Seán Corcoran, O/C East Mayo Brigade, IRA.
Memorial Cross to Seán Corcoran in limestone, with Shamrocks and old Gaelic script. Commandant of the East Mayo Brigade, Seán was from Kiltimagh. Like many of the senior Officers of the Mayo IRA, he was a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association [Abstain from alcohol for life - others included Michael Kilroy, O/C West Mayo Brigade and Richard Walsh IRB East Mayo Brigade and Adjutant of the Mayo HQ Staff]. They believed alcohol was a serious distraction from duty .
Seán was killed on 1st April 1921 at Crossard near Ballyhaunis, County Mayo. He was walking uphill, away from Crossard Crossroads with Commandant Maurice Mullins when a Crossley Tender of Black & Tans came over the rise in front of them. Corcoran drew his revolver while Mullins, who was unarmed was unable to react. The Tans opened fire killing Corcoran and wounding Mullins who was then captured and taken to Ballyhaunis RIC Barracks where he was subjected to an unmerciful beating. (Source: Tom Waldron, Crossard, Co. Mayo).
The same day another IRA Volunteer, Michael Coen, was captured and killed at Leecarrow on the other side of Ballyhaunis. He was killed at night when a group of Tans pulled him from the house and killed him with bayonets. The details of his death were particularly brutal and are not for recalling here. The account can be found in a Court Case during the Truce at which the local RIC Sgt appeared with Vol Coen's father to give evidence. It is believed he was killed by a group of Black and Tans operating from Tuam District, County Galway. It was a dark day for the East Mayo Brigade.
The Argyll & Sutherland Highlander's 'War Diary' of the 2nd Battalion Operations while based in Claremorris reported it was their Troops accompanied by RIC who shot and killed Seán Corcoran after he had opened fire on them from behind a ditch/wall. Corcoran died instantly and his body was brought to a nearby school. Which account is the true version is difficult to say but, if the War Diary account, like others, was written up after returning to Britain may be the reason for minor differences. Both accounts are likely to contain the truth as Corcoran had been enroute to a Bde meeting so was probably walking up the hill from the Crossroads. There was nowhere to go so it was surrender or fight. Corcoran's loss was deeply felt by the locality and a large funeral passed off in Kiltimagh without incident. The British Military were present and shadowed the Cortege but did not interfere. After they were gone, a Party of Volunteers paraded by the graveside and fired a volley of shots over their former Commanding Officer. A few days later, the Tans arrived and scattered the wreaths from the grave.
Seán Corcoran paid the ultimate price for Irish Freedom. Within a year of his death Mayo County Council comissioned a Memorial Plaque to remember their former Counsellor and Comrade. The Plaque still hangs in the Council Chamber in his memory. May Seán Corcoran Rest in Eternal Peace