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Rumours from Monaghan

A radio documentary on Senator Billy Fox who was murdered on March 11th 1974

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4.5/5 (36 ratings)

Documentary maker: Peter Woods

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Documentary maker: Seán Rocks

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Rumours from Monaghan

Senator Billy Fox was murdered at Tircooney, near Clones on March 11th 1974. Five men, members of the Provisional IRA, were sentenced to life for the killing.

Billy Fox was elected to the Dail in 1969. He lost his seat in 1973 and was subsequently elected as a Senator. He was the only member of the Oireachtas to lose his life during 'The Troubles'. But the story of Billy Fox has been largely forgotten.

Rumours from Monaghan sets out to find out what happened in Tircooney on that night.

It begins in the Bawn area of County Monaghan, amongst the people Fox grew up with - people who still remember him. On the night of his death Billy Fox had set out to visit his girlfriend, Marjorie Coulson, at her parent's house. It was a trip he made every Monday night. On that particular night the Coulson house was raided by the Provisional IRA - 13 men were involved in the raid.

Billy Fox was a protestant. He was a member of Fine Gael. He came to prominence during the '69 - '73 Dail when he campaigned against the cratering of border roads, which was then British Army policy.

He brought CS Gas canisters and rubber bullets into the Dail chamber and questioned the Fianna Fail Government's policy on Northern Ireland. He was removed forcibly from the Dail that day and the story made the front page of the national newspapers. That single event was to play a major part in losing him his seat.

During the trial of the five men accused of his murder the Dublin Monaghan bombs exploded. Those and many other events were to eclipse the events at Tircooney that night in March 1974.

Rumours from Monaghan sets out to remember those events and the level paranoia of those years, along the border - the unwillingness of people to talk when a low level war played itself out in the background.

Compiled and presented by Peter Woods and Sean Rocks

Produced by Peter Woods

Sound Supervision by Anton Timoney

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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