The local man credited with shooting James Connolly during the Easter Rising is to be commemorated at the Buttergate this Saturday by the opening of a special Garden of Remembrance in his honour.
Joxer Hoey from Pearse Park was one of many Louth men to enlist in the British Army. The prospect of following his father into the local soup factory and a loveless marriage to a second cousint didn’t appeal. Joxer took the King’s shilling.
Speaking in 1966, Hoey recalled events.
“I’d no interest in Nationalism or Home Rule or any of that nonsense. Die for Ireland? Only fools believe that auld shite. The Brits paid well for shooting people – it ticked all my boxes.”
Private Hoey was home on leave from the Western Front when news of rebellion hit Pearse Park.
“This Peaus fellow was misrepresenting Peaus Paak. I was furious. I’m frum Peaus Paak! The lads in my battalion fighting the real war would be laughing at me. I grabbed me rifle and cycled full pelt to Dublin to shoot the blaggard.”
But the cycle to Dublin had left Joxer out of puff – he had been used to cycling in kilometres in France so travelling in longer units of measurement took its toll on his energy reserves – a factor he blames on missing Pearse.
“I took a few pot shots at Peaus but missed and the ricochet hit some old grouch (Connolly) in the leg so it was worth the cycle up in the end. I was commended for wounding the enemy and a few of the lads I knew in the firing squad said my work med it easier for them as he was tied to a chair when they shot him.”
Work on the garden will be completed by 24th April when a ceremonial re-enactment of Joxer’s role in events will take place. This Saturday will mark 100 years to the day since the Rising began.