The Ahern Family - Volunteer Anthony (Tony) Ahern

Volunteer Anthony (Tony) Ahern
of the Cork Brigade, I.R.A.

Tony Ahern photo
Volunteer Anthony (Tony) Ahern
Cork Brigade, Oglaigh na hEireann
Date Of Birth: 15th November 1955
Killed On Active Service: 10th May 1973
Circumstances of Death: Premature explosion near Roslea, County Fermanagh
Place of Burial: St. Marys Cemetery, Carrigaline, County Cork
Tony lived with his mother Peg at 27 St. Josephs Park, Mayfield, Cork City. He was the youngest of five brothers: Maurice, Thomas, Liam and Patrick. With his friend and comrade Vol. Dermot Crowley, Tony went to the North Monastery School and also joined the Clann Eireann Athletic Club. He represented both Club and County in juvenile and youth events in athletics. After leaving school Tony began an apprenticeship as a gardener.

Standing over six feet tall with a big physique, he is fondly remembered for his sense of humour. Tony was a very determined, committed and mature young man. The events of the late 1960s and early 1970s made an indelible impression on him. Like many other young volunteers in Cork he was determined to play his part in the freedom revolution. He continually pressed the local leadership to go on active service.

His request was granted and he went to fight alongside the IRA in Fermanagh. The active service unit (ASU) he was attached to had planted a land mine to target British Forces who had been using the Roslea road. The mine went off prematurely at Mullinahinch near Roslea. Tony died on the 10th May 1973. Tony Ahern was the first volunteer from the 26 Counties to be killed on active service in the occupied Six Counties in this phase of struggle.

Significantly, in terms of the continuity of the freedom struggle, among those who attended the funeral was Joe Clarke who fought in the 1916 rising in the Battle of Mount Street Bridge. It was a salute from one remarkable struggle at the beginning of the last century to those who are set to achieve its objectives in this century. Ni dheanfaimid dearmad air go deo. [from Cork Sinn Fein Memorial Page]

Bomb kills Provisional at Border
A 20-YEAR-OLD member of the Provisional I.R.A. from Cork city was killed in a bomb blast near the Fermanagh-Monaghan Border yesterday morning, and an off-duty U.D.R. corporal was shot dead in Co. Tyrone. Gardai and R.U.C. men found the mutilated body of the bomb blast victim in a forest near a road junction in the townland of Mullinahinch, half-a-mile from the Fermanagh village of Roslea, after local people had reported hearing the explosion shortly before 7 a.m. At least three other bombs were found nearby. A Provisional I.R.A. statement, issued in Dublin, said that the man was the first Volunteer from the South to lose his life "while serving with his comrades in the North in the war against British Forces". The statement named the man as Volunteer Tony Ahearne [sic], of St. Joseph's Park, Mayfield, Cork. It said his death was regretted and that the leadership of the Republican Movement expressed their deepest sympathy to his family and relatives. Late last night relatives were reported to be travelling from Cork to Co. Fermanagh to identify the body. Ahearne, an apprentice gardener, lived with is widowed mother. A British Army spokesman said that the body had been spotted by a helicopter crew, but it was five hours before troops approached the body because of the fear that it had been booby-trapped. He said that it appeared that the man had been carrying a bomb which went off prematurely.
Irish Times 11 May 1973

Cork Teenager Dies in Bomb Mission
A 16-YEAR-OLD volunteer in the Provisional I.R.A. was killed instantly yesterday when a bomb he was transporting across the Fermanagh-Monaghan border exploded. He was apprentice gardner Tony Aherne [sic], of 27 St. Joseph's Park, Mayfield, Cork, the youngest of four brothers. His father died some four years ago and he lived with his mother.

A statement from the Republican Publicity Bureau last night, said that Aherne was the first volunteer from the South to die while serving with his comrades in the North "in the war against British forces." The statement, signed "P. O'Neill, Runai," regretted Aherne's death "in a premature explosion" and expressed deepest sorrow to the family and relatives. Last night the body lay in the morgue at Enniskellen County Hospital and one of volunteer Aherne's brothers, Maurice, who is a commercial traveler, was on his way to Enniskillen to positively identify the remains. It is understood the remains may be brought to Cork today.
It is believed that Aherne was carrying or beside the bomb when it went off and he was blown to pieces. The explosion took place in a forest about 30 yards from the main Clones-Roslea road and pieces of his clothing were entangled in trees 40 feet from the ground. The bomb was one of a series of six which were planted at a road junction in the townland of Mullinahinch, half a mile from the Fermanagh village of Roslea. It is understood that they were intended as a booby-trap for British Army patrols. The explosion took place only a few yards from the border and at first it was thought to have gone off in Co. Monaghan. The grim discovery was made simultaneously by members of the Gardai and the R.U.C.

Later a strong detachment of British troops visited the area and with the aid of tracker dogs five more bombs were discovered in the same area. All were detonated by British Army bomb disposal experts. The last of the bombs went off at 8 p.m. while members of the security forces sealed off the roads on both sides of the border. Earlier . . .
Cork Examiner 11 May 1973

Anthony Ahern
AHERN (Cork) — On May 10, 1973 (following an accident) Anthony, youngest son of Margaret, and the late William Ahern, 27 St. Joseph's Park, Mayfield. Deeply and sincerely regretted by his sorrowing mother, brother, relatives and friends. R.I.P. Removal tomorrow (Sunday) evening from Quinn's Funeral Home, Dundalk, to Our Lady Crowned Church, Mayfield, arriving 7 o'clock approximately. Funeral on Monday immediately after 10 o'clock Mass to Carrigaline Cemetery.
The Cork Examiner 12 May 1973

Strict Security for Dead Youth's Funeral
There was strict security last evening when the funeral of the dead Provisional I.R.A. member, Mr. Tony Aherne [sic] passed through Clones on its way from Enniskillen to Cork. The cortege was met at the border by a large force of Irish troops and gardai and was escorted through the town. Gardai and army personnel were also on duty at other border roads in the area.
Cork Examiner 12 May 1973

Bomb Victim's Body Arrives from North
Two thousand people were at the Church of Our Lady Crowned, Mayfield, Cork, last evening when the remains of Anthony Ahern, St. Joseph's Park, Mayfield, the 17 years old youth killed in last Thursday's bomb explosion on the Border, were received by An tAth, Sean Mac Carthaig and An tAth Michael O Riain. The cortege travelled from Enniskillen Mortuary and recieved a garda escort all the way from the border. In Glasnevin, Dublin, several thousand people turned out to pay their last respects and on the journey to Cork, stops were made at Urlingford, Droichead Nua, Cashel, Mitchelstown and Fermoy.

Outside the church at Mayfield, a number of uniformed gardai and Special Branch men under Chief Supt. P. G. Power and Supt. P. O. Connor, were on duty. The church itself was full of mourners and after the Rosary had been recited, they filed past the coffin and a large number of wreaths were place [sic] in the church. The chief mourners were the boy's widowed mother and four brothers, Maurice, Thomas, Liam, and Patrick. The deceased was the youngest of the sons. The funeral will take place today immediately after 10 o'clock Mass to Carrigaline cemetery.
Cork Examiner 14 May 1973

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