RIC Constable Matthew Haugh

RIC Constable Matthew Haugh (aged 25) from County Clare (Bantry)

Date of incident: 25 Aug. 1920

Sources: CE, 26 Aug. 1920; CWN, 4 Sept. 1920; II, 28 Jan. 1921; Maurice Donegan’s WS 639, 4 (BMH); Seán Cotter’s WS 1493, 13 (BMH); John J. O’Sullivan’s WS 1578, 14-15 (BMH); S. Fitzgerald (1994), 10-11; Abbott (2000), 117.


Note: In the midst of acutely heightened tensions over very recent violence in both Bantry and Glengarriff, Constable Haugh was shot dead in Church Street in Bantry at about two o’clock in the afternoon on 25 August 1920. A farmer before joining the RIC, Haugh had five years of service with the force. Three other constables with him at the time managed to escape injury. Three Volunteer gunmen had apparently hidden themselves ‘within the small grove in the chapel grounds overlooking the street or road which runs past the church’. In the aftermath of the attack, ‘the greatest consternation and alarm’ prevailed. See CE, 26 Aug. 1920.

Haugh was targeted by the IRA as a suspect in the recent killing of the disabled youth Cornelius Crowley in Bantry. Local IRA battalion leader Maurice Donegan had ordered ‘the elimination of two obnoxious young R.I.C. men named Haugh and Power, who by their overbearing manner and brutal conduct had the town of Bantry terrorised. It was said that Haugh . . . had shot the cripple—young Crowley—in bed. Anyway, these two were in the raid on the Crowley house. At all events I ordered [Ralph] Keyes [O/C, Bantry Company] to have them wiped out before I came back from the Glengarriff job and he did it. . . .’ See Maurice Donegan’s WS 639, 4 (BMH).

According to former Volunteer John J. O’Sullivan, three members of the Bantry Company— Ralph Keyes, John Keohane, and Cornelius Sullivan—carried out the attack on the RIC patrol in which Constable Haugh was killed. The attack took place on the outskirts of Bantry on the day following the shooting of two other RIC constables in Glengarriff. See John J. O’Sullivan’s WS 1578, 14-15 (BMH). Because only two jurors appeared, an inquest could not be held on Haugh’s body. His parents were later awarded £700 in compensation for his death.

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