Daniel Shields or William Shiels

A British intelligence agent who probably caused the most damage to the IRA in Cork to the republican war effort Danile Shields/ William Shiels (there are various interpretatonsof his name. An ex-British soldier who had joined the Kanturk Column of the IRA in north Cork and was responsible for the deaths of nine IRA Volunteers at Nadd and Mourne Abbey.

It is difficult to know what happened to Shields. He certainly disappeared, and could have been killed by the IRA or been helped to sucessfully escape by the British. There are no claims by the IRA to have killed him, so the balance of probability is the British got him out safely

With so little to go on, I cannot establish that this is who we are after, but seems to be the only possibility from the censuses.

1897 Jul 5. Born Killarney, Kerry . Name DANIEL SHIELDS Date of Birth 5 July 1897 Address WORKHOUSE Father WILLIAM SHIELDS Mother MARGARET TUOMEY

1901 census at Loumanagh, North Doonasleen, Cork

1911 census. The family are still at the same address, but Daniel is not there

1920 & 1921

He joins the Kanturk Battalion of the IRA. We do not know if Daniel Shields was his real name. In fact the information on the man is scanty. He had been accepted by the IRA, so the probability is that he was known by someone in the area, so it could have been his name. He was an ex-soldier, but I cannot find a suitable candidate with a British Army pension

I should also add that there was no Black and Tan insribed as Daniel Shileds or anything close to that.

IRA Witness Statement Shiels was an ex-British soldier who joined the Kanturk Battalion sometime in 1920. He worked as a farm labourer in the Kanturk locality. Something of a braggart, he was very fond of drink and, generally, was not popular with the unit. While he participated in the training activities of the battalion column he was always absent, on some pretext, when an engagement was due .In January (or early February) of 1921, a brigade meeting was held at Gortmore (near Lombardstown) and the assembled battalion commanders were then informed of the plans for the Mourne Abbey ambush. The Kanturk Battalion Commander was .present, but his unit were not ordered to participate in the ambush, but to hold themselves in readiness.

On his return from the brigade conference, the Kanturk Battalion Commander discussed some of these matters in Brides of Nadd, with some of the members of his unit. Shiels was present then In March of 1921, Shiels was with the Kanturk Battalion Column at the brigade headquarters at Nadd. He went into Kanturk to draw his British army pension. The I.O.of the Kanturk Battalion (Michael Moore) noted that Shiels was drinking in the Kanturk public houses, and then became aware of the fact that Shiels had called at the Kanturk R.I.C. Bks. Moore sent a dispatch with all haste to Nadd. The dispatch never arrived .Next morning there was a huge dawn concentration of British military on Nadd and convoys of troops from Kanturk, Ballincollig, Fermoy, Buttevant and Tralee encircled the mountain. General Liam Lynch and his staff got through the one gap in the khaki ring, but Volunteers Kiely, Herlihy and Twomey of the Kanturk Battalion were surprised asleep in Herlihy's house with Joe Morgan, Lieut. Ned Waters and Volunteer John Moloney of the Mallow Battalion. As they were being lined up in their stockinged feet to be executed at the reare of the cottage, Morgan and Moloney made a daring break for liberty. Both were wounded, but succeeded in escaping into the mist. Both are still alive. The others were shot where they stood. Shiels was at Nadd that morning with the British. He was in Black and Tan uniform and was recognised and saluted by Tom Bride of Nadd, the proprietor of the pub there. He disappeared and was never traced. Hundreds of photographs of him were circulated by the I.R.A. to England and America but he was not found. He is believed dead

 

IRA Witness Statement About this time (late February) our column was joined in Kilcorney area by members of the Kanturk battalion column. One member of this column was an exBritish soldier named Shiels. When the column had been with us for some days, during which we took up abortive ambush positions on a couple of occasions, some members of our column got suspicious of Shiels as he was continually asking questions regarding the whereabouts of Liam Lynch. I also remember that on one occasion Shiels wanted to go into Millstreet on a fair day, but our column leader (Jeremiah Crowley) would not allow him to go The suspicions regarding Shiels were discussed with Denis Lyons (0/C, Kanturk Battalion), but he assured our leader that Shiels was O.K. The Kanturk column returned to their home area in the early days of March 1921.

 

IRA Witness Statement The presence of Shiels with the enemy forces at Nadd led to an investigation which revealed that he had been seen to enter the R.I.C .barracks at Kanturk on the evening of March 9th 1921. Information to this effect was sent in a despatch by the I.0. (Michael Moore) at Kanturk to Battalion H.Q. ,but it was never conveyed to Brigade H.Q. If this information had been conveyed to Brigade H.Q., the enemy raid would not have resulted as it did, in the death of three men (Michael Kiely, Ned Waters, Tom Herlihy) and the wounding of two others (JoeMorgan,J ack "Congo" Moloney). I should have mentioned that Shiels was identified as one of the enemy party by Tom Bride a publican at Nadd whose home was visited by the raiders. The establishment of the fact that Shiels was in contact with the enemy led to a further investigation of the incidents at Mourne Abbey on February 15th, 1921. It then transpired that the 0/C Kanturk Battalion Column (Denis Lyons) had informed Shiels, in company with the other members of his column, on Sunday evening, 13th February,1921 ,that the operation planned for Mourne Abbey on February 15th was to take place. Having regard to the evidence of his association with the enemy forces at Nadd, it is naturally to be assumed that he was the individual who conveyed the information to the enemy