by ehistoryadmin on October 19, 2019

The Freeman’s Journal 29 May 1918


Fruitless Police Search in County Kildare

Naas Meeting and After

The police in Co. Kildare are still in search for Mr. Art O’Connor, C.E., on some charge under the Defence of the Realm Act, but up to the present have not succeeded in tracing him. Armed with a warrant for the arrest of Mr. O’Connor, in consequence, it is said, of a speech recently delivered by him, a number of police in two motor cars were pulled up at Celbridge police barracks on Friday evening, where they remained for a considerable time. A Sinn Fein meeting was announced to be held in Celbridge that evening, and the presumption is that the police, with whom were the County Inspector and District Inspector, expected Mr. O’Connor would attend the meeting, after which the arrest could be easily effected. Somehow word got abroad of the object of the constabulary activity, and the police not finding Mr. O’Connor in the town afterwards motored to his residence, Elm Hall, Hazelhatch. There they discovered that Mr. O’Connor was not at home, and having made a search they returned. It is now stated that while the police were in Celbridge Mr. O’Connor visited the town, and was actually within some yards of those who were inquiring for him, but crossing the Liffey bridge, unseen by them, he reached his home, again getting away from there in a motor before the police searched.

Another Escape

Mr. O’Connor attended a meeting at Naas, on Sunday, and delivered an address. He was received with much cheering, and, in the course of his speech, declared his allegiance to Ireland and the men who were deprived their liberty, whose only crime was love of country, and claimed his own God-given right to existence and freedom in his own country.

During his speech several policemen were present, and Mr. Supple, County Inspector, R.I.C., happening to drive past, in a trap, pulled up on seeing Mr. O’Connor and consulted with some of his men, some of whom were observed to ride in different directions in bicycles. Meanwhile, a double file of Volunteers lined up from the rear of the platform to Church lane, adjoining, and when Mr. O’Connor had finished speaking, and while great cheering again broke out, he stepped off the platform, and, accompanied by half a dozen young men, passed through the file of Volunteers, and walked up the laneway. Here he was awaited by some others, who, it is presumed, conveyed him elsewhere, but he was traced no further.

Searching in Vain

Meanwhile a diversion was caused by a rush towards the corner of the Protestant Church adjoining, and here an impenetrable screen of men with bicycles opposed a number of policemen who believed that their quarry was behind. Excitement rose high, but no conflict occurred, and a few minutes later found the police search in vain for their man.

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