Photograph of Martin Devitt

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Martin Devitt

There was a slack period in military activities in North Clare from the spring of 1920 to the autumn of that year. Two factors, in my view, contributed to this. Firstly, the Vice O/C of the Mid Clare Brigade, Martin Devitt, was killed in an engagement with the R.I.C. at the end of February, 1920, and secondly, the R.I.C. were withdrawn from all the smaller stations about the same time and they were concentrated in the bigger villages and towns which did not then render them to be so vulnerable to attack. On leaving the country districts, they rarely visited them after, except in strength and when using fast transport. With regard to Devitt, it had become recognised even among his own men that his name was a synonym for trouble for the British authorities. He was fearless, resourceful and eternally on the alert for an opportunity to strike at the foe. He regarded his position as an I.R.B. centre for North Clare as one which demanded from himself unceasing example in ridding the country of alien rule. His loss was a big blow to our brigade, and it is very doubtful if it was afterwards made good. Devitt was replaced by the O/C of the 5th battalion whom I succeeded. My place as Battalion Adjutant was filled by Peadar O’Brien, Ballykeale, Kilfenora.

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