Tribute to Frank Flood

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Dublin City Council has officially named a bridge in north Dublin after a 19-year-old student of University College Dublin and head of an IRA unit who was executed during the War of Independence.

Dubliner Frank Flood was hanged at Mountjoy jail in March 1921 after being captured by British forces following the Drumcondra ambush, where the IRA unit he was leading was caught attacking an RIC lorry that was crossing the Drumcondra bridge.

He’s known as one of ‘The Forgotten Ten’, who were executed and buried in unmarked graves on unconsecrated ground.

Flood was an engineering student in his second year at University College Dublin, where he had become firm friends with Kevin Barry. He had served in the same “H” Company as his friend but had recently been promoted to 1st Lieutenant of an Active Service Unit.

On Friday, January 21, Flood and ten comrades from the 1st Battalion moved into positions near a bridge on the main road leading north from Dublin. From there they hoped to attack one of the many RIC patrols which used the road to drive to and from their base at Gormanstown, near Drogheda.

The Volunteers loop-holed a brick wall and a fence near the bridge and constructed a trench inside the wall. Their movements, however, attracted suspicion, the authorities were informed, and a large number of Auxiliaries were despatched to the scene. In the meantime, the ambushers had commenced an attack upon two lorry-loads of RIC constables, who returned fire until the vehicles were able to accelerate out of range.

As the Volunteers were dispersing, the Auxiliaries arrived at the rear of the Volunteers and cut off their escape. Some managed to run across fields to safety but five were arrested as they attempted to seek refuge in houses in the vicinity. All of the prisoners were found in possession of revolvers and ammunition, while Frank Flood was also found to have a grenade in his pocket.

He was charged with High Treason, found guilty, and executed by hanging on March 14th 1921 at Mountjoy Prison. Kevin Barry had gone to his death in much the same way in 1920, and it is said Flood requested to be buried as close as possible to his former friend and comrade.

Three of his comrades in the ambush were executed on the same day, while another died a week later as a result of his wounds.

On 4 October 2001, The Forgotten Ten were afforded full state honours with a private service at Mountjoy, followed by a requiem mass at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. The cortege passed through the centre of Dublin and was witnessed by tens of thousands of people.

Nine of the ten, including Frank Flood and Kevin Barry, were re-interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.

A plaque was unveiled by Mayor of Dublin Micheal Mac Donncha at the naming ceremony this week, officially declaring the bridge at the centre of the IRA attack to be the Frank Flood Bridge. Members of Frank Flood’s family attended the ceremony.

“Frank Flood typified the bravery and dedication of thousands of republicans throughout history who were willing to sacrifice their lives and liberty, but [who] remain unknown to the general public,” said independent councillor Cieran Perry at the ceremony.

“I don’t think we can overestimate the importance of commemorating the heroic men and women who risked all to free the country.”

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