Civil War Monument Destruction – Lingering Bitterness or Pure Vandalism ?

Ben Brosnan beside the smashed Civil War Monument at Talbot's Bridge in Knocknagoshel this evening. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Ben Brosnan beside the smashed Civil War Monument at Talbot’s Bridge in Knocknagoshel this evening. ©Photograph: John Reidy

A act of destruction in Knocknagoshel last night has sickened the chairman of a 1923 commemoration committee.

A Civil War monument to the six Irish Free State Soldiers killed by a land mine in Barnarrig, near Talbot’s Bridge in Knocknagoshel on a March night in 1923 was smashed to pieces in the course of last night.

The deed has left Ben Brosnan scrambling to understand the mentality of the people behind this latest attack on the monument which was unveiled on the Sunday afternoon of November 17-2013

The Civil War monument in Knocknagoshel in bits after last night's second attack since it was unveiled in November 2013. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The Civil War monument in Knocknagoshel in bits after last night’s second attack since it was unveiled in November 2013. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Second Attack Since 2013

This is the second such attack since the unveiling; the first in March of 2014 was repairable but last night’s more determined effort has put the stone well beyond repair.

An investigating Garda from the Listowel station found a wing of the monument thrown into the nearby river beside the bridge and the investigation is being conducted from Listowel.

The killing of the six soldiers at the time drew Castleisland, Knocknagoshel, Ballyseedy, Countess Bridge in Killarney and Caherciveen into a bloody and unforgettable series of murders and reprisal.

For a lot of the year in the run up to November 2013, Ben Brosnan of Loughfouder, Knocknbagoshel headed a small committee with a monumental mission in mind.

They wished to commemorate the men who died in one of the darkest periods of Irish history.

Dark, Even by Kerry Standards

Dark, even by Kerry’s standards during the period of the Civil War.

The monument was unveiled by the then Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan.

On the day an emotional Mr. Deenihan – departing from his scripted delivery – pointed out that Paudie Fuller – son of the sole survivor of Ballyseedy, Stephen Fuller – was in attendance. It was a gesture which Mr. Deenihan said he greatly admired and appreciated.

The emotion of the day and Mr. Deenihan’s gesture also, clearly got the better of Mr. Fuller.

Scarred by ‘The Troubles’

The former Fianna Fail member of Kerry County Council stood at the back of the crowd where he was flanked by former Fine Gael councillor, Michael O’Connor-Scarteen from Kenmare and current KCC member, Cllr. Pat McCarthy (FG) from Ballymacelligott – whose families had also been scarred by ‘The Troubles’ of those tragic times.

“Paudie Fuller has done more than any other man in North Kerry to bring us all together and his bravery and generosity in being here today is something we all appreciate,” said Mr. Deenihan to an outburst of spontaneous, warm applause.

Could it be that there’s someone in the community who doesn’t appreciate the presence of the monument in the parish – or is it just an act of pure vandalism.

All in the Past

Ben Brosnan isn’t sure. “I can’t see how anyone could be driven with that kind of bitterness anymore. I would hope that’s all in the past and that we can put this down to vandalism,” he said.

The men to whom the monument was erected at the time were: Private Laurence O’Connor, Lissycurrig, Causeway; Captain Edward Joseph Stapleton, Dublin; Captain Michael Dunne, Dublin; Lieutenant Patrick O’Connor, Castleisland and Private Michael Galvin, Killarney.

Anyone with relevant information is urged to contact Listowel Garda Station on: 068 50 820.

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