Monday, 20 February 2012

Sean Phelan commemoration in Liverpool

On Saturday (18 February) the Liverpool Irish Patriots Republican Flute Band organised a parade of republican bands in memory of IRA man Sean Phelan, who was born in Liverpool in 1900.  He was born John Whelan but gaelicised his name to Sean Phelan and became a lieutenant in the IRA.

Phelan fought in the War of Independence and was involved in an IRA attack on a train at Upton in county Cork on 15 February 1921.  Cork was the most violent county in the War of Independence, with  several active IRA brigades, and the Third (West Cork) Brigade was the most deadly.  It was a unit from this brigade that carried out the Upton train ambush.

Plans were made for an attack on a train travelling from Cork to Bandon and the attack was to be carried out by a party of thirteen IRA men led by Charlie Hurley.  Minutes before the train arrived at Upton they took over the station and imprisoned the station master.

The train was carrying fifty soldiers from the Essex Rgiments, and the IRA knew there were soldiers on board, but they also knew that it was carrying members of the public as well.

The IRA opened fire on the train and the gunfight lasted for just ten minutes but six civilian passengers, including a woman, were killed and ten wounded.  Six soldiers were also wounded, three of them seriously, and three IRA gunmen were killed outright, while another was fatally wounded and two more were badly wounded but survived.  Charlie Hurley, who had led the attack, was one of the wounded and John Whelan was one of the three IRA men who were killed.

The IRA attack was made famous in the 1960s with a ballad entitled The Lonely Woods of Upton, which was recorded byEileen Donaghy.  She included the song on an album of rebel songs which she recorded under the name of her grandmother Brigid Corey.

Irish republicans in Liverpool want to commemorate an IRA gunman who was born in Liverpool and died in the Upton train attack.  However they probably prefer to forget the fact that the IRA squad of which he was a member murdered six civilians and wounded ten more in that attack at Upton back in February 1921.


  1. Nelson please post on the IRA attack on a Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on New Year's Day, 1957. Where it was repelled by the sergeant and constables of the "B" Special's and RUC, killing 2 and wounding many others from the IRA who took part in the unprovoked attack.

    We need to inform the Unionist population that since partition the aggression in terms of terror has constantly come from the IRA mainly from the RoI.

  2. Nelson,

    Thankfully, the IRA parade was stopped from entering the the City centre where they had planned for a Sinn Fein polititian to read out a roll of "honour".

    Around 400 members of the public, loyal orders, and ex-servicemen were gathered to counter-demonstrate. There were a few verbal expressions of digust by 50 people, at the start of the parade, and a punch thrown by a 78 year old female loyalist.

    The Republican parade was turned back after police said they could not guarantee the safety of the participants.

    There was an attempted news blackout, leading upto this event but the UK Independence Party issued a statement in opposition. There Chairman, managed to get on the local radio station to explain why it was objectionable, and how they supported the Kings Regiment who recruit from Merseyside and Manchester.

    The "Irish" Post had headlines, and commentary straight from Sinn Fein head office, claim that the "Irish" parade had been racially abused. In fact all that was shouted was "IRA off our streets".

    These vile Marxists will stop at nothing to attack the very liberties that we still have. We all need to be on our gaurd, and get involved in the political/spiritual battle.

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