Off The Record NI picked up on
Lawrence Liam Kennedy’s report which highlights the extent of paramilitary ‘abuse’ of children…
Between 1990 and 2013:
94 children were shot by loyalist paramilitaries.
73 children were shot by republican paramilitaries.
166 children were beaten – some badly mutilated – by loyalist paramilitaries.
178 children were beaten by Republican paramilitaries.
In total, more than 500 children abused by the IRA, UVF, UDA etc.
As Jason Murdoch notes:
There is little doubt that paramilitary abuse during the Troubles was rife – and one disturbing aside of the story is perhaps the abuse that continued after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and occurred under the guise of peace and reconciliation. For the victims of these crimes, no matter of what ‘community’ they live in or political affiliation they hold, man or woman, adult or child, answers are rightfully demanded and rightfully deserved.
Worth adding this from Malachi O’Doherty written last week and long before today’s release, who notes that many of these punishments happened in addition to police and judicial action, and not only to children:
There are several weaknesses in the “policing vacuum” argument for community vigilante attacks on criminals. One is that practically all of those shot or subjected to horrific “punishment” beatings had already been dealt with by the police.
True, many of their victims were dissatisfied with how the law had served them; people getting short sentences or acquittals, but complaints like these are common all over Ireland and Britain. Policing is never perfect and just isn’t vengeful enough for many.
The thug who stole your car or beat up your brother gets three months in a young offenders’ centre; you think he deserves more and there is a neighbourhood vigilante who will do his knees for you.
Here we had political arguments erected in defence of this and even social service interfacings with the vigilantes themselves, but that doesn’t change the basic core of the system.
A clergyman is reported in the papers to have been caught importing homoerotic pornography.
The UVF see him, absurdly, as a danger to children, decide that he hasn’t been punished enough and beat him with nail-studded clubs, the preferred weapon of paramilitaries on ceasefire. He dies. The Rev David Templeton was killed for being gay.
John Collet in Derry, a known sex offender who had already been prosecuted, is kneecapped in his home by Provisionals using a .38 Magnum, a larger-than-customary pistol, and he dies five days later.
Well, that is what a lot of people would like to see done to paedophiles everywhere when the alternative is a sex offenders’ register, lifetime monitoring and the prospect of offending again. Within the Provisional IRA there were senior members in Belfast who argued in the early-1980s that something had to be done about crime.
Busy criminals were drawing the police into the area and this was disrupting IRA operations. They also argued that the skills of the criminals could be put to the service of the IRA. If they were good at stealing cars, they could steal for the Provos.
Several criminals were made to sign amnesty agreements with the IRA.
In these agreements the men undertook to give up their criminal careers and accepted that if they went back to them the IRA would have the right to “execute” them. Three were executed under that initial scheme.
Wednesday’s debate in Dail is billed rather tamely as Statements on allegations regarding sexual abuse by members of the Republican Movement, evincing a ‘will someone (else) please remember the victims’ response from Aonghus O’Snodaigh.
However Fianna Fail will introduce a motion calling for an inquiry into the matter.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty