Byline: John Breslin
CLOSE to a century after helping the IRA and surviving shooting attempts by the Black and Tans, one of the last credible witnesses of the War of Independence has died aged 105. Kathleen Clancy was just 12 years old when war broke out between Irish guerilla forces and the British government in 1919.
In reminiscences to her family, Mrs Clancy described her involvement in supporting the IRA in her native Westport, Co. Mayo, during the conflict.
She told of dodging British army and police patrols to bring provisions to IRA units in the area.
And she described to her children how she had been shot at and was once threatened by a group of Black and Tans.
'There was one big Black and Tan who knew her and he said, "Kathleen, you little b****, we'll get you yet",' her son Gerry Clancy said, as hundreds of Chicago's tight-knit Irish community and many others gathered at the weekend to remember her. 'She told us as a young girl she would bring them [the IRA units] provisions. They would be sitting around the campfire and she would hold their rifles until they ate,' her son recalled.
Mrs Clancy, who had seven children, 23 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren, died last week at her home on the north side of Chicago, where she had lived since emigrating to the US in the mid-Fifties. Thousands of people, including her six surviving children, paid their respects at a wake on Friday and funeral on Saturday.
She was born Kathleen Kenny on the grounds of Westport House in 1907. She was a sister of the former Mayo footballer Jack Kenny. …