Belfast Telegraph

Ballad inspired by disastrous raid on rural RUC station


Sean South was one of two IRA men killed during a raid against a Co Fermanagh RUC barracks.

South was a member of an IRA column led by Sean Garland on an attack against the station in Brookeborough on New Year’s Day in 1957.

He died of wounds sustained during the raid along with another IRA member, Fergal O’Hanlon.

The raid was part of the IRA’s little-remembered border campaign, which lasted for just over five years from December 1956 to February 1962.

Born in Limerick, South was a member of a number of organisations including the Gaelic League, Legion of Mary, Clann na Poblachta and Sinn Fein.

He founded the local branch of Maria Duce, a social Catholic organisation. The movement was not encouraged by the Irish bishops at the time, who refused to become associated with its extremism.

He had received military training as a lieutenant of the Irish Army reserve before he joined the IRA.

The attack on the barracks inspired two popular rebel songs: Sean South, and The Patriot Game.

The Sean South song was written by Sean Costelloe, from Co Limerick, and made famous by The Wolfe Tones.

Garland, the Dublin-born former IRA chief of staff, still lives in Ireland. After a long-running battle he successfully fought against extradition to the United States over the distribution and resale of counterfeit dollars in 2011.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph