Paddy Flanagan (the oldest member of The Squad)
Dalton had done most to find the information to condemn the men in the house in Pembroke Street. He had courted the maid there, got an IRA man employed as the porter ; he watched until he knew that the two men he wanted slept in rooms on the third floor. The rest of the British officers in the house were lives that may or may not be taken on the day. Dalton met Paddy Flannigan at five minutes to nine as they had arranged the night before. There were brief introductions to the men Flannagan had brought along. Daltons said
I was with Flannagan and 2 fellows and we went up the left hand stairs to the third flight. I knew the one where Dowling and Montgomery were for the girl had told me. The other doorway was adjacent and there was a landing …The two lads were in bed in pyjamas and Paddy Flannigan said for us and they got up rather startled and I thought this was the [time?] and I wanted the papers. They were against the wall when Paddy fired. The fellows fell and they made a gurgling sound. Said I to Paddy Flannigan ‘ I want to search the bloody room.’ ‘Get to hell out of this ’ said Paddy. The other fellows brought their men to the hallway. They had the men in pyjamas and they had their hands up. I was stopped by the 3rd Bn officers. ‘Who are you they asked?’ ‘I’m an intelligence officer’, I said and here were not more than 6 or 7 in the house. The[y] were lined up. They were held up on the staircase to the cellers. I saw one hit the floor and [fall] down the stairs. Paddy Flannigan said goodbye and went up by Earlsfort Terrace.
The two lads in the pyjamas were Major C. M. C. Dowling and Captain Leonard Price. It was not Montgomery as Dalton suspected. Paddy Flannigan shot Dowling twice and Price once and Flannigan was an accurate shot. The bullets to the chest killed both.
Mick O’Hanlon remembered, “When we got in we found our man had a girl and that he was covering the door and the landing …none of us fired as she was in bed with him and she covered him with her arms…But this moment soon passed. Following the hesitation O’Hanlon notes simply, “Mick Flanagan shot him.” Some didn’t hesitate. O’Hanlon also recalled that one of the victims, “an old major”, had a meal prepared. “Mick White ate the breakfast.”
I was then instructed by him to attend at Oriel Hall at the back of Amiens Street Railway Station on a certain night, late in 1920, for the formation of the Unit. I attended at Oriel Hall on the appointed night and there I met between 40 and 50 other members from different units in the Brigade. We were addressed by Oscar Traynor. First of all he told us that Michael Collins was to have been there but was unable to make it. He then informed us that the British were becoming too cocky in the city and were being allowed too much freedom of movement to carry out their policy of subduing the population and that it had been decided to counter this activity by giving them battle on our own ground. Whilst complimenting us on our patriotism in coming forward he said that he did not hold out much hope of us surviving but then he added that there would be more men to take our places. We were then organised into four Sections, one Section to operate in each of the four Battalion areas. Our assignment to the different Sections was decided by our individual places of residence in the city. As I was residing at that time in the 4th Battalion area I was assigned to the Section in that area. On that night also, Paddy Flanagan, who came from the 3rd Battalion, was appointed O/C of the Unit. Section Commanders were appointed for each Section and Gus Murphy was appointed Section Commander of our Section with the 4th Battalion. When Gus was killed Micky Sweeney took his place. The Unit worked in the following manner: