herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Casey fought and was injured in skirmishes on line at Grand Canal

Rebel stories

Leo Casey
Leo Casey

Leo Casey was born in Dublin in 1898.

Aged 18 at the time of the Rising, he was a member of the Irish Volunteers, attached to A Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade.

During Easter week he served under Eamon de Valera in the occupation of Boland's Mill on Lower Grand Canal Street.

As part of their activities the Battalion seized the Grand Canal Street works of the Dublin and South Eastern Railway - which linked Dublin to Wexford.

The latter move was designed to disrupt British troop reinforcements by rail from Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire).

Fire

On the Wednesday of Easter week Leo was badly wounded after his position came under rifle fire.

His fellow Volunteer Sean Byrne later recalled: "I attended Leo Casey for injury to his eyes where broken glass got into them.

"I remember that Casey had a white bandage on his eyes when we went up to the line.

"It was dark at the time and someone had put something black over the white bandage."

Leo was later taken to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital with four other wounded men where he remained on the Thursday and Friday of Easter week.

He was arrested the following Tuesday, May 1, and sent to Wakefield Prison and then to Frongoch internment camp.

He was released in August 1916.

After his release he remained active in revolutionary politics and subsequently took part in several military engagements.

Beaten

During one such engagement in the War of Independence, he was arrested at his residence by Auxiliaries and brought to Beggars Bush barracks and badly beaten.

He later took part in the Civil War 'night of the bridges', an attempt by anti-Treaty forces to target key bridges in Dublin.

He was arrested at Stepaside and interned at Maryborough Prison in Portlaoise and in The Curragh from August 1922 to August 1923.

He was a member of the IRA from 1916 to 1923 and afterwards worked as a bus inspector.

Before the Rising he had been a dental apprentice.

But because of his injuries he later found it difficult to secure employment in this field - chiefly due to his eye injury.

Leo worked for the Phoenix Park section of the Board of Works from 1935.

The family first lived in the Military Barracks, Arbour Hill where he cared for the graves of the 1916 executed up to the mid-1930s.

Leo and his family then moved to Inchicore, where he worked as a gate keeper in the Phoenix Park.

Finally, when his seniorty allowed, he moved into the Gate Lodge on the North Circular Road.

He died in 1952.

Details supplied by James Bannon (grandson)

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