Dan Breen was an iconic IRA figure in both the War of Independence and also the Civil War. Breen was involved in what is accepted as the first action of the War of Independence (1919-1921) when with Sean Treacy and others, he ambushed and killed two RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, both of them Catholic and reputedly popular in the community in what has become known as the Soloheadbeg Ambush (Co Tipperary). The action was unauthorised by Irish leadership at the time, but shortly after all British armed forces and policemen were deemed legitimate targets.
In his memoir, ‘My Fight for Irish Freedom’, Breen outlines what happened at the ambush:
‘Hands up!’ The cry came from our men who spoke as if with one voice. ‘Hands up!’ In answer to our challenge they raised their rifles, and with military precision held them at the ready…
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