Irish War of Independence - Murder in Meath - 21.May.1920

 Irish War of Independence


The murder of Mark Clinton in Meath in May 1920 sent shockwaves through the county and further afield.


Murdered while ploughing a field belonging to his uncle, Clinton was the victim of a widespread campaign to grab land and re-divide it. In this case of Clinton the perpetrators of the crime were former soldiers who used the anarchy then prevalent to try and seize the land. One of them, William Gordon, was reputedly paid £2 to carry out the murder. The crime was widely condemned. In a letter to Fr John Brogan PP of Moynalty, the Bishop of Meath, Rev Laurence Gaughran informed the priest that he was shocked to read the particulars of the murder and that his parish and Cormeen was now ‘stained’ with blood and sin. Comparing it to the worst deeds committed in Zululand, the refusal to offer the dying man a drink of water was particularly galling to the Bishop and he called on them to organise the Stations of the Cross so that the murders could pray for repentance. Speaking at the funeral of Clinton the Rev Dr Finegan of Kilmore said that the ‘blood of the boy cried for vengeance to God’ and that ‘the man who rejoiced at such a crime was guilty of grievous sin’. Finnegan also appealed for the conversion of those who killed him, but the violence did not end there. Having been released in Navan by the RIC on a charge of possession ammunition, William Gordon was duly arrested by the IRA and executed near Dunboyne for his role in the killing. Others were deported from the country under a heavy IRA guard. For more on the execution of Gordon and the murder of Clinton see the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements.


Download Source: Drogheda Independent 1884-current, 22.05.1920, page 3; See also Drogheda Independent 1884-current, Saturday, May 22, 1920; Page: 2


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