Civilian Alfred James Cotter (aged 35) of Ballineen (Ballineen)
Date of incident: 25 Feb. 1921 (killed as suspected spy by IRA)
Sources: CE, 28 Feb. 1921; II, 28 Feb. 1921; IT, 28 Feb. 1921; CCE, 5 March 1921; CWN, 5 March 1921; Nenagh Guardian, 5 March 1921; Military Inquests, WO 35/148/33 (TNA); Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15); ‘Lest We Forget’ (PRONI, D. 989/c/1/51); RIC County Inspector’s Monthly Report, Cork West Riding, Feb. 1921 (CO 904/114, TNA); ‘IRA Intelligence Reports on Civilians Accused of Giving Information to and Associating with British Forces during War of Independence in Counties Cork, Kerry, Waterford, and Limerick’, ca. 1921, CP/4/40 (Military Archives); Jack Hennessy’s WS 1234, 1-2, 12 (BMH); Timothy Warren’s WS 1275, 1-4 (BMH); Fitzgerald (2012), 187; Ó Ruairc (2016), 120.
Note: Alfred Cotter, aged 35, a master baker, was shot in the head and mortally wounded while standing outside his front door in Ballineen at about 9 p.m. on 25 February 1921. He died almost immediately. His killers escaped in the darkness. See CCE, 5 March 1921. The Cork Examiner of 28 February had at first reported that Cotter had been killed at his mother’s house—Monchout in Ballineen. Cotter and his brother Frederick owned and operated a prosperous bakery business in Ballineen. They were the only local traders to refuse to obey a boycott of the local RIC imposed by the Ballineen Company of Volunteers, led by Timothy Warren and Jack Hennessy. Besides violating the boycott, Alfred Cotter allegedly gave information about local Volunteers to the police and the military and even accompanied them when they conducted raids in search of IRA men on the run. Cotter was killed when the West Cork Brigade was ‘cleaning up the British spy ring in West Cork’. See Jack Hennessy’s WS 1234, 12 (BMH). Cotter’s brother (wrongly named as Pierce) was said in an important IRA document to be always in the company of police, soldiers, and Black and Tans, giving them information. See ‘IRA Intelligence Reports on Civilians Accused of Giving Information to and Associating with British Forces during War of Independence in Counties Cork, Kerry, Waterford, and Limerick’, ca. 1921, CP/4/40 (Military Archives).
The name of Alfred Cotter appears in the Compensation Commission Register under 25 February 1921, with the notation that British liability was accepted, and with a note that compensation of £5,000 was awarded. See Register of Compensation Commission (Ireland) Cases of Private Persons (CO 905/15).
The bakery brothers Alfred James Cotter and Frederick Pierce Cotter of Ballineen were adherents of the Church of Ireland. In 1901 they were among the six children (five sons and one daughter) of the merchant Pierce Cotter and his wife Elizabeth (Lizzie) of house 2 in the townland of Lower Teadies near Ballineen.