Rev John Finlay

John Finlay (27 June 1842 – 11 June 1921) was Dean of Leighlin from 1895 until 1912.

Finlay was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and ordained in 1867. He was curate of Clonenagh from 1877 to 1873, rector of Lorum from 1873 to 1890, and subsequently rector of Carlow for 22 years, chaplain to the Lord-Lieutenant and a member of the Church Representative Body

He was murdered by the IRA on June 12, 1921. There is a memorial to him at St Peter, Templeport

John Finlay was clearly murdered, and the medical evidence at the inquest states tht he was hit on his head by a blunt instrument "with considerable force". It seems unlikely tht the blow was accidental. There were no witnesses among the inhabitants of the house. His home had been targeted for burning by the IRA and tha large IRA force turned up with that objective. 2 ADRIC officers had looked at the house with the thought of using it for Crown Forces (this is stated in British notes on the Inquest), it is probable therefore that they were recceing the house as a possible ADRIC base - the IRA wished to remove that possibility by burning the house. Interestingly there is no mention of this incident in Witness Statements

Hansard A House of Lords statement in May 1922 said "About 2 a.m. on the morning of June 12, 1921, 80 year old, Dean Finlay, one time Dean of Leighlin, Co. Carlow, was murdered, in front of his elderly wife, on the lawn outside his house. More than one witness stated at the Military inquiry that about forty men broke into the house, which they set on fire. Afterwards, the Dean was found on the lawn. He was dead. A few days later nine men were arrested on suspicion and were identified by different witnesses as strangers who had been present on that occasion, and some of them were stated to have carried short iron bars, with which Dean Finlay might have been struck down. No witness came forward who was able to say that he saw the blow delivered. These nine men were in custody awaiting trial at the time of the General Amnesty which followed the signing of the Treaty. They were never brought to trial, and were released from custody in pursuance of the Amnesty extended to persons convicted of, or suspected of having committed, offences from political motives in Ireland. No person has since been brought to justice by the Irish Provisional Government for the murder."


1921 Oct 24. Compensation claim


1928 Jul. His widow Isabella died


Shot by IRA as Spies