What should have been a normal Friday night for Tommy McKane and his family, was anything but normal. Having celebrated Easter the weekend before, Tommy could not have known that by the end of that week, he and his family would be living through a 5th night of constant gun fire & shelling going on in the streets and laneways around their family home on Henry Place, Dublin.
The family tried to go about their normal routine that evening, but when a noise was heard in the yard, Tommy got up to investigate. He had just reached the door, the youngest child of 2 years in his arms, his second youngest of 6, clinging to his legs, his daughter, Bridget, of 15 stood behind, as a bullet suddenly ricocheted through the door, hitting Tommy in the shoulder before passing through and striking his daughter Bridget, who was fatally wounded.
Tommy collapsed to the floor as volunteers including a number of the leaders, piled into the house and into a scene of utter devastation.
A doctor and also a volunteer, tended to Tommy’s wounds, calming his wife and reassuring her that he would be okay. Sean Mac Diarmada in a state of anger and shock, offered to bring the man responsible before him. But Tommy declined, insisting it had been an accident. He was behind the door, he was trying to open it, the volunteer who fired the fatal shot could not have known. It was just an accident.
In the aftermath of the leader’s surrender, Tommy was transferred to the Mater Hospital where he received treatment for Gunshot wounds to his shoulder and chest, those wounds would go on to leave Tommy partially disabled.
In 1937 Tommy made an application for a pension, a promise had been made on that fateful night, by the leaders, that they would ensure Tommy and his family were compensated afterwards. The application process for a military pension was a grueling one and sadly Tommy’s application was declined, instead a gratuity payment of £100 was made.
£100 for a daughter lost and a father left partially disabled.
Tommy tragically passed away in 1941 hours after learning that yet another of his children had died, his son Michel had been seriously injured during the North Strand bombings earlier that year but died a few months later from his injuries, on hearing the news of the loss of yet another child, the shock caused Tommy to pass away very suddenly.
Everyone in my family speaks highly of Tommy McKane, he was a kind man, with a heart of gold and was well respected by all who knew and loved him. And I can’t help but admire him, for his bravery and courage that night in 1916.