Fifty years after the execution of Kevin Barry, 'Newsbeat' speaks to three men who took part in the Irish Republican Army (IRA) raid on Monk's Bakery in Upper Church Street, Dublin that led to Barry's arrest.

The first man to give his account of what happened on the morning of 20 September 1920 is Tucker O’Reilly. He was 22 years old at the time and was a mobiliser during the raid. He says that under captain's orders, there was to be no shooting. However this was not to be, and when one shot went off, everyone started shooting.

When you fire a bullet out of a gun you don’t know where it’s going to land.

Retired corporation driver, 70 year old Jimmy Carrington, was a transport non-commissioned officer (NCO) on the day in question. He does not believe Barry fired as his revolver jammed and he dived under a lorry to try and get rid of the jam.

Retired paint-shop operator Paddy Young, now 72 years old, was a grenadier on the day in question. He believes that once the shots were fired, the raid was a failure. He did not see Kevin Barry get under the lorry and did not know he had been caught.

For his part in the IRA raid in which three British soldiers were killed, 18 year old Kevin Barry was hanged at Mountjoy Jail in Dublin on 1 November 1920. He was the first Irish Volunteer to be executed by the British during the War of Independence 1919-1921.

This episode of ‘Newsbeat’ was first broadcast on 29 October 1970. The reporter is Cathal O’Shannon.


Kevin Barry memorial stained glass window by Richard King of the Harry Clarke Studios.