First IRA Man to be killed on active service
Full article By Paul Ainsworth
Andersonstown News 7 September 2010
IRA Volunteer Michael was killed in Newforge Lane in South Belfast, while his comrade Tony O’Kane was seriously injured, and was only discovered after the RUC followed a trail of his blood to a nearby house.
Following his untimely death, Michael’s funeral left the family home in Westrock, Ballymurphy, and he was buried in the Republican Plot in Milltown Cemetery.
However, the Remembering Our Volunteers Committee are hoping that, despite the passage of time, Michael has remained more than just a name on a roll of honour, or a statistic in Ireland’s bloody history, but rather remembered as a local man who cared deeply about his family and community.
A French polisher by trade, Michael ran a business in the Short Strand area of East Belfast, where he was thrust into one of the defining moments of the recent troubles.
As Remembering Our Volunteers Committee Member Marty O’Hara explained, Michael fought in the ‘Battle of St Matthews’ in the Short Strand just months before he lost his life.
“When the area came under attack from loyalists, Michael was ready to defend the residents. This reflects his own grandfather Jack Coogan’s role in defending areas during the pogroms of the 1920s,” he said.
With republicanism in his blood, Michael went on to play an active role in the transformation of the Provisional IRA’s campaign to offensive from defensive. However, behind his military role lay the quintessential “ordinary man” of Belfast, who enjoyed his family, friends, music, and having a bit of craic.
“He was a father of three sons and three daughters,” continued Marty.
“And although he loved socialising, he was a teetotaller. Meanwhile, he was a keen musician, playing the guitar, and enjoyed songs ranging from ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’, to Tom Jones’ ‘The Green Green Grass of Home’.
Oglach Micheal Kane fuair se bas ar son na saoirse na hEireann
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