A fascinating article on the IRA’s treatment of alleged informers during the 1919-1921 War of Independence popped into my mailbox this morning courtesy of the ever entertaining and informative Irish Republican Education Forum on Facebook.
The article appears on the blog ‘The Irish Story’ and was written by Padraig Og O Ruairc, the Co Clare-born author and historian. O Ruairc examines in detail the where’s, who’s, what’s and when’s of the IRA’s attitude towards British spies and in the first really detailed study of informers during this period, he writes that a total of 196 people were killed by the IRA, allegedly for working for the British.
You can read the whole article here.
Here’s one surprising revelation:
‘The execution of suspected spies was almost exclusively a ‘Southern’ phenomenon. Apart from a cluster of executions in Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan the IRA execution of spies was almost unknown in Ulster.’
Here is his map of executions of informers by the IRA and not surprisingly the bulk of victims were killed in Co Cork, the south Armagh of the 1919-1921 Troubles. Seventy-eight of the 196 slain informers were killed by the IRA in that county.
The most surprising revelation, about which I would like to know more detail, is his claim that the IRA ‘disappeared’, Jean McConville-style, twenty-five alleged informers during the Tan war. Their bodies were never recovered.
Perhaps Mr O Ruairc will some time in the future tell us more about them: who were they and what were the circumstances of their ‘disappearance’?
Were any efforts ever made to locate their bodies? After the Treaty were such victims just forgotten, their fate written out of the story of the fight for Ireland’s independence? Why the silence?
Should the Irish government, which has condemned the Provisional IRA for its behaviour in this regard and co-operated in efforts to recover the ‘disappeared’ from the North, not do more now to restore the ‘disappeared’ from their own conflict and jurisdiction to their families?