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Raids and Ambushes -
Attack Enemy Troops

I believe that it was in February, 1921, that the Brigade Council decided to spilt the 5th battalion and to create a new battalion - 6th - to control the part of my battalion area north of a line running roughly from Doolin to Carron, as far as the Galway border. The O/C of the newly created 6th battalion was Sean McNamara who had been wounded in Monreal. In the area of the 6th battalion, the enemy held two posts, the police barracks in Lisdoonvarna and the coastguard station in Ballyvaughan, which was then garrisoned by a detachment of marines.On March, 31, 1921, in pursuance of a brigade order to attack enemy troops in each town where they were stationed - at that time there was no enemy post in my battalion - I was given the town of Ennistymon for the purpose of carrying out this order, although Ennistymon was in the 4th battalion area. The 4th battalion were to go into action in Miltown-Malbay. We got the assistance of some of the Ennistymon company whom we decided to use as scouts.For this operation I had mobilised about thirty-five men, armed with about a dozen rifles, shotguns and revolvers. We were assembled at Kilcorney, near the town, when two of the Ennistymon men, Sean Healy and another man, came to warn us that the enemy had apparently been forewarned about the attack because police and military had taken up a number of positions about the town and its surroundings. I decided to take no chances and abandoned the operation. As Healy and his comrade were going home, they were captured by a party of soldiers but were released later that night.After the Monreal engagement, the enemy did not give us a further opportunity of engaging a convoy along the Ennis-Ennistymon road with any hope of capturing it because, from that event onwards, the strength of the convoys was considerably increased. The number of lorries varied from six to ten or eleven, accompanied by one or two armoured cars. In addition, he sent troops between these two points by train and timed the convoys so that, as they passed through my battalion area, the trains came through a short time afterwards. The railway line ran at the rear of any position from which the convoys could be attacked or sniped.A representative from G.H.Q. in Dublin who visited Clare about May, 1921, was present at a brigade council meeting of the Mid Clare brigade, held at Patsie Hegarty's of Kilnamona, informed the meeting that G.H.Q. was not satisfied that the Clare brigades were pulling their weight in the struggle and called for more action so that the enemy pressure on some of the other Munster counties, particularly Cork, might be diverted. The council meeting lasted well into the night, and, when it ended, this representative - I can't recall his name - was still dissatisfied with the explanations put forward unanimously by the members of the council for the absence of big-scale attacks on the enemy, namely, the enemy convoys were now too big and the nature of the terrain did not lend itself to engaging more than two or three vehicles.On the termination of the meeting, the delegates got accommodation for the rest of the night in Kilnamona. Of course, the locality was well protected, while we rested, by scouts provided by the local company.Next morning, the scouts reported that an enemy convoy was on its way from Ennis. The G.H.Q. representative went with a number of us to a point where we could view the convoy with safety. It consisted of two sections, with five or six lorries in each section, and in between the sections was an armoured car. Each lorry was about one hundred and fifty yards apart, while the sections were separated by about half a mile. This sight apparently impressed our distinguished visitor because he then agreed that such convoys were unassailable except that they could be sniped. But, as I have already explained, sniping, so far as the 5th battalion areas was concerned, was out of the question. In fact, I had about a dozen men with me in Monreal on one occasion to bring off a sniping operation, when the distant sound of a train coincided with the approach of a convoy and I had to abandon the intention. Some sniping against these road convoys did occur, but this was done by men from the 4th, battalion whose area was on the south side of the Inagh river and from country which was relatively free from surprise by other enemy forces.

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