Civilian James Buttimer

Civilian James Buttimer (aged about 81) of 15 Sackville Street, Dunmanway (Dunmanway)

Date of incident: 27 April 1922

Sources: CE, 28 April, 1 May 1922; FJ, 28 April 1922; II, 28 April 1922; SS, 29 April, 6 May 1922; CCE, 29 April, 6 May 1922; Nenagh News, 29 April 1922; CWN, 6 May 1922; Ulster Herald, 6 May 1922; Fermanagh Herald, 6 May 1922; Donegal News, 6 May 1922; Application of Clarina Buttimer to Irish Grants Committee, 31 Jan. 1927 (CO 762/142/17, TNA); Application of James McCarthy to Irish Grants Committee (IGC), 27 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/13/5, TNA); Application of William Fitzmaurice to IGC, 17 Dec. 1926 (CO 762/12/4, TNA); Application of William Jagoe to IGC, 11 June 1927 (CO 762/4/1, TNA); Application of George Applebe Bryan to IGC, 20 Oct. 1926 (CO 762/3/10, TNA); Application of Thomas Sullivan to IGC, undated file (CO 762/175/19, TNA); Hart (1998), 273-92; Bielenberg, Borgonovo, and Donnelly (2014), 21-24; Keane (2014), 143-73; Keane (2017), 85-89, 285.


Note: James Buttimer was shot and killed at his residence on Sackville Street in Dunmanway in the early hours of Thursday morning, 27 April 1922. Also killed in their Dunmanway homes at about the same time were Francis Fitzmaurice of Carbery House and David Grey of Sackville Street. All three were Protestants. See CE, 28 April, 1 May 1922; FJ, 28 April 1922; II, 28 April 1922; SS, 29 April, 6 May 1922; CCE, 29 April, 6 May 1922; CWN, 6 May 1922.

At the inquest James Buttimer’s brother identified the body and stated that the deceased was 81 years old. James Buttimer’s widow Clara Buttimer ‘said she remembered the time of the shooting—about 1:20 a.m. on Thursday [27 April]. She heard knocking at the door and lit the candle. Both her husband and herself came downstairs. Her husband opened the door and said—“What do you want, boys?” There were men on each side of the door, who answered: “We want you. We want to talk to you.” She (witness) replied: “Sure, you wouldn’t take a poor man like him.” They said to her, “Go to bed; we don’t want you.” The men said to her husband, “Come out or we’ll make you.” Her husband said, “How can I go out when I am undressed?” They again said, “Come out.” Her husband said, “Surely you won’t take an old man of 82 years.” Her husband was then fired at. He dropped down and never again spoke. Shots were fired from each side, and she saw a rifle and revolver. She could not say how many shots were fired, as she was dazed. Though there were a number of men there, she only saw one, whom she did not recognise.’ Dr T. O’Driscoll testified that he had examined Buttimer’s body: ‘Part of the neck and right cheek were torn away. Deceased had two wounds and a flesh wound. He had a wound on the right knee, passing from front to back, about three inches in extent. Deceased might have lived about five minutes after being wounded. Death was due to shock and hemorrhage arising from a bullet wound.’ See CCE, 6 May 1922.

The victim’s widow Clarina Buttimer’s application to the Free State authorities for compensation in the death of her husband was rejected. She later sought £6,000 in compensation from the Irish Grants Committee. After the slaying of her husband she had been forced ‘to leave Dunmanway hurriedly and to make a forced sale of her house property at less than half the value and to remove furniture to Dublin and store it there, and there was also some furniture and clothing destroyed’. ‘Owing to the shock and terror’ of her husband’s murder, her own health had suffered ‘both physically and mentally’. See Application of Clarina Buttimer to Irish Grants Committee, 31 Jan. 1927 (CO 762/142/17, TNA).    

In 1911 James Buttimer and his wife Clara were separated in age by 17 years. He was then 70 years old, while she was 53. They were the parents of four children; three of them were then teenage sons who co-resided with them at 15 Sackville Street in Dunmanway. James Buttimer was a draper and his eldest resident son Richard (then aged 19) was a draper’s assistant. His son William (aged 15) was a hardware-store apprentice, while his son George (aged 14) was still in school. The Buttimers were Methodists. At the time of his death in April 1922 James Buttimer was about 81 years old.

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