“Most of the Volunteers present had little or no experience of guerrilla warfare and no formal military training. By contrast, the British forces were professionally armed and trained. As Tom Barry himself said the success of the ambush was down to the support the IRA received from the women of Cumann na mBan and particularly from “the poor people of West Cork.

“The IRA was the army of the people. The people stood by the flying columns as they took on the might of the British Empire. It was because of this support from the local community that the IRA was able to overcome enormous adversity at Kimicheal and in other encounters across Ireland. These successes galvanized the Republican cause and gave people belief that independence was possible despite the odds.

“Three IRA volunteers were killed at Kilmichael. Jim O’Sullivan, Michael McCarthy, and Pat Deasy laid down their lives for Irish freedom. It is important that we not only honour their memory but that we honour it in the right way. By working for a united Ireland and for the realisation of a real republic. 

“One hundred years later, we remember the sacrifices of those volunteers, but we live by their principles and we recommit ourselves to building the Ireland they fought to achieve. That is the very best tribute we could pay to the boys of Kilmichael who changed the course of history. Their selfless example continues to inspire us today as we seek positive, progressive change for our people and for our country.”

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