Friday 28 October 2016

Volunteer and trade unionist shot after covering his men

Rebel stories

Richard O'Carroll
Richard O'Carroll

Richard O'Carroll was born in Dublin in 1876.

He left school at 14 to enter the building trade, becoming an active trade unionist. He also joined the Gaelic League at this time.

In 1907 Richard was elected an independent Dublin Corporation councillor. He retained his seat twice, joining the Labour Party in 1911 and becoming leader of the Labour group on Dublin Corporation.

In 1913 he spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Irish Volunteers at the Rotunda Rooms in Dublin and two years later was heavily involved in the planning of the funeral of prominent nationalist Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

When the Rising took place Richard was attached to the Jacob's Garrison. On the Tuesday of Easter week he was appointed to the rank of lieutenant by Thomas MacDonagh. The following day he was dispatched with a squad to an outpost in Camden Street known as Delahunt's.

After encountering extensive gunfire and loss of life - with one Volunteer shot dead in the street - Richard accepted that he and his men could not repulse the British troops at the outpost.

In his role as commanding officer he dispersed his squad - providing cover from the top floor of a house on Camden Street while they made good their escape - only to be captured himself.

Disarmed, he was taken to a yard at the rear of the house and brought face to face with Capt J.C. Bowen-Colthurst (who shot Francis Sheehy Skeffington in cold blood on the same day), who ordered his shooting. This command was not followed.

An enraged Colthurst drew his own pistol and shot Richard O'Carroll in the chest, the bullet piercing his lung. Richard died of septicaemia nine days later, his death recorded as murder. Richard O'Carroll left a widow and seven children, the eldest just 13.

Details submitted by the Richard O'Carroll T.C. Commemorative Committee

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