I recently spotted this gravestone at Dun Bolg Cemetery, near Carrignavar.
I was educated as to the circumstances by Doc, who attended a talk at the Muskerry Historical Society last February on the Shooting at Marsh’s Yard on Monday 13th August, 1934. The excellent talk was given by Dermot O’Donovan.
My initial thought was that the public protest in 1934 was stronger than at the Allsop Space auctions.
I have prepared below from Doc’s notes from the talk
Political & Economic Situation at that Time.
Civil War hatreds still existed. Éamon deValera led the first anti-treaty government which had come to power in 1932 and re-elected the following year.
The Treaty provided for the payment by Irish Free State of land annuities of £3.1m to Great Britain. The advice was that, as 96% of exports were to Britain, an Economic War could be catastrophic for Ireland but the government refused to pay the land annuities, which they still collected for government revenue.
This led to the Economic War which continued until 1935 and a treaty in 1938. The Economic War resulted in a 20% duty on animals and agricultural goods. This in turn resulted in the loss of 80% of poultry trade, 50% of butter trade and a reduction of 50% in cattle prices. It was reported that some farmers killed and buried animals as they could not afford to keep them.
Following the banning of The National Guard (Blueshirts), Fine Gael was founded in 1933 as a merger of Cumann na nGaedheal and the National Centre Party. It had large support among rural farmers. These were hardest hit by the Economic War. They objected to the collection of the land annuities by Fianna Fáil. The Blueshirts, led by former Garda Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy, began to reorient themselves as an agrarian protest organisation, mobilising to resist seizures and auctioning of cattle, and attacking those charged with collecting annuities.
Seized cattle would be sold at auction. Local farmers generally did not purchase. The cattle were generally purchased by Northern Ireland dealers – the name O’Neill was regularly used. The purchasers were protected by the Broy Harriers –a republican auxiliary to the police.
On 13th August, 1934, an auction was set for Marsh’s Yard in Copley Street selling cattle seized from a farm in Bishopstown (Coveney) and another in Ballincollig. A police cordon was set up at 10.00 and by 10.30, 300 police were on duty. Lorries arrived at 11.00.
Three thousand protestors arrived around 12.00 noon. Twenty-five minutes later, there was an attempt to ram the gate to the yard. Michael Lynch and some others managed to get into the yard following the ramming. Almost immediately shooting commenced, Lynch was shot and died later in the South Infirmary.
The auction continued.
A riot had followed the shooting. The participants stopped rioting, knelt and said a Rosary when they heard of his death.
The Blueshirts, led by O’Duffy, gave his coffin a Guard of Honour from the South Infirmary. The coffin was draped in a blue and red flag.
The family were awarded £300 in 1935 by the court.
This was appealed to the High Court and then the Supreme Court who dismissed the appeal. In the Supreme Court, Judge Hanna was scathing of the Broy Harriers saying ‘these S-Men are not real Civic Guards’
“Erected to the undying memory of MICHAEL PATRICK LYNCH of Lyre Carrignavar shot by State Forces at Marsh’s Yard Cork 13th Aug 1934 on the occasion of a public protect by the Farmers of Co. Cork against gross injustice.