An excerpt from "Echoes of Their Footsteps, Volume I" by Kathleen Hegarty Thorne. Researched by Patrick Flanagan.
On 22 August 1920 District Inspector Oswald Ross Swanzy, who had led the raiding party that killed Mayor Tomás MacCurtain in Cork, was himself the victim of a gunshot wound.
After his relocation from Cork city, which after the death of MacCurtain was considered too dangerous a place for him, he was transferred to Lisburn, Co. Antrim. Michael Collins’s intelligence network had traced him there.
Two IRA men from Cork, Sean Culhane and Dick Murphy, were sent north to join up with Belfast Volunteers Roger McCorley and George Fox. McCorley and Fox waited outside the Church of Ireland in Lisburn for Swanzy to emerge and followed him for a block before shooting him.
MacCurtain’s own gun, which had been forwarded to Joe McKelvey in Belfast by Sean Hegarty, was used to fire the first shot (John Borgonovo notes in Florence and Josephine O’Donoghue’s War of Independence, p. 97).
The assassination of Swanzy sparked eight days of rioting in Lisburn and Belfast. Thirty-one people were killed and several hundred injured in the upheavel (Police Casualties in Ireland 1919−1922 by Richard Abbott, pp. 113−115), (Who’s Who in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War 1916−1923 by Padraic O’Farrell, p. xvi), (Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan, p. 149), and (Sean Hegarty by Kevin Girvin, p. 18).
The driver of the attacking party, Jack Leonard of Tourlestrane, Co. Sligo, was later identified and sentenced to death for his participation. His sentence was commuted to life, and he was released during the Truce (Sligo 1914−1921 A Chronicle of Conflict by Michael Farry, p. 244)
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