September 24—Newspaper offices and houses at Galway City bombed
and wrecked by police.
September 24—Ballinamore, County Leitrim, shot up by police.
September 25—Several houses at Athlone, County Westmeath,
September 25—Houses wrecked at Killorglin, County Kerry, by police.
September 27—Trim, County Meath, sacked by police.
ARSON RAMPANT IN CORK
The Witness: The separate fires which took place in Cork before
the big fire to which I referred, I have a list of them here, which
may be of interest,—premises wholly or partially burned in previous
incendiary fires, in which the damage estimated was well over one
million pounds, and that is in addition to the big fire in Cork.
These fires occurred on separate nights, as I have explained to you.
Q. Mr. Doyle: Are they all in the City of Cork? A. Yes.
Messrs. Dwyer & Co., Ltd., Washington Street, which is one of the
largest wholesale warehouses in Cork, a very determined effort
was made to burn that, but the effort was unsuccessful, owing to
the sprinkler arrangement which the firm had installed. The sprink-
ler arrangement saved the premises. Not only were petrol tins
found on the premises, but bales of woolen and cotton goods were
found stretched along the corridors and on the stairs, saturated with
petrol. Messrs. Forrest, Patrick Street, was burned out. Messrs.
Cahill & Co., Blackthorn House, and American Shoe Company,—
these three houses were in a row at the corner or intersection of
Patrick Stfeet by one of the side streets. Just as in regard to the
City Hall and the Sinn Fein Clubs, in the case of the Blackthorn
House three or four previous raids had been made, and the place
smashed’ and looted before this final and successful effort to burn
Q. Chairman Wood: This is not the large conflagration you are
speaking of? A. No, prior conflagrations which occurred night
after night before the large fire.
Q. By whom was this list compiled, to your knowledge? I am
referring to this list you have put in of the 90 Irish towns ravaged
in 12 months. A. That is issued as the Irish Bulletin. It is an
official publication of the government in Ireland, the Republican
Government. The facts, of course, have all appeared in the daily
press all over the country.
Q. They have all appeared in the public press? A. Yes. They
are taken from the public press.
Q. Commissioner Thomas: Has there ever been a denial by Sir
Hamar Greenwood as to the accuracy of any such lists? A. Yes,
in the same way in which the burning of Cork was denied, not that
it was denied the burning took place, but the effort being made to
deny that it was done by the Crown forces, while the circumstances
make it clear that it would be absolutely impossible for it to have
been done by any others. (Continues reading) :
O’Gorman’s, MacCurtain Street; Dalton’s Restaurant; The Royal
Liver Assce. Society; two houses on North Main Street; former Sinn
Fein headquarters, 56 Grand Parade; Pipers Club, Hardwicks St.;
the Sinn Fein Rooms, N. E. Ward; Sinn Fein Rooms, Shandon
Street; one house on St. Augustine Street; Recreation Hall, Doug-
las; St. Michael’s Hall, Blackrock. Both of these last places are in
the suburbs of Cork. The Irish Transport and General Workers’
Union. That was a most determined effort, the attempt on Labor
headquarters. The fire was started at first early in the night, shortly
Q. What time is the curfew? A. At 10 o’clock, the law being
from 10 o’clock until 3, and of course in the period from 10 until
8 or 9 in the morning no citizen may be out of doors without run-
ning a risk. During that time the city is patrolled by military lor-
ries and by military and police patrols on foot. In that particular
case, the fire having been started quite early in the night, the fire
brigade was notified and repaired to the scene and extinguished the
fire. On their way back there was considerable firing; a number of
shots were fired at them, with the result that when an hour or so
later they were notified the fire had been started again, they were
unable to proceed to the scene until after seven in the morning, and
when they got there the fire had made such headway that they were
unable to extinguish it, and the premises were destroyed. Then the
Thomas Ashe .Sinrr Fein Club, Father Matthew Quay; the City Hall,
—the City Hall having been attacked on three previous occasions.
BRITISH GOVERNMENT IGNORES CITY’S PLEAS
That covers the situation up to the Saturday night on which the
commercial heart of Cork was burned out. While these isolated
fires, a list of which I have just read, were taking place in Cork,
certain of the public bodies in Cork, notably the Cork Chamber of
Commerce, wired to the British officials calling their attention to
this state of incendiarism which was rampant in Cork.
Q. Chairman Wood: The British officials in London or Dublin
Castle? A. No, London, asking for protection. The same body
afterwards, as we shall see in the big fire, appealed for protection;
but the only result was in the fires being intensified and in the city
being burned down. The same body again wired to the British
officials asking for an impartial inquiry, which was refused.
Q. Mr. Doyle: Was that first request answered from London?
A. Not so far as I know or have seen. The following is a copy of
the telegram sent to the Chief Secretary for Ireland on the 29th of
"Chief Secretary for Ireland, Chief Secretary's Office, London,
S. W. : Council of Chamber desire to draw attention of Chief Secre-
tary to number of incendiary fires occurring in Cork, more especially
within the last few days, resulting in enormous destruction of prop-
erty, and request immediate steps for protection of citizens' property.
(Signed) "Danckeet, Honorable Secretary,
"Cork Chamber' of Commerce and Shipping."
Q. Commissioner Thomas: Is the Chamber of Commerce in
Cork a predominantly Republican body, or predominantly Union-
ist? A. It is pretty hard to say at the moment. It is essentially a
body which we do not measure by political afSliations. It is purely
a commercial body. It would be very largely Republican, of course.
All the large business men in Cork, the large drapery establish-
ments, for instance, and a number of Unionists, all belong to the
Chamber of Commerce. It is essentially a body which does not
deal with politics in any shape or form.
Q. Senator Walsh: Has there been a change in political senti-
ment among that class of men within the last two years? A. O,
yes, certainly. While of course I presume most of the Unionists are
still Unionists, there has been a considerable landslide in the direc-
tion of Republicanism among those who were not Republicans, say,
a year or two since.
Q. Senator Norris: That is a world-wide proceeding now, it
seems. A. Yes. That now, of course, is so.
NO PERSONAL COMPARISON WITH BELGIAN
Q. Mr. Doyle: Have you tried to compare the campaign of the
British authorities in Ireland with the campaign of the German
military authorities in Belgium? For instance, first, the destruction
of towns; second, the service of notice such as was served at Lou-
vain; third, the killing of priests and the taking of bishops as host-
ages; then the destruction of large cities, and so on? Have you
made that comparison, and have you prepared any data showing
how they did apparently follow the same line? A. No, sir, I have
not done anything of that kind. Of course, it seems to me, and I
think it is perfectly clear, that very few people now believe that all
the crimes and atrocities alleged, and news of which was dissemi-
nated during that period, did take place. That I think is pretty
universally doubted now.
Q. Chairman Wood: You have no personal method or special
opportunity of making this comparison, have you? A. No, sir.
THE BURNING OF CORK
Q. Let us get on to the burning of Cork, because I do not think
the other matter affects us very materially. A. Very well, sir. On
this particular night the fires in Cork started about a quarter to ten.
Curfew began at ten.
Q. What was the date of the month? A. The fires took place
on the 10th.
Q. On Saturday, the lOtK of December? A. Yes.
Q. Were you in Cork that night yourself? A. No. I was in
Cork that evening, but I left town that night. I was about two miles
outside of the town at the time of the fires. On this particular night,
while curfew usually began at ten o’clock, the rumor had spread
through the town early that there had been an attack of some kind
in the northeast ward of the city, in Dillon’s Cross direction. While
nothing was known definitely of the matter, shortly before that or
about nine o’clock military cars drove through the town very wildly
and recklessly and a number of shots were fired, with the result that,
while nobody was certain what had taken place, everybody imme-
diately went home. The streets were cleared quite early; they were
cleared practically at nine o’clock, or very, very shortly after nine
o’clock. The streets were deserted in a very short time so that to
all intents and purposes on that particular night curfew started an
hour earlier than usual. At about a quarter to ten, shortly before
ten, the first outbreak of fire was noticed in Patrick Street. That
was the premises of Alexander Grant & Company. They have a
very large warehouse, a general merchandise store. That fire raged
for some hours. Ultimately the particular block in which that
stood, that is the premises itself, was burned out; but the fire did
not spread to the adjoining buildings on either side. That particular
block was simply burned out clear.
Q. Senator Walsh: Did the fire department attempt to extin-
guish the flames? A. Yes, sir, the fire department were there, but
they were not able to prevent that destruction.
Later on, about eleven, between eleven and half past eleven, the
outbreaks took place all along Patrick Street. It first broke out in
the premises of Forrest. Forrest had already been partially de-
stroyed. The outbreak took place there first, but after a very short
time different local outbreaks were noticed all along the street, and
as a result when the fire brigade turned out they were practically
Q. Major Newman: Is Patrick Street the principal street of
Cork? A. Yes, the main business thoroughfare, the heart of the
city. The result was that when some hours had passed, the fire had
such a grip on all that side of the street that nothing could have
Q. Senator Walsh: Was the fire department still operating?
A. Yes, they were. The result, of course, of the fire was only seen
on the following day. It was then that it was discovered that twice
the greater portion, nearly all of the destruction, was on one side
of the street. A frontage of about a quarter of a mile was entirely
burned out, and beside that, the blocks running off of Patrick Street
were also laid waste. In fact, when you came to view the situation
for the first time after the fire, on the following day, Patrick Street
was really unrecognizable; you could not tell where the street was,
where the splendid buildings had been. There was simply a wilder-
ness of ruin and debris.
The houses burned out were in some cases shops, small ordinary
shops; but in very many cases they were large warehouses, the larg-
est houses in Cork, four or five of them. These were notably the
Munster Arcade, which was one of the largest warehouses in Cork,
and employing two or three hundred.
Q. Mr. Doyle: When you say warehouse, you mean, as we call
them here, department stores? A. Yes. Also Cash & Company,
which was similarly a large store,—grocery stores. There were at
least four such large stores, including the Grant’s, where roughly
200 or 250 employees, and in one or two cases about 300 employees
were engaged. In only one case in all that destruction along all that
frontage was there a front wall of a shop left standing. That was
in the case of Sumner, a chemist, in Patrick Street, where the front
wall stood, but all along the rest of the frontage everything had
been levelled, and there was not even a front wall standing. This
was all on one side of Patrick Street. That was also the case with
certain blocks running off from Patrick Street. Back from Cash’s
there was one block running from Cash’s to the Postoffice, and across
the road from Winthrop Street on the other side. There were two
blocks running from Patrick Street to Old Georges Street burned out.
BURNING OF CITY HALL AND LIBRARY
Apart from that, which was the main fire, away across the river,
about a distance of a quarter of a mile, and at the other side of the
river, the City Hall, which was the site, of course, of the local city
government, the municipal buildings, the free library, and so on,
were burned out. An effort was made by the Chief Secretary for
Ireland to say that that was a part of the same fire, and that those
premises had simply taken fire from the large fire in Patrick Street.
It is quite clear how obviously ridiculous that is, and how typical
of the truth of the government’s statements with regard to Ireland,
when the fact is remembered that the City Hall, the municipal build-
ings and the free library were fully a distance of a quarter of a
mile and were at the other side of the river. Not only would the
fire have had to pass through all the intervening buildings and
streets in that quarter of a mile, but it would also have blown
across the River Lee.
Q. Chairman Wood: Was there a wind blowing at the time of
the fire? A. There was, sir, but not very much, fortunately. That
night it was very calm.
Q. That accounts, perhaps, for the other side of Patrick Street
not being burned? A. It certainly does, and it also accounts for
the two ends of the city which were burned. Had the night been
wild, the street would have been completely wiped out between the
two corners which remain.
Q. Major Newman: Do you know whether the City Hall and
the municipal buildings on the other side of the river burned simul-
taneously with the fire in Patrick Street? A. No, sir, they were
rather later. The City Hall fire was first noticed about three o’clock
in the morning, and it burned steadily from then until six. The
clock on the City Hall tolled until a quarter to six. About five
minutes before a quarter to six the clock fell, and shortly after-
wards the fire had reached the stage where it smoldered. By that
time the place had nearly been burned out. The clock stood until
practically the whole building had been burned out.
ONLY MILITARY AND POLICE ON THE STREETS
Q. During all this time, of course, the people did not come out?
A. O, no.
Q. The streets were clear? A. Yes.
Q. Were there any military forces out, so far as you know? A.
There were. The ordinary military forces were out, and they, with
the police, were on the streets.
Q. Commissioner Thomas: It is usual when there are military
in a town for the military to turn to and help the fire brigade. Was
that done in Cork? A. Not so far as helping in the ordinary sense
is concerned. It was to this extent, that, I think, during the night,
and I know during the following day, they formed a cordon around
FIRE BRIGADE FIRED UPON
Q. Was there any interference with the fire brigade there in Pat-
rick Street, at the Patrick Street fire or at the City Hall fire? A.
Yes, the fire brigade allege that they were fired upon that night.
I thought that I had with me a deposition bearing on that, but un-
fortunately I find I have not. They also told me that the hose was
cut in one case, while dealing with the first outbreak in Grant’s.
While I know that they have told me that, unfortunately I find I
have not got those depositions with me, as I thought I had.
Q. Is there any evidence that the high military command in Cork
exercised any of the usual precautions which might be exercised in
such an emergency, in, order to assist in the fighting of the fire?
A. I do not know of anything. I have not heard or seen any-
thing. I do not think so.
FIRE LOSSES FOUR MILLION POUNDS
The actual losses represented by the fires on that night have been
estimated at somewhere in the region of two and a half or three
millions. As I explained a while ago, the damages caused by the
previous isolated fires would be over a million.
Q. Mr. Doyle: You refer to pounds, not dollars? A. To
Q. In other words, say, £3,000,000? A. The total loss was four
millions, including this fire and the isolated fires—roughly
GREAT USEFULNESS OF CITY HALL AND
LIBRARY TO PEOPLE OF CORK
Q. Mr. Lord Mayor, I was going to suggest that before you go
on, if you could, to describe a little more in detail for the benefit
of the Commission about your City Hall, as to what kind of a
building it was, and whether or not it was surrounded by a park?
A. The City Hall proper was a large meeting or concert hall, the
largest hall in Cork. It provided seating accommodations for about
2,000 people, between the body of the hall and the gallery. We
had in it an organ which had a reputation of its own in Cork. The
organ was first procured at the time of the Cork International Ex-
position in 1902, and subsequent to the exposition was installed in
the City Hall. All around the large vestibule through which one
passed into the City Hall proper were the municipal buildings; all
the offices of the municipal officials were there, the town clerk, the
city solicitors, the city engineers, the public health department, and
so on. All these departments had their offices in the front of the
building. In the front of the building also was the council chamber,
in which the Cork Corporation held its meeting, as well as a number
of committee rooms and rooms for the members of the Corporation,
and of course the Lord Mayor’s room.
Q. Senator Walsh: How old was this building? A. It was
about 50 years old.
Q. Stone or brick?' A. It was of stone.
Q. Chairman Wood: And a slate roof, was it? A. Yes, slate
roof. Then at the front of it, or just at the side, was the Carnegie
Free Library. It was certainly a very fine, ornamental building,
and naturally a very useful building to the city.
Q. Senator Walsh: Were the books all burned? A. Yes, sir,
they were reduced to ashes.
Q. Chairman Wood: How large a library was it? How many
books? A. There were something about 15,000 books.
Q. Mr. Doyle: Was it a collection of ancient books in the li-
brary, or a recent library? A. A recent library, but the library
has been there for quite a number of years, twenty or twenty-five
years,—the gift of Mr. Carnegie. The books, of course, were mixed
in the ordinary way in which the books in a public library would be.
Q. Did you have any ancient manuscripts? A. No, there was
nothing of historical value in that particular way.
CORK BURNED BY BRITISH CROWN FORCES
Q. Before you go on from there, I want to get this clearly and
definitely settled. I do not think it has been brought out yet. To
whom, definitely and specifically, do you charge the burning of
Cork upon? A. I was just getting to that. I charge definitely the
British Crown forces in Cork.
One of the unfortunate things about the burning of the City Hall
itself was that all of the city records were burned. That will create
a great deal of difficulty in the functioning of the different depart-
ments of the Corporation for some time to come. The records of
the rates and the water records and all the city records were of
PREMISES BURNED AND AMOUNT OF CLAIMS
One of the clearest and best ways in which to give you an idea,
to those who cannot visualize the city, and have not known the city,
would be, I think, to read a list of the premises burned and a list of
the claims which have been lodged officially with the Crown.
Q. Chairman Wood: I was going to ask about the ownership
of these various premises or blocks, and the religion of the owners
of these premises. Have you any record of that? Aside from the
fact that about 95 per cent of the population of Cork is probably
associated with Sinn Fein in some way politically, and a large ma-
jority Roman Catholics, I was wondering whether these larger es-
tablishments were owned by British capital,—for instance, like the
Mall, which I understand was a British capital enterprise. A. Yes.
While I have not any tabulated information with regard to them, I
know that in many cases the larger premises, these larger ware-
houses or stores, were not owned, so far as I know, to any great ex-
tent, by British capital, by English capital as such. They were
owned to a large extent by Unionists, and of course by Protestants
to a certain extent. The list that has been lodged in Cork with the
town clerk amounts roughly to $15,000,000. It runs as follows.
These amounts, of course, would be the amounts for which insur-
ance had been taken under the ordinary fire policies by the people
concerned, and they will not represent the figures, or anything like
the figures which would enable reconstruction to be made today.
For instance, the first item lodged is the Corporation, for the City
Hall, Carnegie Library and contents, £280,000. Certainly without
any particular technical knowledge of the matter, I feel quite certain
that £280,000 would not build the City Hall alone today, or near
it. I will give the amounts as they were lodged with the town
Corporation: City Hall and Carnegie Library and contents.. £280,000
The Munster Arcade,—that is the large department store to
which I have referred, Messrs. Robertson, Ledlie, & Fer-
guson, 27 to 30 Patrick St., 99-102 Old Georges St., and
3 Robert St....................................................... 405,000
The building referred to is one large store, simply taking in
the different streets, Patrick and Old Georges Streets.
Cork Furniture Stores, 22 Merchant St., a large . furniture
William Roche, IS Patrick St., and 21 Mayor St.................... 17,000
Messrs. Roche’s Stores (London House). Another large
warehouse or department store.................................. 112,000
T. Lyons & Co., 52, 53, 54 Patrick St............................ 120,000
Charles C. Harvey, premises Munster Arcade and 27-28 Pat-
rick St '............................................................. 31,158
Messrs. Cash & Co., 18-21 Patrick St., and 24-25 Maylor St.. 250,000
Cash’s is the second of the large warehouses.
Saxone Shoe Co., 24 Patrick St.................................... 30,000
Wm. Egan & Sons, Ltd............................................. 100,000
Lee Boot Mfg. Co., 16 Patrick St. and 21 Maylor St................ 19,000
Wm. Cashman & Co., Ltd., 4 Cook St................................ 30,000
Annie Nolan, premises 18, 19, 20, and 21 Patrick St............... 50,000
James Donovan, for premises 52, 53 and 54 Patrick St. (Grant
& Co.), and 51 Patrick St. (Samuel Haynes)...................... 37,000
A. M. Walker, premises 30 Patrick St. (Munster Arcade).. 20,000
James Ryan, 26 Maylor St. and 21, 22 Merchant St.................. 24,000
Ed. Woods, 3 Cook St ................................................ 6,000
Richard Sunner, 31 Patrick St..................................... 26,000
Messrs. Forrest and Sons, Patrick St., Cook St., and Elbow
Lane .............................................................. 95,000
J. T. O’Regan, 25-26 Patrick St...................................... 40,000
J. Tyler and Sons, 20 Winthrop St............................ 12,750
R. and J. McKechnie, Ltd., 25 Patrick St.......................... 21,000
Marcus Forester Harvey, 25, 26 Patrick St., 1-9 Robert St.,
103, 104 Georges St............................................. 10,000
Simon Spiro, 9 Bridge St. and 3 Patrick’s Quay.................... 3,675
W. Roche and Lee Boot Manufacturing Co., 16 Patrick St.
and 21 Maylor St................................................ 17,000
Lessees in Leases of Lee Cinema, Winthrop St...................... 10,000
Mary Perry, 1 and 2 Winthrop St................................... 10,000
Rev. F. H. Sandys and others, 26 Patrick St..................... 9,000
T. F. Carroll, 13 Patrick St. and 103 Georges St................ 11,000
Q. Chairman Wood: Mr. Lord Mayor, I think we gather from
that which you have read the type of the thing, and I do not believe
it is worth while to wear your voice out in reading it further. If
you will file it with us we will be very glad to have it for reference.
The total, as I understand it, comes to approximately £4,000,000.
A. In this particular case I judge it would run in the neighborhood
of £3,000,000. There had already been a million pounds damage
done in the previous fires.
Q. Commissioner Thomas: I understand that this £4,000,000,
including all the fires, does not represent the cost of duplicating the
property at the present time by a great ways? A. That is so.
ENGLISH INSURANCE COMPANIES REFUSE TO
PAY LOSSES TO REPUBLICANS
Q. Chairman Wood: In regard to the insurance, have you any
information as to .the insurance companies with whom these insur-
ance policies were placed, and whether there have been any objec-
tions made to paying these losses as the result of an act of God ot
the King's 'enemies, or those other little riders which sometimes ap-
pear in insurance policies? A. No, sir, I do not know what action
the insurance companies will take in these particular cases. I do
know that the insurance companies have for some time inserted in
all their policies a particular clause that the individual taking out
the policy must not belong to or be identified with any Republi-
can — I think it says any Republican or seditious movement in Ire-
land. But what their attitude will be on these wholesale claims I
do not know.
Q. Senator Norris: How long has it been since that stipula-
tion has been in the policies? A. Roughly, six months.
Q. That was prior to this fire? A. O, yes.
Q. But probably not pirior to the time the policies were issued
that were in existence at the time the fire took place? A. I should
Q. Chairman Wood: That was a new clause? A. Yes.
Q. Senator Norris: That clause would not have much appli-
cation to this fire, would it? A. I take it, in a great many cases,
if the insurance companies felt so inclined, they could object to
paying claims to particular people simply because they happened
to be Republicans.
Q. I understand that; but at the time of the issuing of the
policies that were probably in force when this fire took place,
they had no such stipulation in the policy? A. O, they would
have, because these policies, especially the policy which is most
usually taken out there now, is called a special riot and civic com-
motion policy. These are usually taken out for short periods, most
frequently for 3 months, sometimes for 6 months, — rarely for 6
months, and most frequently for 3 months.