Civilian Brady

Civilian Brady of Macroom (Tory Top Lane, Cork city)

Date of incident: ca. 23 Nov. 1920 (executed as spy by IRA)

Sources: Charles Browne’s WS 873, 25-26 (BMH); Browne, History of the 7th [Battalion] (2007), 41; Murphy (2010), 40; Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 141, 351.


Note: A native of Dublin, Brady was working as a printer in Macroom when he came under suspicion as a possible enemy agent. He spent one night in September 1920 ‘drinking with Auxiliaries at the Market Bar [in Macroom] and was overheard by the proprietor, Mr Shields, and two recently resigned R.I.C. men, brothers named Vaughan, giving information that Barret[t]’s house in the South Square was being used by the I.R.A. as a billet. . . . Brady was arrested by us, convicted after a trial, and deported from the country. He returned after some weeks and again made contact with the enemy, this time at Union Quay Barracks, Cork. He was shadowed one night as he left this post and was shot dead at Torytop Lane.’ Charlie Browne, the adjutant of the Macroom Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade, provided the foregoing report on Brady in his BMH witness statement. See Charles Browne’s WS 873, 25-26 (BMH).

In his memoirs former Volunteer Jamie Moynihan related how the Black and Tans involved in the killing of Volunteer Christopher Lucey on 10 November 1920 had returned to Macroom and begun to celebrate in the Market Bar that evening: ‘They were toasting one man in particular, and he described in detail how he had taken aim and fired the fatal shot. The barman, an ex-RIC man named Vaughan, was able to identify the man, and he informed the Macroom Volunteer officers. All companies in mid-Cork and city were notified about his man, and a few weeks later he was again identified by Volunteers in Cork city when he signed his name to a docket when ordering military supplies. When he returned to collect his order, he was taken prisoner and executed.’ See Ó hÉalaithe (2014), 141. The book adds (p. 351) that this Macroom-based informer had first been deported to England but later returned to Cork and was shot dead in December 1920 on Tory Top Lane, to the south of Cork city centre.

The two stories seem to be related but do not align factually. It is possible that Brady was one of a number of persons who were ‘disappeared’ in this area, as there was no evidence of a body. Despite the seeming certainty of these two sources about Brady’s execution, it has proved impossible to find confirming evidence about Brady’s fate in a death certificate, a police document, or any newspaper reference. Nor can he be identified in the 1911 census. The entry must therefore be treated with some caution.

The Irish Revolution Project

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