RIC Police Patrol Attacked & Aghern Barracks Targeted - 01.February.1920

Aghern Barracks Attacked

After a month of intense IRA activity across the country, the War of Independence continued unabated in February 1920. Becoming more daring in the process, the IRA continued to target the RIC and their barracks. Elsewhere, local issues and tensions would also surface, and in some cases they become embroiled in the struggle for Independence. February 1920 would be a month of chaos across the country.

On 1 February 1920 the Belfast Newsletter newspaper reported that a ‘disgraceful outrage’ had taken place at the village of Aghern (Ahern), county Cork on the previous evening.

Located some twenty miles from Cork the attack on a RIC police patrol was just one of many, which would occur during the early months of 1920 but the manner of the attack shocked many. On the previous evening while on patrol outside the village Sergeant Bradly, Constable Blanchfield and Constable Nagle were surrounded by upwards of thirty men who were armed and wearing disguises. After initially resisting capture, the three RIC men were overpowered and tied with ropes. The IRA then proceeded to take their weapons, ammunition and other items before leaving them bound together on the roadside. The police were said to have lay on the road in agony for more than three hours before the IRA returned and untied the men. They were warned not to follow them or make any attempt to arrest them. The police eventually crawled back to the barracks but it was a number of hours before the military arrived from Cork and a search of the countryside commenced. Buoyed by their success, just over two weeks later, on 16 February, the IRA mounted an attack on Aghern RIC barracks which was manned by the aforementioned policemen and their colleague's Constables Minogue, Mockler, O’Dea, and Dowling. For over an hour and a quarter, a ‘pretty lively fusillade’ of firing was kept up by both sides. One of the IRA men named Condon was injured in the attack and captured by the police. Condon was brought inside the barracks and a Red Cross ambulance from Fermoy was called. On the following day, he was brought to Cork and charged.

Download Source Belfast Newsletter 01.February.1920 & Cork Examiner 17.February.1920

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