John Sheehan

John Sheehan's murder is a difficult one to understand. His father had gone to USA a few months after his birth, then disappeared. He was brought up by his mother and an aunt in Kanturk. He was abducted by the IRA on 22 Feb 1921, believed to have been shot 5th March 1921 and his decomposed body discovered on 21 Mar 1921. His body had a sign "Spies, Traitors, Informers associate with the Military , Police and Black & Tans in Kanturk , you will be listed. Beware. IRA" . The date of death appears to be approximate, in that it was given by a MGC Lieutenant who considered the body had been dead for 16 days. So it is unclear exactly how long the IRA held him before executing him

Sheehan clearly knew he was in trouble with IRA in that he told his mother when there was the knock on the door "Don't open it, it's the Sinn Feinners come for me"

Little is gleaned from IRA Witness Statements "During March 1921 a spy was found guilty of giving information to the enemy and was executed by members of the Kanturk Battalion"

And the MGC Lieutenant said that he recognised Sheehan as a bad character, who never gave the Army any information, and even if he had, the lieutenant would not have placed any credence on it.


1872 Jul 12 . His father born Kanturk

 1873 Jul 9. His mother born Kanturk

1894 Jun 26 His parents married in Kanturk



1895 Born (from Inquiry)



1895 Aug 24 His father Florence arrives in USA. And that is the last I can find on him. He just disappears in USA


1901 census at Lower Greenane near Kanturk


1911 Census John Sheehan his mother Kate Sheehan and unmarried aunt Bridget Callaghan at Lower Greenane near Kanturk.


1921 Mar 5. Shot Cork. On 21st March 1921 the body of John Sheehan from Greenane, County Cork was found in a field near Kanturk County Cork. He had been missing for a month, he had been shot through the head. He had been taken from his home by armed men on the 22nd February.

Death Cert not available online


IRA Witness Statement


British Inquiry



Shot by IRA as British spies