Tom Toomey, author of the War of Independence in Limerick, gave a lecture to the society with special reference to local involvement in the war of independence.
Firstly, he referred to David Burke who participated with the Plunkett family and raised the flag on the G.P.O.for the Easter Rising. Tom outlined David’s role in other events and his internment and agreed with Dan Breen’s assertion that he was a man one could depend on.
Tom referred to the death of William Hartnett, an innocent civilian who was killed when fired on by the Crown Forces near Emly village. William was a native of West Limerick and was working in the Emly area.
On the 20th December 1920 John Hynan, an ex.British soldier was shot dead outside the house of Mrs Power in Emly village by a Black and Tan. John was unarmed at the time.
William Slattery was arrested at his uncle’s farm at Lisoboyhane, Emly. He was taken to Emly R.I.C. Barracks where he was badly beaten and then taken to Tipperary. He was shot dead at Roseboro December 20th 1920.His brutal treatment caused much resentment among the I.R.A. and lives on in the folk memory of the local people.
John Jassie O Meara,from Ballyhone, Emly was shot dead on the outskirts of Emly on June 21st 1921. He had only recently been released after serving six months for carrying despatches. He was an active member of the Emly Company of the 2nd East Limerick Battalion and he continued his activities when he was released from prison. He was spotted crossing a field by two Black and Tans who had been in Lonergan’s public house. They emerged and opened fire. O’Meara was killed and another man Christy Fitzgerald was wounded.
Tom Toomey also spoke of the Dromkeen Ambush on February 3rd 1921. This was planned by the flying columns of the East and Mid –Limerick brigades. Eleven were killed, three were members of the old R.I.C. and eight were Black and Tans. The I.R.A. suffered no casualties. One of the main participants was Maurice Meade. Two of the R.I.C. who had surrendered were executed by Meade on the order of Commandant Donncha O’ Hannigan.
Maurice Meade had a very colourful career. He wore four different uniforms. He joined the British Army in 1911 and was captured by the Germans in 1915. He became a member of Casement’s Brigade and then fought with the German Army against the British in the Middle East. On returning to Ireland in 1919 he joined the East Limerick Brigade of the I.R.A. During the Truce he joined the National Army and retired from active service in 1924. Maurice lived in Emly until he died in 1971.
Tom Toomey spoke in great detail about the happenings in Lackelly in 1921 when a unit of the East Limerick flying column were surprised by British soldiers and four members of the I.R.A., William Riordan, Thomas Howard, John Frahill and Patrick Ryan were killed.
Tom spoke about the general unrest in the Emly area and also exchanged views with a large audience including relatives of some of the participants who were present on the night.