Dr. Michael J. Hillery IRA Brigade Medical Officer during the War of Independence.

Michael Joseph Hillery was born in 1889, son of Pat and Margaret Hillery, nee Vaughan, of Miltown Malbay, Co Clare. Michael joined the local company of the Irish Volunteers in 1917. A practising medical doctor, he served as IRA Brigade Medical Officer during the War of Independence and during the conflict gave instruction in first aid, gave medical attention to wounded and injured IRA members and also attended a number of IRA attacks / operations in his capacity as Medical Officer. He was called on many times to attend to sick and wounded I.R.A. men, sometimes under the most difficult and dangerous travelling conditions. On occasions many of these missions were to isolated areas and had to be made on foot. Following the attack at Crowes Bridge, Inagh, (in which Commandant Martin Devitt was killed) Ignatius O’Neill was critically wounded, Dr Hillery was called on to render medical aid and after a diagnosis of O’Neill’s wound, he expressed grave concern at his condition and said that it was of the utmost importance to have him removed immediately to a nursing home, where proper medical aid could be provided.At the time few people were aware that the private nursing home to which he was removed was none other than Dr Hillery’s own residence, located within sixty yards of the headquarters of the Black and Tans in Miltown Malbay.

After the Rineen ambush he was again called on to give medical aid when his former patient Ignatius O’Neill and Michael Curtin had become victims of enemy bullets. Michael Hillery also attended Brigade Council meetings and was present at/involved in planning for attacks. In April 1921 He was arrested and detained by British forces for a week. In November 1921. During the Truce Period he was appointed IRA Divisional Medical Officer and joined/transferred to the National Army on its foundation in early 1922. He served during the Civil War as a Divisional Medical Officer until his resignation on the 1 st of September 1922. Civilian Life. Michael Hillery served as a medical officer with Clare County Board of Health from the 1920s, as Coroner for West Clare in the 1940s and 1950s, as a medical officer to An Garda Síochána in the 1940s and 1950s and as a Certifying Surgeon with the Department of Industry and Commerce in the 1940s and 1950s. He also practised in the Meath Hospital, and as a lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. Dr Michael Hillery died on the 16th of October 1957 and is buried in Ballard Road Cemetery

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