On Tuesday night the 6th of April 1920 at about half past 10 the then excise officer, J.C McCluskey, had left the Customs and Excise Office on Court Street in Enniscorthy. While walking down Georges Street (now Rafter Street) two strangers appeared from a lane way and approached McCuskey, asking him for a match. He said yes to the strangers and while reaching into his jacket pocket to retrieve a match one of the them pulled a pistol and forced Mr McCluskey to proceed back to the Customs and Excise Office.
Upon reaching the building they found the door to be locked from the inside and forced McCluskey to knock. A woman inside the building looked out to inquire who it was at this hour of the night knocking on the door, to which he had to identify himself. The raiders, whom numbered 6 in total, then gained entry into the premises and proceeded to burn any documents related to income tax for the next half hour. Mr McCluskey was held prisoner during the ordeal. When the raiders were leaving some of the burnt documents fell from the fireplace onto the floor, setting it alight. However Mr McCluskey was luckily quick enough to extinguish the fire.
Where did the strangers come from?
The laneway from which the strangers approached was most likely that which today joins rafter Street to the old Dunnes Stores car park. At the time this was known as Maguire’s Lane, as depicted on the 1905 ordinance survey maps, and would have provided access to the stangers from Rafter Street from Parnell Street. The men were members of the Wexford I.R.A and this raid was one of many throughout the county and country at the time with the aim to deny another aspect of British rule in Ireland and make the country ungovernable.
North Wexford Brigade Activity Files
Enniscorthy Guardian 6th April 1920