John Brady, Inchaboy, and William Loughrey, Boulaphadeen, Shanaglish, were taken to the guards station at Gort, where they were detained for questioning, under the provisions of the Offences Against the State Act. At Gort District Court on Saturday 27 April 1940, before Mr. W.P. Cahill, District Justice, John Brady and William Loughrey were charged with causing malicious damage to property, and remanded in custody to the next district court at Gort.
Sergeant Nolan, Shanaglish, who made a deposition, applying for a remand, said he arrested and detained the 2 accused under the provisions of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, and charged them, giving them the usual caution. He was still making enquiries into the affair, and he applied for a remand to the next court.
Mr. Counahan, solicitor, applied for bail on behalf of the accused, which Superintendent O’Halloran, Gort, opposed. The accused were remanded in custody to Gort Court on May 4, and were taken to Limerick prison.
Gort courthouse was crowded on Saturday 4 May 1940 when Joh Brady and William Loughrey were again remanded for a fortnight. Superintendent O’Halloran, Gort, applied for a further remand, stating that inquiries in the case were not yet completed, and it was hoped that by next court he would be able to submit evidence to connect both the accused with the charge. Sergeant Nolan, Shanaglish, in a deposition, said he was still pursuing inquiries and he asked for a further remand to May 18.
Mr. L.E. O’Dea, solicitor, Galway, who appeared for Loughrey, applied for bail, and O’Halloran said he was not opposed to bail, but it should be substantial - £200 and £100 each, he suggested – Mr O’Dea thought this very high. There was no evidence whatever against these men. He suggested £100 and two £50 bails. Mr Cahill, D.J., said that in a case of this kind it was not on any evidence that might be submitted but on the gravity of the charge that the court had to measure the amount of the bails. Supt. O’Halloran; I am not opposing a remand on bail if the bails are substantial. I am suggesting the figures stated £200 and 2 £100 bails. Dr Comyn, solicitor, is acting for Brady. The Justice granted a remand and fixed the bails at £200 and two sureties of £100 each to the next District Court at Gort May 18.
It was reported that up to 200 people were in the dance hall at the time, and that the explosion had actually split portion of the wall. Dancing had continued uninterrupted for some minutes and the dancers were undisturbed and unaware of the cause until some guards who were in the vicinity investigated. Following this, the two were arrested. The dance was being held in support of funds for a local hurling club. The accused are both sons of farmers in the Shanaglish district.
Friday May 24 1940 was fixed a s a special day for hearing the evidence in the charges in connection with the attempt to blow up a dance hall in Shanaglish by a bomb. The venue was changed from Gort to Loughrea.
Two further arrests were made, and 2 young men, Christy Forde, Inchaboy, and John Forde, Boulaphadeen, were charged with conspiracy in the case on 18 May 1940, and were remanded to the hearing at Loughrea next Friday, 24 May. It is understood that there are several dozen witnesses and statements; that leading Senior Counsel has been obtained by the State, and that the case will be all day at hearing.
Sergeant Nolan said he charged four accused. John Brady said ‘Ill say nothing’ Loughrey said ‘What have I to say to it: sure I’ll suffer on until I see what will be in the evidence, I know nothing about the explosion’. Christy and John Forde made no reply. As there was evidence to connect the accused with the charge, Sergeant Nolan asked for a remand to Loughrea on May 24. Mr. G.M. Counahan, solicitor for Loughrey, said he thought it was a most unusal application. Gort was more convenient, especially to his client. The Justice said Loughrea seemed to be the most suitable place for all parties and the Superintendent had asked for the change of venue from Gort to Loughrea for special reasons. He would have to take notice of that and he remanded all the accused on bail to Loughrea next Friday.
Four young farmers were charged with damaging a dance hall in Loughcutra, Gort, by a bomb on night of 14 April. John Brady and William Loughrey were charged with having explosive substances in their possession and with causing malicious damage to the hall and with wounding Kathleen Staunton, Martin Mullins, James Brady and John Ruane, who were at or in the vicinity of the dance hall. John and Christopher Forde were charged with conspiring with Brady and Loughrey.
Mr McDermott, solicitor, appeared for John Forde, Christy Forde was not professionally represented.
During the case heard on 1 June 1940, we learned the following;
The dance was held on a Sunday night in a concrete barn with an iron roof, the property of Thomas Flanagan, Lough Cutra, and was for the purpose of obtaining funds for the Beagh Hurling Club. A large number of people went to this dance, some remaining outside, and at about 11.15pm, when there were up to 100 people in the hall, the explosion occurred.
It was also reported that the case was transferred to Loughrea as an attempt on the part of some of the accused or somebody on their behalf to intimidate witnesses who had already given evidence or made statements.
Michael Harte, Inchaboy, said that he was an employee of the Forestry Department. When passing Flanagan’s barn, he heard a loud explosion. Just before the explosion he saw the accused John Brady, standing near the dance hall, a yard or 2 away, and near him was another man. He was Brady later moving around with other men.
Thomas Flanagan, owner of the dance hall, said he agreed to give use of his barn to Beagh Hurling Club on the night of 14 April. When the explosion occurred, he was in his own house 30 or 50 yards away and thought it had been a burst tire. He said he was always on the best of terms and friendly with Loughrey. When he saw the barn the following morning he found parts of the barge or wall blown away, and parts of the cave shute and down pipe blown away and a hole in the galvanised roof which was torn away from the wall plate.
Gerald Kennedy, Ballinakill, Gort, who was at dance, was outside at the time of the explosion. He saw Brady and Loughrey there near the hall before the explosion, there were other people there also. John Joe Loughnane, Inchaboy also saw John Brady there before and after the dance.
John Joseph Walsh, a 16 year old, said he saw Brady and Loughrey near the dance hall. Going round to the back he met Brady and said ‘Well John’ and Brady said not to mention his name. Half an hour later he heard the explosion when he was in the Hall. The witness said that since he made the original statement he was in a house and left his bicycle outside and when he came out he found that his bicycle was damaged. The handlebars and saddle were damaged. While he was in the house Brady and one of the Fordes left.
Martin Mullins, Crusheen, said outside the dance hall his foot hit a plank and something hit his ankle and he was dazed for a time by the report of an explosion. On examining his ankle he found a cut about an inch long and his trousers and sock were cut through. He was laid up for a fortnight and had medical treatment.
James Brady, who was in the dance hall when the explosion occurred, said something struck him on the neck and he bled, but he stayed on at the dance. John Ruane, also inside the dance hall, was stuck by a splinter on the hand.
The trial was adjourned until Saturday morning, where evidence from a further 7 witnesses was heard.
Michael Joe Perrill, Inchaboy, said he knew the accused John Brady and William Loughrey, but couldn’t say whether they were at the dance that night or not. He went to the dance with Christy Forde. Patrick Jordan, Inchaboy, said he saw Christy Forde at the front door of the dance hall. He saw John Brady standing about a yard from the door. J. Fogarty, Inchaboy, went to the dance with some others, and saw John Brady standing outside the door; he also saw Christy Forde inside the hall.
Edward Harte, Gortacarnaun, said he saw John Brady and William Loughrey in the crowd outside the hall, remarking ‘there was a nice crowd between them’. Thomas Fahy, Inchaboy, saw Brady standing on a crowd of 20 or so. He through Corney Loughrey was standing near him. He also said he was certain he saw Forde, but couldn’t remember if it was inside or out. Michael Fogarty, Inchaboy, said he was there when the explosion occurred, and saw John Brady when he arrived at the hall. He spoke a couple of words to Brady and had a light of a cigarette from him. Brady was standing behind the witnesses back, with two people standing either side of Brady. He couldn’t say what Brady was doing while he was looking at the people paying at the door.
John Walsh, Inchaboy, 17, said he saw Brady standing near the entrance door about 5 minutes before the explosion occurred, and didn’t see William Loughrey at all.
Sergeant Nolan said there was further evidence in this case and asked for a further remand to Loughrea on Saturday 8 June at 11.30.
The case was concluded at a special sitting at Loughrea on Saturday 22 June 1940 before District Justice Cahill. Brady and Loughrey were charged with being in possession of explosive substances, while Christy Forde was charged with conspiracy. The Justice said he had hear a lot of evidence in this case, and it was a dastardly outrage to occur in a civilised community. He refused informations, and ordered the accused men to be discharged. It appears the released men were re-arrested immediately. Forde, Loughrey and Brady were removed in custody to the Curragh Camp, after being arrested as they were about to leave the court.
The Connacht Tribune of 15 June 1940 has no reference to the case, and copies of the newspaper from the last week of June and all of July 1940 are missing. Similarly, no references to the case could be located in any other local or national newspapers.
No further newspaper references were located. However, it appears they were interned under the Emergency Act Powers, their files are available at the National Archives of Ireland. John Brady was detained from May 1940 to February 1941, while Christopher Forde and William Loughrey were held from May until August 1940. It appears that sometime between the beginning of June 1940 and the end of the trial at the end of June, charges against John Forde must have been dropped, as he does not appear in final newspaper reports of the trial, nor in the files deposited in the National Archives of Ireland.
- NAI, John Brady, Inchaboy, Gort, County Galway: interned under the Emergency Powers Acts. Reference 2011/25/428. Date May 1940-Feb 1941
- NAI, Christopher Forde, Inchaboy, Gort, County Galway: interned under the Emergency Powers Acts. Reference 2011/25/109. Date May 1940-Aug 1940
- NAI, William Loughrey, Boulaphaudeen, Gort: interned under the Emergency Powers Acts. Reference 2011/25/112. Date May 1940-August 1940.
- Connacht Tribune 27 April 1940 page 14
- Connacht Sentinel 7 may 1940 page 1
- Connacht Sentinel 21 May 1940 page 1
- Connacht Tribune 1 June 1940 page 3
- Tuam Herald 29 June 1940 page 4
- Weekly Irish Times 29 June 1940, page 10, column 5