IRA intelligence director Frank Thornton recalls the 21 November 1920, a day which became known as Bloody Sunday.
Frank Thornton was a member of the unit of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) set up by Michael Collins and known as The Squad. This group of men were to counter British intelligence efforts during the War of Independence often by the assassination of agents. One of Michael Collins's most trusted colleagues Frank Thornton played a central role in the IRA's campaign and intelligence gathering.
He tells Brian Farrell about the events leading up to Bloody Sunday. Frank Thornton recalls the fate of senior IRA men Dick McKee and Peadar Clancy who were arrested in their homes and taken to Dublin Castle on Saturday 20 November 1920. The following day, both men, along with volunteer Conor Clune were killed in Dublin Castle.
They were brutally murdered in Dublin Castle.
Following the post mortem of Dick McKee and Peadar Clancy, Frank Thornton got to see the bodies. He describes how McKee had been ripped by bayonets. Clancy on the other hand died from one bullet wound to the head. He thought that it looked like McKee had tried to protect Clancy.
After learning of the deaths of McKee and Clancy, Frank Thornton heard of plans for an attack on Croke Park. But by the time they knew, Croke Park was already crowded. It was decided that if they made an announcement at the grounds, it could result in more injury from the panic caused.
They shot them up left, right and centre.
This interview with Frank Thornton was recorded on 26 November 1964 for 'The Survivors'. The interviewer is Brian Farrell.
‘The Survivors’ was a special project undertaken in the early years of Irish television to record personal accounts of the Easter Rising and the War of Independence.