“They Broke All The Ground Floor Windows”

On Wednesday 26 April, pacifist and journalist, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington was murdered in Portobello Barracks. Captain J.C. Bowen-Colthurst, an officer stationed in the barracks had ordered the executions of Skeffington and two other journalists, Thomas Dickson and Patrick McIntyre. All were completely innocent bystanders.

Two days after the executions, Colthurst raided the home of Skeffington in Grovesnor Place. Owen Sheehy-Skeffington, who was only six years old, remembers that he and his mother Hannah were sitting in the backroom of their home.

We heard what we thought were shots fired into the house… They poured into the house and the rest of the party went upstairs and ransacked the whole house.

The military took all personal material belonging to Francis Sheehy-Skeffington in an attempt to find some evidence that would justify Colthurst’s actions.

Although Colthurst’s activities were eventually discovered, his punishment did not match the severity of his crimes. The personal items that were taken were not returned to the Skeffington family.


Owen Sheehy-Skeffington was interviewed for the RTÉ Radio programme 'Yesterdays', broadcast on 22 November 1968. Photograph of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Cashman Collection courtesy of RTÉ Archives.

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