John Reilly

A curious case, and his family were awarded £1200 compensation as an agreed British Liability. He does not appear to be a local man (from IRA Witness Statement) and he somehow was suspected by the IRA of being involved in the Loughnane murders by the Auxiliaries in Galway ( their farm was about 20km from Newmarket on Fergus). I could not link Reilly to the Loughnanes in the 1911 census, but Reilly may have been in the British Army then

It is curious in that none of the Witness Statements indicate any direct knowledge of what Reilly did wrong, and in fact tend to show that they thought him innocent. But the trail was outside their knowledge, and execution orders appear to have come from above, complete with the wording for the spy notice and the order to procure a priest.

Reilly certainly had served in WW1, and his widow told the inquest that he had served in Boer War (the name is too common to find in that war). His WW1 pension card shows that he was discharged for "aggravated mental instability".

So what was a Labourer who was believed by the IRA to have been involved with the arrest of the Loughnane brothers on 20 Nov 1920, doing living 20km away when he was murdered on 21 April 1921

Curious and I do not have enough to even propose a logical solution. Reilly certainly was not a local man, and was condemned by someone higher up the IRA than the local Clare people. I can only suspect that the information on his involvement with the Loughnane murders came from an IRA informer within the Crown Forces, and that the IRA wished to protect them. It would appear though that Reilly had been living in Newmarket since May 1919 at least (from his pension card) and it seems unlikely that the British would employ a man with mental instability as a spy


1881 Born but I cannot get his past

It was stated at his inquest that he served in Boer War.

I cannot get him in English nor Irish censuses for 1901 and 1910

1915 Nov 10. Enlisted in British Army


1919 May 17. Discharged from the British Army - "aggravated mental instability


1921 Apr 21. Shot in Co. Clare


IRA Witness Statement


IRA Witness Statement


IRA Witness Statement


IRA Witness Statement


British Inquiry



Shot by IRA as British spies