Newmarket-On-Fergus Barracks 5-8-1920
In the summer of 1920 Patrick Buckley, an R.I.C. Constable from north Kerry stationed at Newmarket On Fergus, began making efforts to contact the I.R.A. Buckley had decided to resign from the R.I.C. in protest at British atrocities in Ireland when he realised that he could strike a far greater blow for the Irish Republic if he could help the I.R.A. to capture his barracks. Pat Reidy, an I.R.A. Volunteer with the Mid Clare Brigade, met Buckley while he was on patrol in New Market on Fergus. Buckley told Reidy how badly the barracks was defended and how easily it could be captured. Reidy passed this information on to I.R.A. intelligence and Michael Brennan arranged to meet Buckley to discuss the possibility of raiding the barracks for arms. Brennan convinced Buckley to help the I.R.A. capture the barracks by leaving the window over the front door open when he was on duty. Michael Brennan’s first attempt to capture the building was a failure, when by chance one of the R.I.C. men inside the Barracks noticed locked the window that Buckley had opened.
On the 5th of August the I.R.A. made another attempt to capture the barracks. Buckley had arranged to leave the front door of the barracks unlocked. At midnight the I.R.A met at Convent Cross, a mile from Sixmilebridge. Sentries were posted on all roads leading to the village. The I.R.A. Volunteers removed their boots and crept towards the Barracks door with their revolvers drawn. Pat Reidy guarded the door of the barracks while Micheal Brennan lifted the latch and entered the barracks, followed by the other I.R.A. Volunteers. Sean Murnane entered the R.I.C. Constables quarters while Brennan went to tackle the barracks sergeant, Sergeant Porter: “I sent my three or four companions to capture the guard and two men in bed and I went along to the sergeants quarters myself. On Buckley’s plan I found his room easily and the light of my torch on his face woke him. He ignored an order to put up his hands and when I repeated it he snatched a revolver on the table beside him and levelled it at me. I found it impossible to fire at a man in bed, so I took a chance and hit his gun hard with my own. I was lucky and his gun rolled on the floor. After this he surrendered. I was warned that he would be though and he certainly was.”
The I.R.A. tied up the R.I.C. and searched the barracks seizing official police documents, valuable intelligence information, and police equipment. The I.R.A.’s main haul was the R.I.C. garrisons arms, six .45 Webbly revolvers, six Carbine rifles and a large quantity of ammunition. Before leaving, the I.R.A. cut the telegraph wires leading from the barracks to prevent the R.I.C calling for assistance. No damage was done to the building during the raid and none of the police had been harmed. Sergeant Porter was so disturbed by the raid that he tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat a few days later.