Liam Pilkington

General Liam Pilkington of Sligo, GOC of the 3rd Western Division IRA 1921-1923

Also known as William Pilkington or Billy PilkingtonBorn in Sligo.

Served in the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the Irish war of Independence [Michael Farry, "Sligo 1914-1921 – A Chronicle of Conflict"]

Joined the Anti Treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War.

Was interned during the Irish Civil War.

After the disillusionment of the Irish Civil war, he became a Catholic Priest

He joined the Redemptorist Order and became known as Father William Pilkington CSsR

Served as a Catholic Priest in the Dioceses of Capetown South Africa and Bishop Eton, Childwall, Liverpool, England.

In 1954 he was guest of honour at a dinner sponsored by Clan na Gael and the IRA Veterans of America in New York where he said he was returning to the mission fields of Africa but he remained faithfull to the All Ireland Republic [The United Irishman November/December 1954,]

He died 26th of March 1977. Buried in Liverpool.

Pilkington Terrace (previoulsy Vernon St.) in Sligo town is named in his memory.

October 25th 1920At Moneygold eight miles from Sligo (between Grange and Cliffony in Co. Sligo), the IRA ambush an nine-man RIC patrol, killing four (Sgt Patrick Perry, Con Patrick Keown, Con Patrick Laffey, Con Patrick Lynch) and wounding two others (Cons Clarke and O'Rourke). The IRA was led by Sligo Brigade O/C William Pilkington.) [pHopkinson, Michael.The Irish War of Independence (2002)Dublin,Gill & Macmillang P136 and Abbott, Richard. Police Casualties in Ireland 1919-1922 (2000)Cork, Mercier Press, pgs 138-139]

When Billy Pilkingtonwent to trial in Sligo in April 1919 'the defendnat's mother entered the court and adreesing the figure in the dock, asked "Did you give bail?" The Defendant replied "No", "Good" said the mother, "If you did, I would not let you back into the house again" [Irish Times, 8th of April 1919 also The I.R.A. and Its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923 By Peter Hart,Published 1998,Oxford University Press,Cork, P175]

4 September 1922, Anti-Treaty IRA unit under Liam Pilkington takes Dromhaire barracks, county Sligo. Free State garrison there surrenders.

27th August 1923, ran unsuccesfully in the General election for the 4th Dail as a Republican candidate, polling 2089 first preference votes.

April 6th 1922A meeting to be addressed by Arthur Griffith in Sligo is proclaimed by local Anti-Treaty IRA divisional commander, Liam Pilkington. His troops take over a number of buildings in the town. MacEoin brings Provisional Government troops from Athlone and on the day of the meeting, he is joined by further troops led by J J O'Connell. A tense situation ensues but, at the last minute, Pilkington backs down and the meeting goes ahead. [Hopkinson,Michael, Green Against Green: The Irish Civil War,1988 ,Dublin,Gill & Macmillan, page 76]

April 20th 1923Executive of Anti-Treaty IRA meets in Poulacappal (four miles southwest of Callan and three from Mullinahone). Present were Frank Aiken, Liam Pilkington (replacing Liam Lynch), Sean Hyde, Sean Dowling, Bill Quirke, Tom Barry, Tom Ruane (replacing Michael Kilroy), Tom Sullivan (replacing Sean Lehane), Sean McSwiney, Tom Crofts, P J Ruttledge and Sean O'Meara (substitute for Seamus Robinson). Frank Aiken is elected chief-of-Staff and an Army Council of Aiken, Pilkington and Barry is appointed. (Macardle says that Sean Hyde was included.) Aiken proposes that peace should be made with the Pro-Treaty government on the basis that ‘The sovereignty of the Irish Nation and the integrity of its territory is inalienable’. This is passed by 9 votes to 2. [Hopkinson,Michael, Green Against Green: The Irish Civil War,1988 ,Dublin,Gill & Macmillan, page ]

Notes


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