Nicholas Leonard



Present at Gresham Hotel murders

IRA men present in this group of 12 to 14 men according to the IRA, include, from a list by James Foley who became Coy Capt when Moran was executed. They all came from the same IRA company, D Company, 2nd Battalion, of which Moran was the Captain, and they did not have a Squad man with them.:-

James Cahill, A.S.U.-W.S.503 .
D.Company was given the task of dealing with three Intelligence Officers who were residing in the Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street. Three groups, consisting of three men each, were detailed to carry out the shooting. The remainder of our party were given the tasks of controlling members of the hotel staff and residents, covering the exits and preventing communication with the outside during the operation.
Paddy McGRATH, Company O.C. and I were the last to leave the meeting place. At the door, Paddy made a last appeal to Dick McKee to permit him to go on the operation.Dick refused to give permission, as one of Paddy's sons [Richard McGrath] was detailed for the Gresham, and he considered that sufficient for one family
Next morning I met the Company Commander, PADDY MORAN, opposite the Gresham Hotel.We crossed the street together and entered the hotel at exactly nine o,clock. As we passed in, a newsboy called me by my name, asking if I required a paper. A second newsboy, seeing our men converge on the hotel, called to the first, ( Theres a job on. Best clear out of this.) We let them go, as we confident that they would not give the alarm. It was unpleasant for me to realise that an outsider knew of my connection with the operation, particularly as I was residing but a short distance from the hotel.
The three groups having assembled in the vestibule, each was dispatched by the Company O.C. to its respective destination, the group of which Iwas a member , moving off first.As we not conversant with the layout of the hotel, I ordered the head porter to guide us to McCormacks room.Whilst proceeding along the corridor, I observed a man of foreign appearance come to a bedroom door. I had a hunch that he might be one of the other two Intelligence Officers and would, if we continued on our way, take alarm, barricade himself in his room, and endeavour to call for assistance.I covered him with my gun, and asked him for his name.He promptly replied, Alan Wilde, British Intelligence Officer, just back from Spain. At that moment, Mick kilkelly, whose group had been detailed to deal with Wilde, came on the scene and fired, killing him instantly. The fact that Wilde was a new arrival and probably mistook us for a British raiding party would explain his readiness to give us information regarding himself.
As I moved away, I saw through a window a lorry of British Soldiers patrolling slowly along O,Connell Street.We found McCormacks bedroom door closed but unlocked. Nick Leonard and I entered the room and moved towards McCormack, who was partially sitting up in bed. He fired, the bullet passing between Nick and myself burying itself in a door jamb. We fired almost in the same instant, killing him outright.Nick took possession of McCormacks pistol, a .38 automatic. The possession of a gun in that period and his readiness to use it, completely refutes statements which have been made from time to time that he was not a British Agent, and that our Intelligence erred in including him amongst those to be executed.
The third Intelligence Officer had not slept in the Gresham the previous night, and so escaped the purge.
As we emerged fro the hotel there was no enemy in view, and the usual Sunday morning calm prevailed in O,Connell Street.- UN-QUOTE



IRA men