Weekly Series on Centenary of Events of 1919 - 1921.
Compiling the web's most definitive timeline of years the 131 weeks during the Irish War of Independence with daily updates @ https://twitter.com/131Weeks
Peace was signed to-day at Versailles after 5 years 238 days of war.
The German delegates have arrived at Versailles, and at 3 o'clock M. Clemenceau opened the solemn ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors.
The Big Four have taken steps to secure the ratification of the Peace Treaty by the National Assembly of Germany at the earliest possible moment.
Ratification will also be Sought by the Bavarian and Prussian Parliaments. There is a strange coincidence emphasised by to-day's great event—
JUNE 28, 1914. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
JUNE 28, 1919 – Signing of Treaty in Versailles
Versailles. The Council of Four, says the " Excelsior," have decided to direct the Dutch Government's attention to the matter, and to ask it to keep a closer watch over the ex-Kaiser, telegrams confirm the discovery of a plot to overthrow the Government. Communists, who captured Hamburg, were to give the signal for a general rising and railway strike. The strike has begun in Berlin.
District-Inspector Hunt, R.I.C., was shot dead: on the Square, Thurles, on Monday evening.
At the time a big crowd was returning from Thurles races, the Inspectors in uniform amongst them. The daring act was committed by undisguised men armed with revolvers, who immediately after disappeared in the crowd and no arrests were made.
Rev M. K. Ryan attended the dying man and administered the last rites. During the day a party of armed military attended the races, apparently in charge of District Inspector Hunt, but there was no interference with the sport. Another account of the tragedy states that the inspector was shot at the top of Main street, close to the Square, and that there was a very large crowd in the vicinity at the time.
Opinions differs as to whether two or three shots were fired, but at all events two, which are stated to have been fired from behind, took effect, one in the right shoulder, and the other in the region under the left lung. The injured man, who bled profusely, died about 20 minutes later, and the body was removed to a house in the vicinity occupied by a Mrs Scully, and later the police had it taken to the deceased's house.
Extra police drafted in for duty at the races were detained in the town, and a further draft arrived between 9 and 10 o'clock. Accompanied by armed military, they are on duty in the streets. The public houses were closed by order of the police, and people found on the premises were turned out. The affair created a great sensation in the town, which was thronged with racegoers. Up to a comparatively late hour no arrests had been made. The deceased leaves a wife and five children.
A Dublin gentleman who attended the Thurles races informed a Dublin Press representative on Monday night that the occurrence took place in the street leading to the town from the racecourse and about 50 or a 100 yards. ''I was three or four hundred yards away," he said, " and one of the big crowds which was returning from the course to the town. It was then between 5.20 and 5.40 p.m, when I heard two shots fired in rapid succession, The crowd, three or four hundred yards in front, broke up, most of them turning back, and there was a scene of great excitement and confusion, which lasted for some minutes. A rumour went around that the police were going to charge with batons, and that the military were called out. Everybody at once ran for safety, many going back again to the course, and more went around to the railway station, and waited there for over an hour until the train left.
The road was very dusty and a cloud of dust from the trampling of the crowd made it difficult to see far ahead. "I did not see the inspector until a few minutes afterwards, when some of the crowd re-gathered. He was in uniform and was lying on the ground, and four or five policemen armed with carbines came along, and other policemen lifted up the wounded (or dead) man and carried him to the Square to the opposite side from the street where the shooting took plane.
"I believe the two shots were revolver shots, but I am no judge of the sound of fire-arms. The wounded man was lying in the middle of the street when I saw the police lifting him up. I did not see him shot — I could not see him in fact even I were looking in that particular direction, as there was quite a crowd and a lot of dust.
"A theory as to how it happened is, that he was in the middle of the road or street regulating the traffic, and that his assailant or assailants came close up behind him and fired at point-blank range, and probably without raising the weapon or weapons very high. Then, when the shots went off, the crowd at once broke up, and the assailant or assailants escaped in the rush and excitement that immediately followed."
District-Inspector Michael Hunt was a native of Co Sligo. He joined the R.I.C. as a constable in 1893. was promoted sergeant in 1901, head-constable in 1907, and district inspector in 1911. He served in King's Co, Longford, and Tipperary S.R,, was in charge of the Dingle district until March, 1915, and had since been stationed at Thurles. He represented the Crown at the inquest on the policemen shot at Knocklong.
The District Inspector was very active in the suppression of prohibited gatherings. Sunday week, at an aeridheacht in Upperchurch he ordered the removal of a tricolour flag floating from the platform.
The promoters of the aeridheacht disregarded the order, and the District Inspector gave instructions to-the police to tear it down. A sergeant did so amid much excitement. On the previous Sunday, at Milestone, some 13 miles from Thurles, where another aeridheacht was being held, Mr Hunt was in charge of a force of military and police, and arriving during the course of a speech by Mr Burke, M.P, warned him that if he made use of any seditious language they would be obliged to disperse the gathering. Mr Burke ignored the warning, declaring that he would take full responsibility for his words. The speaker then proceeded to refer to the Irish Volunteers, when the District Inspector advanced towards the platform, which was instantly surrounded by soldiers with fixed bayonets. Those on the platform, including the speakers, were forced off and searched, amid a scene of much excitement. A conflict seemed inevitable, were it not that the Rev Father O'Donoghue, C.C, moved among the crowd, and, with the promoters of the aeridheacht. succeeded in getting the people to disperse quietly.
The inquest was opened in the Courthouse in the afternoon by Dr Thomas Fennelly, Coroner for Mid-Tipperary. County Inspector Mulliner, Nenagh, and District Inspector Wilson, Templemore, represented the police. Mr A. H. Morgan, solicitor, appeared for the widow and family. Deputy Inspector-General Flower was present during the investigation. There was a noticeable absence of members of the general-public. The remains were identified by District Inspector Wilson, who said that he knew the deceased for the last four years. Sergeant Crean, R.I.C, Kilboy, Nenagh, stated that he was on duty at Thurles racecourse the previous day. When the races had terminated he left for the town, accompanied by a number of other police. They reached Thurles at about 5.30 p.m. When we entered the Square," he said, "District Inspector Hunt was walking between 15 and 20 yards behind me. There was a large crowd on the street, and it was difficult to move through them. Coming into the Square, Mr Hunt was walking on the roadway.
I heard three shots fired in quick succession I immediately turned back and saw the deceased lying on the ground. Other police came to my assistance. The deceased was lying, face downwards, and when the shots were fired the crowd scattered in all directions. The District Inspector was wearing an overcoat, which witness produced, and which showed two small holes at the back near the shoulders. Dr Barry came in a few minutes to attend to the deceased and a clergyman whose name he did not know. The body was taken into a house convenient, and subsequently to his own residence. During the time the District Inspector was lying on the roadway a considerable crowd collected about. They were jeering and laughing, and did not assist. Dr Thomas Bavry stated that he knew the District Inspector for about four years. About 5.30 last evening witness was in his own house and heard the report of shots probably three. Some member of his family was at the window and shouted ‘Mr Hunt is shot!" He went out and saw the D.I. being helped on to the footpath by three or four police. He was then in a dying state, and died within a couple of minutes. He breathed after witness saw him, but did not speak. In conjunction with Dr Callanan he made a post-mortem examination on the body.
On external examination he found two holes piercing his clothes at the back between the shoulders. On the back itself there were two circular wounds about half an inch in diameter; one slightly half an inch to the left of the middle line of the body.
The second wound was at the angle of the left shoulder blade. There was no other external wound or appearance of violence. There was some singeing on the edge of the holes on the outer coat. From the general external appearance, he came to the conclusion that the wounds were caused by bullets fired at close range.
The internal examination disclosed that the deceased was a middle-aged man in good health. The bullet nearer the spine lodged in the eighth dorsal vertebrae, and he removed it from there. This wound was not, in his opinion the direct cause of death. The wound, which he described as entering at the lower angle of the left shoulder blade, perforated and shattered in succession the shoulder blade, the eighth rib, the apex of the lower lube of the left lung, the gullet, the two largest blood vessels in the body, the lower lube of the right lung, and the fourth rib in front at its junction with the breast bone. The bullet was found lying under the skin in front.
This wound ran from left to right in a horizontal plane. In witness's opinion this was the direct and immediate cause of death, resulting as it did in internal haemorrhage. The bullets extracted had been handed to District-inspector Wilson. Dr Callanan corroborated, and added that they found a large quantity of blood in both cavities in fluid and in clots.
District-Inspector Hunt was a strong, healthy man. This concluded the evidence, and the Coroner asked was there any evidence to show who caused the wounds. District-inspector Wilson said they were only inquiring into the cause of death. The deceased was on duty at the races all that day and was walking home through the open street about 5.30 in the evening.
He was unaccompanied and was walking quietly and inoffensively through the streets. There was no commotion or altercation, and he was sure the jury was satisfied that his death resulted from these two bullet wounds discharged from a revolver. There was only one verdict they could give- and that was one of wilful murder. After a brief deliberation, the foreman of the jury, Mr Joshua Johnson, announced that they had found a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony- and that the bullet wounds were inflicted by some person or persons unknown. District-inspector Wilson asked would the jury say that it was wilful murder.
The Foreman said they were not unanimous on that point. District-inspector: I don't know what hesitation they could have, because the evidence was very clear and very plain. He was hit from behind, where he could not see his assailants, and if that is not wilful murder I don't know what is. It was either wilful or accidental, and, I am sure, none of the jury will say it was accidental.
After another brief interval, the Foreman said the jury were now satisfied to return o verdict of wilful murder, A vote of condolence was also passed with the relatives of deceased.
(Reuter's Telegram). New York, Monday. Mr. De Valera reached the Hotel Waldorf Astoria this evening, this being his first, public appearance in America. Several hundred people waving flags of the Irish Republic greeted the Sinn Fein leader.
De Valera read a statement outlining the aspirations of Ireland, and said he did not purpose running a campaign in the United States in favour of the Irish cause, but he might go to Washington and other places. He acknowledged that Ireland sought the aid of America, saying: "It is to seek that aid that I am here, and I am confident that I shall not be disappointed. I come here entitled to speak for the Irish nation with an authority democratically as sound and well-based as that with which President Wilson speaks for the U.S., Mr. Lloyd George for England, or M. Clemenceu for France.
The "Sunday Chronicle" publishes a special article by Sir Edward Carson on the present agitation in America on behalf of Ireland , in the course of which he says—I am fully alive to the use which is being made by those who are hostile to this country of the present position of the Irish question to create and foster animosity in the present, difficult circumstances.
I get a number of letters every mail, not only from America but also from Switzerland, pointing out to me the poisonous propaganda which is pursued by them in America and on the Continent, taking as their text the treatment, or the alleged treatment, of Ireland by lie Government of the United Kingdom.
That a vast sum of money is being spent for this purpose is beyond all doubt. Only yesterday I received from New York a copy of a full-page advertisement in the "New York Times" contrasting the Declaration of Independence of America and de Valera’s "Declaration of Independence" in Ireland, and asking for contributions to aid and assist in establishing the Irish Republic. One asks himself naturally, where does all this money come from ? :
I don't myself, for a moment, believe that it is a purely Irish movement. It suits all those who are the enemies of this country to make this question a peg to hang their campaign of hostility upon with a view to weakening the position we have obtained owing to the part we played in the great war.
I have no doubt part of the resources came from Germany and other Continental nations, as well as the contributions which are given in the United States.
It is evident that the Irish question is being dragged into the home politics of the United States, and the resolution passed by the Senate a short time ago demonstrates, I think, the insincerity of the whole campaign.
Mr. Lodge is anxious to whip President Wilson with any material at hand, and he therefore, for the moment, poses as the friend of an Irish Republic, although he knows well that the Irish in America have always, or nearly always, been on the side of the Democrats.
One might very well treat this internal political movement in America with silent, amusement were it not for the serious condition of affairs in Ireland.
At the present moment, for the firsi time since 1906, an attempt is being made by Lord French and Mr. Macpherson to restore something like government in that country, and at the same time to accompany it with a policy of reconstruction and a redress of grievances, which is just as necessary in that country after the war as in any other parts of the United Kingdom.
It is therefore, most unfortunate that for their own political reasons prominent and responsible men in the United States should interfere in our domestic matters at a time when the Irish Executive is doing everything in their power to rebuild much that has been demolished during the past few years.
The recent mission of Americans in Ireland was all part of the same campaign. I had knowledge before they came that there was an organisation upon a considerable scale in America. To try by their emissaries to stir up ill-will in Ireland, and at the same time to make that ill-will felt upon the Continent.
Numerous retainers have been given, as I am informed, to clever American counsel to advocate the cause, of the Irish Republic. The report made by this commission, as has just been shown by the answer of the Irish Government, is a tissue of falsehood and misrepresentation from beginning to end.
Indeed, the whole case of Ireland -and its government- has been allowed to go by default from beginning-to end, and the American people are naturally fed up with the one side of the question, not differing very much in its veracity from the report I have referred to, and I have no doubt that many honest men there really believe that they see a true picture.
It is, in my opinion, a great pity that the British Government, who have been straining for years for a better feeling between the United States and 'this country, have never taken the slightest trouble to put the true facts before the American nation. Does America know what the government of this country is, and does she know the full meaning of the alternative secession and deposition of 'our King? Ireland holds no subordinate place, in the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact she is represented by double the number of members that any other part of the United Kingdom elects. In other words, every voter in Ireland has two votes for every one that an Englishman or a Scotsman possesses.
I see it suggested by influential authorities that Ireland may become a Dominion. That I believe to be impossible. Those of us who have fought for the Union have always said that there was no 'halfway house. It must be cither full equality with Englishmen and Scotsmen or absolute separation, and events are proving-that we were right.
Personally, I resent the interference of American politicians in the controversies upon this question. It is no business of theirs, and their meddlesome, action, even if it was well-intended and sincere, can only add to the turmoil and ferment in our own country.
Americans would resent, the interference in any of her affairs. I would myself call it "international affrontery," and I should 'be sorry to lend myself to any action of the kind. And I am sure that upon consideration all those who are not dominated by hostility to this country will agree that we can each best progress on the road of friendship by leaving the domestic, affairs of the other alone.
We might, at least, have Monroe Doctrine in domestic affairs, where we so willingly conceded it to America in international ones.
I only desire to add one word about Ulster. Ulster is now stronger than ever she was in the Imperial Parliament, and Ulster's one aim and one motive is a closer union. She appeals to Great Britain not to allow her to be left behind in the policy of reconstruction.
At the recent elections Belfast alone returned nine out of ten members all pledged to close co-operation with the democracy of Great Britain. She feels that during the war she has given of her best and has been willing to strain every nerve to bring about the victory which we are all now celebrating.
Her part is to go on hand in hand with her fellow-citizens in the United Kingdom, believing that in that course she will gain strength and power to fulfill her destinies and to pursue the path of peace and progress.