MEMORIAL UNVEILED TO FORMER MONAGHAN T.D. DR PADDY MAC CARVILL
Michael Fisher Northern Standard Thursday 16th July
Memories of the War of Independence in County Monaghan and Civil War which divided the allegiances of some families were evoked during the unveiling near Threemilehouse on Sunday of a memorial plaque to honour former Monaghan TD Dr Paddy Mac Carvill.
The ceremony was performed by the former Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell S.C., who is married to Niamh Brennan, a granddaughter of Dr Mac Carvill. The former leader of the Progressive Democrats said Dr Mac Carville whose background and history, elected three times to Dáil Éireann, contained lessons for us all. He told the assembled crowd he was proud that his three sons had the blood in their veins of such a patriot, scholar and gentleman. It was most important that his memory and great patriotism be kept and observed in his native county, especially in this decade of centenaries.
The simple black stone plaque is engraved with the name of Dr Mac Carvill and the dates May 1893 – March 1955. The plaque is set into a rebuilt stone wall at the entrance to the former MacCarvill homestead at Blackraw in the parish of Corcaghan.
Dr Mac Carvill’s daughter, 90 year-old Maire Brady from Cork, travelled to Monaghan for the occasion as did his son Niall from Dublin. Two of his five children, Éilish and Éimhear (also a medical doctor) passed away in recent years. The Moyna family were also represented, with twins Mackie (Dublin) and Tommy both present, as well as Tommy (junior), Scotstown. Mackie Moyna (junior) read a speech on behalf of his uncle.
Following the unveiling, some of the relatives took the opportunity to stroll up the lane and visit the former family homestead, now derelict and owned by the Reilly family. It used to be a thatched house with two bedrooms and the sleeping accommodation for Paddy and his four brothers was in the loft.
In the speech read out on behalf of Mackie Moyna, he detailed how Paddy’s mother Susan was a Moyna before marriage and it was thanks to the generosity of her brother Fr Michael Moyna, Dean of the diocese of Toronto, that the ten children of John and Susan Mac Carvill received an education.
Paddy, the youngest of the clan, attended Drumsheeny National School until he was twelve and then entered St Macartan’s College in Monaghan as a boarder, followed by St Michael’s in Enniskillen, where his older brother, Fr Michael, was a curate. At 18 he entered UCD as a medical student and took first place in Ireland in his final exams.
As a young doctor Patrick Mac Carvill and his brother Johnny were involved in the IRA in Monaghan in 1919 in the war against the Black and Tans. He was elected as a Republican TD, imprisoned at different times by the British and Free State governments in Belfast, Wormwood Scrubs in London, Dartmoor, as well as Mountjoy and Kilmainham in Dublin. He also went on hunger strike at one stage. His fiancée and future wife, Eileen McGrane, was Michael Collins’s secretary when he was on the run, was captured and imprisoned by the British and later by the Free State government, joining McCarvill on hunger strike.
Paddy Mac Carvill was medical officer to the 5th Northern Division of the IRA and was at the rescuing of Matt Fitzpatrick from the County Hospital in Monaghan.
In August 1923 President Cosgrave dissolved the Dáil and announced a snap General Election for the fourth Dáil. This election caught the anti-Treaty Sinn Féin party unprepared, yet 44 members were elected and one of those was Paddy Mac Carvill, representing his county of Monaghan as he had also done in the election of June 1922.
In 1924 Paddy Mac Carvill returned to live in Dublin and in 1925 he married his fiancée Eileen McGrane, who hailed from Co Westmeath and who had been a prisoner in Mountjoy when Paddy was transferred there from Dartmoor.
In the June 1927 eletion Paddy Mac Carvill stood as a Fianna Fáil candidate and again was elected for County Monaghan. He took his seat in August but when a snap election was called the following month he decided to retire from politics and concentrated on his medical practice. .
Paddy Mac Carvill gained eminence in his profession, becoming a specialist in dermatology and lecturing on the subject in UCD. He was a consultant to St Anne’s and St Luke’s Hospitals as well as Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street.
On May 22 1946, Paddy Mac Carvill wrote to de Valera regarding the sacking of his brother Johnny from his position as manager and secretary of Monaghan Bacon Company, of which Dr Con Ward T.D. was managing director. Mr de Valera established a tribunal to investigate the allegations. The tribunal did not report that Dr. Ward was guilty of any improper conduct in the actual execution of the duties that pertained to his role as Parliamentary Secretary in the Department of Local Government and Public Health but he offered his resignation and it was accepted on July 12th 1946, exactly 69 years ago on Sunday.
Éamon de Valera called a snap general election in February 1948. Paddy Mac Carvill came out of political retirement and stood again in Monaghan as a candidate for Séan Mac Bride’s Clann na Poblachta, as did his brother-in-law Aodh de Blacam for Co Louth. Neither was elected. Representatives of the de Blacam family attended the plaque unveiling.
Reflecting on his other family connections, Michael McDowell, whose grandfather was Eoin Mac Neill, commented: “From the constitutional, nationalist Redmondite lawyer to the anti-Treaty Republican hunger strikers, my three sons’ eight great-grandparents span a broad spectrum of nationalist and separatist activity in those years (around 1919-22). Three of them became parliamentarians; three served multiple prison terms. They each endured a great deal of personal tragedy and sacrifice.”
In the Bureau of Military History records for 1913-21 there is a statement made in 1954 by a Monaghan man James McKenna, then a Garda Superintendent in Bandon Co. Cork, and a native of Aughaloughan, Glaslough. He was Captain of Donagh Company IRA, O/C North Monaghan Brigade, 5th Northern Division, in which Dr Paddy Mac Carvill served. Superintendent McKenna recounts the activities of the North Monaghan Flying Column:
“In September 1920 I joined a Flying Column which was organised by Comdt. D. Hogan who was i/c of the unit. It consisted of about sixteen men. Tom Coffey, Clones, was one Section Leader and I was the other. The other members were Matt Fitzpatrick, Frank Tummin, John Donohue, James Murphy, James Winters, Dr. P. McCarville, Phil Marron, Paddy McCarron, Tom Cosgrave, Billy McMahon, Paddy McGrory, Tom Clerkin and James Flynn. As a column we lay in position awaiting patrols on the Clones/Newbliss road, around Scotstown and near Clogher, Co. Tyrone, but in vain. We took the mails off the Belfast 8. to Clones; train at Smithboro and burned a military repair van at Bragan. The three members of the Column from Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh, Matt Fitzpatrick, Frank Tümmin and John Donohue, also John McGonnell, expressed their desire to return to their respectiye units as they felt that While our living quarters were in the Knockatallon Mountains we could not contact the enemy except in units too strong for our strength and equipment. Dan Hogan consented to their request and they immediately left for their units. Early next morning we heard the sound of army lorries coming. Some of them rushed up a mountain road (leading to a shooting lodge of Lord Rossmore) in an effort to cut us off. We all escaped except Dr. McCarville. He and Billy McMahon had stayed the previous night in a house which was nearer the main road than the house we: occupied. The Company Captain, John Brennan, who lived up the mountainside, rushed inland (on hearing the sound of the lorries) to guide the doctor and McMahon to safety. He took them by the course we had gone. As they approached a gap in a mountain ridge the military had advanced more than when we had passed, and fired an occasional shot at the three men. The doctor got nervous and took cover behind the bank of a mountain stream and was captured. Brennan and McMahon continued on and escaped safely. We were also under long range fire when retreating. There was snow on the mountains, not sufficient to completely cover the heather, which made visibility poor and favoured us. We fired an occasional shot on the military to delay their advance as we expected the doctor and McMahon to follow us. The military burned our living quarters and we all returned to our units.”