15 March 2013
St Patrick’s Day, 1975
IRA Volunteer Tom Smith shot dead in Portlaoise Prison escape attempt
As the front of the cortege entered Glasnevin Cemetery, armed Special Branch men forcibly closed the cemetery gates. Wielding clubs and batons, they set upon the mourners, savagely beating men, women and children
TOM SMITH was a native of Dublin, born and reared in Harold's Cross on the southside of the city. He joined the IRA shortly after 1969 and was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade.
In November 1973, along with Volunteers Michael Fox and James Callaghan, he was convicted before the Special Court in Dublin, sentenced to imprisonment, and moved to Portlaoise.
On St Patrick's Day 1975, the prisoners made an escape attempt. They blasted a hole through a door in the recreation room leading to the prison yard on the northern side of the prison. Soldiers opened fire on the escapers as they entered the yard and shot Tom in the head, killing him instantly.
His body was removed to Dublin the following Thursday, escorted by a Guard of Honour from the IRA’s Dublin Brigade. That Saturday, his funeral was attended by thousands of republicans. As the funeral procession moved to Glasnevin Cemetery, it was harassed by over 1,000 gardaí in riot gear, backed up by a company of heavily-armed military.
As the front of the cortege entered Glasnevin Cemetery, armed Special Branch men forcibly closed the cemetery gates. Wielding clubs and batons, they set upon the mourners, savagely beating men, women and children. The mourners, stewards and organisers exercised remarkable restraint during the fierce onslaught in consideration of the mourning family and as a mark of respect for the dead Volunteer.
Despite the attack, Tom Smith was buried with full military honours.
VOLUNTEER TOM SMITH COMMEMORATION 2013
17th March Assembling Berkeley Road Church @ 2pm marching to Glasnevin Cemetery. Aengus Ó Snodaigh main speaker.
An initiative for dialogue
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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures
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