• It has come to our attention that some users may have been "banned" when they tried to change their passwords after the site was hacked due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software. This would have occurred around the end of February and does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you believe you were affected by this, please contact a staff member or use the Contact us link at the bottom of any forum page.

McMahon Family Murders


runwiththewind

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
12,696
On the 24th March, 1922, six members of the McMahon household were murdered by the Ulster Special Constabulary/RIC simply for being a respected Catholic family. McMahon was a wealthy publican with several pubs in Belfast and his murderers told him he and his family were "selected" precisely because of their respectability.

The day before, two USC were killed by the IRA and in retaliation the McMahon family were selected for a reprisal attack. 12 men came to their home in the middle of the night and the following were murdered -
Owen McMahon (50) - Father
Bernard McMahon - Son
Frank McMahon (24) - Son
Patrick McMahon (22) - Son
Gerard McMahon (15) -Son
Edward McKing (25) - barman.

Another son Michael escaped by hiding behind a couch and playing dead.

Previously on the 24th, 2 other Catholics - Patrick Murphy (61) and Sarah McShane (15) were shot dead by USC again in reprisal for the killing of the two USC.

On the 1st April, 1920, 6 Catholics were murdered in what has become known as Arnon Street Killings.
William Spellen (70) - Mr. Spellen had just returned from his wife's funeral. She too had been murdered a few days earlier. According to Mr. Spellen's 12 year old grandson, who was with him at the time, the USC stole the £20 he had on him to pay for the funeral.
Bernard McKenna ((42) - killed in his bed. Father of 7.
Joseph Walsh (39) - bludgeoned to death in his bed. His son Michael (7) was also shot and died the next day. His 3 year old daughter witnessed this as the two were asleep with their father. His other son Frank (14) was shot in the leg but survived.
John Mallon (60)
John McRory - shot in his kitchen.

The Free State government investigated these murders and came to the conclusing the District Inspector John William Nixon had given the go ahead for the murders and may have participated directly in them himself.

15 innocent Catholics murdered by State security forces in the space of a week.

Craig refused to hold an inquiry into any of these state sanctioned murders.

Unlike the Dunmanway killings of Protestants in West Cork, these murders of Catholics in Belfast are all but been buried and forgotten by the most.
 
Last edited:

ne0ica

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
8,447
Sad but true, best you can hope for down south is a 'Sure aren't they as bad as eachother up there'. One simply has to watch the news down here to see how loyalist lawlessness and Unionist sectarianism is often ignored by the media.
 
Last edited:

Dublin 4

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
12,993
They gave the world a good laugh again recently though :lol:

 

Niall996

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
12,142
On the 24th March, 1922, six members of the McMahon household were murdered by the Ulster Special Constabulary/RIC simply for being a respected Catholic family. McMahon was a wealthy publican with several pubs in Belfast and his murderers told him he and his family were "selected" precisely because of their respectability.

The day before, two USC were killed by the IRA and in retaliation the McMahon family were selected for a reprisal attack. 12 men came to their home in the middle of the night and the following were murdered -
Owen McMahon (50) - Father
Bernard McMahon - Son
Frank McMahon (24) - Son
Patrick McMahon (22) - Son
Gerard McMahon (15) -Son
Edward McKing (25) - barman.

Another son Michael escaped by hiding behind a couch and playing dead.

Previously on the 24th, 2 other Catholics - Patrick Murphy (61) and Sarah McShane (15) were shot dead by USC again in reprisal for the killing of the two USC.

On the 1st April, 1920, 6 Catholics were murdered in what has become known as Arnon Street Killings.
William Spellen (70) - Mr. Spellen had just returned from his wife's funeral. She too had been murdered a few days earlier. According to Me. Spellen's grandson who was with him at the time, the USC stole the £20 he had on him to pay for the funeral.
Bernard McKenna ((42) - killed in his bed. Father of 7.
Joseph Walsh (39) - bludgeoned to death in his bed. His son Michael (7) was also shot and died the next day. His 3 year old daughter witnessed this as the two were asleep with their father. His other son Frank (14) was shot in the leg but survived.
John Mallon (60)
John McRory - shot in his kitchen.

The Free State government investigated these murders and came to the conclusing the District Inspector John William Nixon had given the go ahead for the murders and may have participated directly in them himself.

15 innocent Catholics murdered by State security forces in the space of a week.

Craig refused to hold an inquiry into any of these state sanctioned murders.

Unlike the Dunmanway killings of Protestants in West Cork, these murders of Catholics in Belfast are all but been buried and forgotten by the most.
Not enough is known about these events and similar. Wrongly buried in history.
 

runwiththewind

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
12,696
Not enough is known about these events and similar. Wrongly buried in history.
I believe these murders to be massacres. The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians solely based on their religion can be called nothing else.
 

Catalpast

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2012
Messages
26,196
On the 24th March, 1922, six members of the McMahon household were murdered by the Ulster Special Constabulary/RIC simply for being a respected Catholic family. McMahon was a wealthy publican with several pubs in Belfast and his murderers told him he and his family were "selected" precisely because of their respectability.

The day before, two USC were killed by the IRA and in retaliation the McMahon family were selected for a reprisal attack. 12 men came to their home in the middle of the night and the following were murdered -
Owen McMahon (50) - Father
Bernard McMahon - Son
Frank McMahon (24) - Son
Patrick McMahon (22) - Son
Gerard McMahon (15) -Son
Edward McKing (25) - barman.

Another son Michael escaped by hiding behind a couch and playing dead.

Previously on the 24th, 2 other Catholics - Patrick Murphy (61) and Sarah McShane (15) were shot dead by USC again in reprisal for the killing of the two USC.

On the 1st April, 1920, 6 Catholics were murdered in what has become known as Arnon Street Killings.
William Spellen (70) - Mr. Spellen had just returned from his wife's funeral. She too had been murdered a few days earlier. According to Me. Spellen's grandson who was with him at the time, the USC stole the £20 he had on him to pay for the funeral.
Bernard McKenna ((42) - killed in his bed. Father of 7.
Joseph Walsh (39) - bludgeoned to death in his bed. His son Michael (7) was also shot and died the next day. His 3 year old daughter witnessed this as the two were asleep with their father. His other son Frank (14) was shot in the leg but survived.
John Mallon (60)
John McRory - shot in his kitchen.

The Free State government investigated these murders and came to the conclusing the District Inspector John William Nixon had given the go ahead for the murders and may have participated directly in them himself.

15 innocent Catholics murdered by State security forces in the space of a week.

Craig refused to hold an inquiry into any of these state sanctioned murders.

Unlike the Dunmanway killings of Protestants in West Cork, these murders of Catholics in Belfast are all but been buried and forgotten by the most.
Horrible events

The violent period between the Truce and the outbreak of the Civil War in the South is one that is little covered in general histories of the period

Some years ago while conducting research on those times I went through the newspaper files of the Irish Times in the Dublin Central Library

I was struck by how many violent incidents occurred when ostensibly there was 'Peace'!
 

ne0ica

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
8,447
I believe these murders to be massacres. The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians solely based on their religion can be called nothing else.
It was to intimidate the Catholic population. Mostly our leaders in the south did nothing but sit on their hands and do nothing. People forget that Michael Collins did send guns up North.
 

Dublin 4

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
12,993
Until some soapdodger shot him in the back of the head... :|
 

cb1979

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
825
One of the problems with discussing Irish history is that we discuss this period as if partition had existed for time immemorial. We can't discuss the Anglo - Irish War or the Civil War in just a twenty - six county context. The Parliament of Northern Ireland had only come into being in June of 1921, less than a year before the McMahon murders. Through the media and academia, southern society has had to ask itself uncomfortable questions about sectarianism and the treatment of Protestants in the south during and after the revolutionary period. No similar situation has happened in regard to northern Unionists and their treatment of the Catholic minority at this time. The equivalent of the McMahon murders isn't Dunmanway. It would be a contingent of Gardaí in uniform murdering a family of Protestants and then not being censured in any way by the new Free State government.
 

cb1979

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
825
Horrible events

The violent period between the Truce and the outbreak of the Civil War in the South is one that is little covered in general histories of the period

Some years ago while conducting research on those times I went through the newspaper files of the Irish Times in the Dublin Central Library

I was struck by how many violent incidents occurred when ostensibly there was 'Peace'!
Bizarrely, when we see sectarian murders at their height it's described as the 'Truce' period.
 

runwiththewind

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
12,696
One of the problems with discussing Irish history is that we discuss this period as if partition had existed for time immemorial. We can't discuss the Anglo - Irish War or the Civil War in just a twenty - six county context. The Parliament of Northern Ireland had only come into being in June of 1921, less than a year before the McMahon murders. Through the media and academia, southern society has had to ask itself uncomfortable questions about sectarianism and the treatment of Protestants in the south during and after the revolutionary period. No similar situation has happened in regard to northern Unionists and their treatment of the Catholic minority at this time. The equivalent of the McMahon murders isn't Dunmanway. It would be a contingent of Gardaí in uniform murdering a family of Protestants and then not being censured in any way by the new Free State government.
Hundreds of Catholics were murdered either by state security or by unionists in the early 20. Up to 11,000 were forced from their jobs and thousands more were burned or chased from their homes. What I want to know is, who filed these vacant jobs? How many Protestants from the border counties of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan moved to NI specifically to take up these jobs? Does this in some way explain the Protestant "flight" from these counties? Little historical evidence or historical research done on this period of NI's history.
 

runwiththewind

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
12,696
It was to intimidate the Catholic population. Mostly our leaders in the south did nothing but sit on their hands and do nothing. People forget that Michael Collins did send guns up North.
And Michael was also elected MP for South Armagh. Another thing long forgotten about.
 

cnocpm

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
4,841
Not enough is known about these events and similar. Wrongly buried in history.
A senior history lecturer at Stranmillis college Eamon Phoenix has a very informative piece on the period,
Stormont files history Ireland.
 

ne0ica

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
8,447
Hundreds of Catholics were murdered either by state security or by unionists in the early 20. Up to 11,000 were forced from their jobs and thousands more were burned or chased from their homes. What I want to know is, who filed these vacant jobs? How many Protestants from the border counties of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan moved to NI specifically to take up these jobs? Does this in some way explain the Protestant "flight" from these counties? Little historical evidence or historical research done on this period of NI's history.
I recall reading somewhere there was something like a polgrom I think it was in Lisburn where Catholic homes and business were attacked and burned out. Letters were sent out to Protestants in border counties appealing for them to cross the border.
 

ticketyboo

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
5,045
On the 24th March, 1922, six members of the McMahon household were murdered by the Ulster Special Constabulary/RIC simply for being a respected Catholic family. McMahon was a wealthy publican with several pubs in Belfast and his murderers told him he and his family were "selected" precisely because of their respectability.

The day before, two USC were killed by the IRA and in retaliation the McMahon family were selected for a reprisal attack. 12 men came to their home in the middle of the night and the following were murdered -
Owen McMahon (50) - Father
Bernard McMahon - Son
Frank McMahon (24) - Son
Patrick McMahon (22) - Son
Gerard McMahon (15) -Son
Edward McKing (25) - barman.

Another son Michael escaped by hiding behind a couch and playing dead.

Previously on the 24th, 2 other Catholics - Patrick Murphy (61) and Sarah McShane (15) were shot dead by USC again in reprisal for the killing of the two USC.

On the 1st April, 1920, 6 Catholics were murdered in what has become known as Arnon Street Killings.
William Spellen (70) - Mr. Spellen had just returned from his wife's funeral. She too had been murdered a few days earlier. According to Mr. Spellen's 12 year old grandson, who was with him at the time, the USC stole the £20 he had on him to pay for the funeral.
Bernard McKenna ((42) - killed in his bed. Father of 7.
Joseph Walsh (39) - bludgeoned to death in his bed. His son Michael (7) was also shot and died the next day. His 3 year old daughter witnessed this as the two were asleep with their father. His other son Frank (14) was shot in the leg but survived.
John Mallon (60)
John McRory - shot in his kitchen.

The Free State government investigated these murders and came to the conclusing the District Inspector John William Nixon had given the go ahead for the murders and may have participated directly in them himself.

15 innocent Catholics murdered by State security forces in the space of a week.

Craig refused to hold an inquiry into any of these state sanctioned murders.

Unlike the Dunmanway killings of Protestants in West Cork, these murders of Catholics in Belfast are all but been buried and forgotten by the most.
I recall a Belfast friend of mine showing me some research papers he was using for studying entitled "In the catacombs of Belfast".
Would send shivers up your back just reading it.
I often wonder, when I read the quite appalling contributions here, about the sheer depth of ignorance and stupidity displayed. Are they working, I ponder, as they go about their daily lives, on the common everyday assumption, that in a normal society the police forces are there to protect and defend us, and are they completely unaware of the role that the police, specials and military were the exact opposite of that in the North. They acted as a force at war with their nationalist neighbours, and those of recent vintage who sought to portray the killings in border areas as some type of ethnic cleansing deliberately conceal the harassment, intimidation and murders that they participated in whilst in uniform in the same border areas, often as part timers, thus being portrayed as working men being targeted because of their religion.
 

fontenoy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
2,415
Terrible time indeed for the Nationalist people trapped inside the unionist statelet. No doubt we'll get plenty of rational and reasonable explanations for these atrocities
 

Eoin Coir

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
16,632
I believe these murders to be massacres. The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians solely based on their religion can be called nothing else.
Of course they were murders, just like the murders of protestants in Cork.

Was it in retaliation for that the the Butcher of Altnaveigh, Frank Aiken, massacred the Greys ?
 

picador

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
21,046
On the 24th March, 1922, six members of the McMahon household were murdered by the Ulster Special Constabulary/RIC simply for being a respected Catholic family. McMahon was a wealthy publican with several pubs in Belfast and his murderers told him he and his family were "selected" precisely because of their respectability.

The day before, two USC were killed by the IRA and in retaliation the McMahon family were selected for a reprisal attack. 12 men came to their home in the middle of the night and the following were murdered -
Owen McMahon (50) - Father
Bernard McMahon - Son
Frank McMahon (24) - Son
Patrick McMahon (22) - Son
Gerard McMahon (15) -Son
Edward McKing (25) - barman.

Another son Michael escaped by hiding behind a couch and playing dead.

Previously on the 24th, 2 other Catholics - Patrick Murphy (61) and Sarah McShane (15) were shot dead by USC again in reprisal for the killing of the two USC.

On the 1st April, 1920, 6 Catholics were murdered in what has become known as Arnon Street Killings.
William Spellen (70) - Mr. Spellen had just returned from his wife's funeral. She too had been murdered a few days earlier. According to Mr. Spellen's 12 year old grandson, who was with him at the time, the USC stole the £20 he had on him to pay for the funeral.
Bernard McKenna ((42) - killed in his bed. Father of 7.
Joseph Walsh (39) - bludgeoned to death in his bed. His son Michael (7) was also shot and died the next day. His 3 year old daughter witnessed this as the two were asleep with their father. His other son Frank (14) was shot in the leg but survived.
John Mallon (60)
John McRory - shot in his kitchen.

The Free State government investigated these murders and came to the conclusing the District Inspector John William Nixon had given the go ahead for the murders and may have participated directly in them himself.

15 innocent Catholics murdered by State security forces in the space of a week.

Craig refused to hold an inquiry into any of these state sanctioned murders.

Unlike the Dunmanway killings of Protestants in West Cork, these murders of Catholics in Belfast are all but been buried and forgotten by the most.
Nelson McCausland, Social Development minister, has, just this week, being trying to justify the McMahon murders.
Nelson's View: The McMahon Murders
 

Ex celt

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
8,375
The perpetrator of the murders was a policeman called Nixon whose actions appalled even the unionist establishment. He was subsequently kicked out of the RUC but never charged.The McMahons owned the Capstan Bar in Ann Street. One son escaped the slaughter and lived in England until his death about 15 years ago.
 
Top