Royal Irish Academy

A Revolution in Profiles - Co. Offaly

In association with The Royal Irish Academy

Daniel/Dan Hoey 1888-1919

Daniel Hoey was born in Rhode in 1888. His parents Peter and Bridget Hoey farmed at Clonmeen. Hoey joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police in 1910. The Leinster Leader described him as…

‘A sober, steady, ambitious young fellow, he soon got on and was very shortly transferred to the detective division, in which his figure became speedily familiar to the Dublin people. Over 6 feet in height, dark, good looking, athletic and always immaculately attired he was more of the city than of the country type.’ (1)

Joining G Division, Hoey was charged with investigating of seditious activity. The division had played a prominent role in thwarting the activities of the Fenians during the 1860’s and in the suppression of the National Invincibles in the 1880’s.

Hoey was deployed to monitor the arrival of suspected subversives at Dublin train stations and follow them to meetings with known separatist leaders such as Tom Clarke.

In the aftermath of the Easter Rebellion, Hoey became a particular bête noire for republicans who held him responsible for the identification of executed leaders, in particular Seán Mac Diarmada at whose court martial he gave evidence.

Hoey also served as a bodyguard to several Chief Secretaries for Ireland including Henry Duke, Edward Shortt, and Ian MacPherson.

In 1917, Hoey’s activities were criticised during a Sinn Féin rally at Edenderry, but he continued to visit and financially support his family at Rhode. Edenderry 1916 veteran Michael Foley suggested that Hoey used his trips to north Offaly to cultivate intelligence sources in the area.

Throughout 1919 republican hostility towards policemen escalated. During that Spring, members of G Division received threating letters, homes were raided, and one detective was assaulted. Some officers attempted to avoid confrontation with republicans. Others like Ned Broy had already begun to provide intelligence to Michael Collins.

By July, Collins and Dick McKee had recruited the nucleus of a Squad to carry out shootings on hostile detectives and suspected informers. This group centred around Easter Week veterans Mick McDonnell and Paddy O’Daly. On 30 July, Hoey’s colleague Sergeant Patrick Smith was shot close to his home in Drumcondra. Badly wounded Smith died of his wounds at the Mater hospital on 8 September.

Smith’s death was among the factors with influenced the decision by British authorities to suppress Dáil Éireann. On 12 September, Hoey joined a police raid on Sinn Féin headquarters at Harcourt Street. During the operation, two TD’s, Ernest Blythe and Padraig O’Keefe were arrested but Michael Collins managed to escape.

Hoey was already a target for assassination, but in the aftermath of Collins’s close call, Mick McDonnell mobilised Jim Slattery and Tom Ennis. Both men had taken part in the earlier shooting of Sergeant Smith. Slattery later told the Bureau of Military History…

‘Mick McDonnell called on me at 9 Woodville Road on an evening in September, 1919, and asked me would I mind going on a job. I told him I would not mind, and he said, “They very nearly got the man we want to guard. They nearly got him to-day” – he was referring to Mick Collins. That was the first, time I got an inkling that Collins was the heart of things. There had been a raid on the Sinn Féin headquarters at 6 Harcourt Street, and Collins had a very narrow escape. It became very urgent to get Detective Officer Hoey, because he was the leading spirit in the raiders, and at this time Daly and Kilcoyne had been looking for him for a fortnight.’ (2)

Shortly before 10 pm, McDonnell, Slattery and Ennis shot Hoey dead on Townsend Street a short distance from Great Brunswick Street police station. He appears to have been unarmed, just over £7 and some religious emblems was found on his person.

In November another detective, Sergeant John Barton was shot dead. While G Division continued to exist until the signing of the Treaty, its effectiveness as an intelligence gathering organisation diminished greatly after 1919. After an inquest at Mercer’s Hospital, Hoey’s cortege travelled to Rhode church for a funeral mass attended by family, friends and DMP members. He was buried in the adjoining graveyard.  

The Author wishes to acknowledge the existing work on Daniel Hoey by Phillip McConway, T Ryle Dywer and Ciaran Reilly

Sources:

1901 and 1911 Census. Search online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/

Bureau of Military History Statements: James Slattery (Witness 445). James Kavanagh (Witness 889)

Easter Rising Court Marital transcripts online at https://courtmartial.nationalarchives.ie/pdf/355_Sean_McDermott.pdf

Military Service Pension Collection. Michael Patrick Foley MSP34REF20779. Search online at https://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/military-service-pensions-collection-1916-1923

T. Ryle Dwyer. The Squad: and the intelligence operations of Michael Collins. (Cork) 2005.

Dr. Philip McConway. ‘Offaly’s links to the 1916 Rising’. Online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkEiuHJc8J0

Daithí O Corráin and Eunan O’Halpin. The dead of the Irish Revolution. (Yale) 2020. 

Ciaran Reilly. Edenderry 1916 and the revolutionary era. (Edenderry) 2016.

Sean Ryan. ‘Shooting the Dog’ History Ireland July/August 2019 online at https://www.historyireland.com/shooting-the-dog/

James Scannell. ‘Attacks against the DMP 1919’ An Costantoir March 2020 online at https://digital.jmpublishing.ie/i/1215504-march-2020/29?

Freemans Journal. 20 September 1919. Leinster Leader 20 September 1920.

(1) Leinster Leader 20 September 1920.

(2) Bureau of Military History Statements: James Slattery (Witness 445).

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