IRA unit disbanded as a political liability

According to Professor Henry Patterson speaking to an Irish Studies conference in Spain recently, Sinn Fein lent heavily on a local IRA unit to disband, because its activities put its attempts to broker a common nationalist front with the SDLP in jeopardy.

His address made reference to the IRA in Fermanagh carrying out a number of widely condemned killings including the Enniskillen bombing in 1987 and the shooting of Jillian Johnston, a 21-year-old Protestant girl sitting in a car with her fiancé. Professor Patterson said that the potential political costs to Sinn Fein of such activities led to the standing down of the local IRA unit.

“Unlike other struggles for national liberation in Africa and Latin America, it was the self designated ‘anti-imperialist’ force that killed far more victims of the Troubles than did the state forces,” Professor Patterson said.

He said that the Provisional IRA was responsible for 48 per cent of deaths while the RUC was responsible for 1.4 per cent and the UDR 0.2 per cent. Even if it was accepted that there was widespread collusion between state forces and loyalist paramilitaries and 50 per cent of those killed by loyalists was added to the security forces’ figure, it would still amount to only 17 per cent of all deaths, he said.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.