State papers: Compensation paid to some families of Bloody Sunday victims revealed

Newly released files show mother of boy shot dead in attack by British forces received £50

Files detailing the compensation paid to some of the families of victims killed in the Bloody Sunday attack in Croke Park in 1920 are now available for viewing at the National Archives for the first time.

They show that the family of William Robinson (11) received £50 after the boy was shot through his lungs and died, following the assault by British forces on November 21st. Some 14 people died while an estimated 60 to 100 more were injured at the Dublin-Tipperary challenge match.

The compensation files relating to 10 victims are available for viewing at the National Archives and more should become available in time. They were rediscovered, along with thousands more files, by the Department of Finance in a locked bunker in 2016 when refurbishment work was being carried out. Other files relate to the 1916 Easter Rising and the North Strand bombing during the second World War.

In the case of William Robinson, the boy’s mother Bridget was awarded £50, four years after her son was killed. The file states that “he was sitting on the wall overlooking the park when the Black & Tans entered the park firing shots”. He died at Whitworth Hospital, Drumcondra the following day. The file also contains an order by the Competent Military Authority, forbidding any demonstration or procession in connection with the removal or burial of the boy. The order was made under the Restoration of Order in Ireland regulations.

Tried to escape

Annie Burke, whose husband James died in the attack, was awarded £400 and a monthly allowance of £2 for her three youngest children, until they reached the age of 16 or died.

When the firing started, James Burke tried to escape by climbing a wall. Another person climbing the wall was shot dead in front of him and this caused him to have a heart attack. He fell from the wall and was then trampled by the fleeing crowd and died.

James Hogan’s sister Margaret was awarded £40 for the death of her brother. He was shot in the shoulder which led to his arm being amputated. Gangrene set in and he died five days after the attack.

Barber and father of five Thomas O’Connor was shot in the right wrist and arm in Croke Park. According to his file, he was out of work for six months and had to pay £3 per week to a man to do his work. He was awarded £75.

Mary Ryan sought £2,000 in compensation for the death of her husband Thomas, a 27-year-old labourer. She was awarded £400 and a monthly allowance of £2 for her two daughters, until they reached 16, or died.

(Files: 2021/92/1 – 2021/92/10)

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times