Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin

Earlsfort Terrace

28 Earlsfort Terrace has been demolished, these are similar original houses

Sgt. John J. Fitzgerald, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, whose father was from County Tipperary , was shot and killed at 28 Earlsfort Terrace. He had survived a previous assassination attempt when the bullet only grazed his head. This time he was shot twice in the head. Nobody in the IRA has claimed responsability, and there is some dobt as to whom the assassins were tryiing to kill at this address. Depending on which account one reads, the IRA squad asked for Lt. Col Fitzpatrick, However the only real eyewitess is the maid who opened the door to the hit squad, and she is clear it was "FitzPatrick" and interestingly Thornton's Witness Statements gives the man killed as FitzPatrick

The Irish Times report describes the murder of Captain Fitzgerald. It reports that at about 9am on Sunday morning 21 November, a man knocked on the door of 28 Earlsfort Terrace, which was opened by a maid . He asked her if Mr Fitzgerald lived there ( reports in other papers that day have slight variants on this. One says that the man asked for "Colonel Fitzgerald", another says he asked for "Captain Fitzgerald", another for "Fitzpatrick". She answered in the negative, but the man said that he knew a Capt Fitzgerald lived there. He asked her to show him Fitzgerald's room and pointed his revolver at her. There were seven men at the door (another report in the Irish Times the next day says 20 men) , and two of these entered the hall. The first man went to Mr Fitzgerald's room, and a moment later the servant heard Captain Fitzgerald utter a loud shout. She then heard someone say "Come on". Four shots rang out, and the man left the room at once and ran away, the others followed him.

The maid later testified : ‘ I next heard Capt. Fitzgerald scream and three shots in quick succession. The party then left the house and walked away quietly. The inquest was told that Fitzgerald was shot through the forehead, in the right wrist where he tried to shield himself, in the chest, and in the neck.

IRA men present (from the maids and the landlady's evidence in the Inquest it would appear that there were 6 men in the raiding party. One outside the front door, one in the kitchen, one the leader remained just inside the front door and 3 went into Fitzgerald's room.

The landlady says they walked away after the shooting down Lower Hatch Street towards Stephens Cross. She could not find anyone to help as the streets were deserted, so she got two medical students to enter Fitzgerald's bedroom, where they found him to be dead.

The raid was by A coy 3rd Battalion, and the WS by O'Connor gives no details of the raid. A different WS by Farrell also ascribes raid to A Coy, 3rd Battalion, but gives different names. On balance I would go with Farrell's list. O'Connors list of men in 3rd Battalion raids does not tie up anywhere else.

WS1299. At midnight on Saturday, 20th November 1920, I was asked by Mick Kennedy to go on a job the following morning. He told me the job was the execution of an enemy intelligence agent who resided at 28 Earlsfort Terrace. He told me that if I had any scruples or conscientious objection to going on it I need not go and that nothing the worse would be thought of me. I agreed to go. We were to bring our own revolvers and meet at the junction of Hatch St. and Harcourt St. at 8.45 the following morning, Sunday 21st November 1920. We assembled as arranged and each man was issued with a grenade.

I was detailed to take charge of the covering party. I was to place my men at strategic points in the street and engage any enemy forces that might caine along. I was to remain in position for five minutes after our attacking party had left. In my party were Joe Lynch, Jim and Kit O'Donnell (brothers), Con Conroy and a lad named Jones. Paddy Byrne was in charge of the party which was to enter the house and carry out the execution. In this party were Leo O'Brien, Michael Kennedy and two brothers named Timmins. At 8.55 I moved off with my party and placed the men at strategic points. I took up position Outside the door of No. 28, Earlsfort Terrace. Sharp at 9 o'clock the attacking party arrived and knocked on the door. They were admitted by a servant girl. They lost no time in getting down to business as, almost immediately, I heard the sound of shots being fired inside the house. When the party came out, Captain Paddy Byrne said to me "Come along Kit". I reminded him of my instructions to remain for five minutes after they had left. He said: "There is no necessity for you to remain". So we all moved off together. My party was not called to action. The operation was successful.

I also came across a web comment claiming from a personal conversation with Jimmy Conroy, that it was Jimmy Conroy and Jack Wilson . I can find no substantiation of this

Comment by James McCormick — June 5, 2018 @ 10:44 pm Your account on Jimmy Conroy was very thorough..... As it happens, I became well acquainted with Jimmy as a consequence of researching the Irish War of Independence for my MA in history at Loyola University Chicago. Most of my research involved talking to old IRA veterans, including Vinny Byrne and Jimmy Slattery.... I first met them in the summer of 1973, shortly after Jimmy Conroy’s visit; and Vinny gave me Jimmy’s address. At the time, he was living in Long Beach, and my hometown is San Diego; so I drove up and made his acquaintance. I had several taped interviews with him over the course of the 70s. ....You state that Jimmy didn’t shoot anyone on Bloody Sunday; however, he told me that he and Jack Wilson shot Captain Fitzgerald at 28 Earlsfort Terrace.

 

Quite oddly, in comparison to most of the murders, nobody has retrospectively claimed responsibility for John Fitzgerald's death. From other reports, Flannigan may have been the executioner. The original enquiry is also at a court of inquiry in lieu of inquest on Capt. J. J. Fitzgerald, evidence of the maid, London NA WO 35/159B

The police arrived shortly afterwards and found Captain Fitzgerald dead in his bed in a pool of blood, his forehead shattered with bullets, one in the heart and one to his right wrist as if he had held it up to protect himself. All shots had been fired at point blank range. The officer was unarmed.. Another report says he received 4 bullets.

So apart from being in the RIC there is very little to say whether the Squad got the right man or not.

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