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Author probes Clonmany murders 30.03.09

by Simon McGeady, Inishowen Independent

DUBLIN-based author Brendan Lynch’s latest book, 'Yesterday We Were In America' – the account of the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Clifden in June 1919–hits bookshelves this week, but another event that made the news closer to home around that time has long intrigued Lynch.
“The last of my surviving aunts, Sarah Regan (nee Lynch), died last year at the age of 96. Before she died she told me about two Royal Irish Constabulary men killed in Clonmany near the end of the War of Independence,” said Lynch, whose father, Patrick Edward Lynch, was born and raised in Binnion.
Brendan Lynch and his wife Margie at the launch of his memoir 'There Might Be A Drop of Rain Yet'. “The two RIC men, Alexander Clarke and Charles Murdock, were kidnapped by an armed men, beaten up, shot and thrown into the sea somewhere near Binnion. They were presumed dead.”
After midnight there was a knock on the door of Brendan’s grandparents house, it was one of the RIC men, Charles Murdock.
“My aunt’s mother sent for the doctor, but before the messenger reached the doctor’s house they bumped into one of the assailants who came back for the RIC man. He was taken out of the house and never seen again,” said Lynch.
Clarke's body was found on seashore near Binnion, Murdock’s was never recovered. Lynch speculates that the body of the second officer might still be buried in Binnion.
“After Murdock was taken from the house my aunt Sarah said a decade of the rosary for the man. It was very distressing. It was a terrible incident, a man to have escaped death only to be killed after he’d thought he’d reached the sanctuary a local farm.
“I suppose that the people who came for the RIC man couldn’t let him live for fear that he identified them,” said the former 'Irish Times' journalist.
“I have done some research on this story, but on a personal level it would be a difficult subject for me to revisit for a novel. I remember now that one of my father's brothers did not speak to him for years because he joined the new Garda Siochana after the Civil War. If I did attempt novel based on this, it would be to explore brutality and futility of violence,” said the 71-year old author, whose past books include 'Green Dust, a history of Irish motor racing'.
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