On his 36th birthday, Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás Mac Curtain was shot dead in front of his wife and son by a group of men with blackened faces, who were found to be members of the RIC by the official inquest into the event. Mac Curtain’s house in the city’s Blackpool area, was ransacked.
The killing caused widespread public outrage. The coroner’s inquest passed a verdict of wilful murder against British Prime Minister Lloyd George and against certain members of the RIC. Michael Collins later ordered his personal assassination squad to hunt down and kill the police officers involved in the attack. RIC District Inspector Oswald Swanzy, who had ordered the attack, was fatally shot with Mac Curtain’s own revolver while leaving a Protestant church in Lisburn, Co Antrim on 22 August 1920, sparking a ‘pogrom’ against the Catholic residents of the town. Mac Curtain is buried in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, Co Cork.
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Photo: Tomás Mac Curtain pictured with his wife and young family in March 1920, just a few days before his murder.