Roscommon was not one of the more violent areas of Ireland during the conflict. The local IRA argued to their GHQ that it was very difficult to conduct guerrilla warfare in the flat open countryside there. Prior to the action at Scramogue, the biggest previous incident had been in October 1920, when four RIC policemen were killed in an ambush near Ballinderry.
Sean Connolly had been sent by IRA GHQ from Longford to reorganise the Roscommon Volunteers and had selected the ambush site at Scramogue. However he was killed twelve days before the action at the Selton Hill ambush in neighbouring Co Leitrim.
Both the North and South Roscommon IRA Brigades took part, and were commanded by Patrick Madden. There were 39 volunteers in the column, but only 14 took part in the actual attack, the remainder were tasked with blocking roads to keep the IRA’s line of retreat open…
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