Padraic Mac CoitirI know this is a touchy subject for some but I feel I need to comment on it Again.

For years I've seen comments about IRA volunteers dying, whether on active service, on hunger strike, natural causes whilst imprisoned, ambushed by unionists gangs in their home or on the street. In my opinion a volunteer joined knowing the risk of gaol, on the run or being killed. I presume none thought of any of the above on their last operation but they may well have known each was possible. When they have died I don't think the word 'murdered' should be used. They either died on active service, on hunger strike, in prison or were assassinated. 

I can fully understand some people referring to their loved one, close friend or comrade, saying they were 'murdered' but If I was a member of the IRA who died in any of the above situations I wouldn't want my dying to be referred as 'murdered'. If I was a member I'd know the risks of being involved. Were Emmet, Pearse, Connolly, Clarke, Mellows, McKelvey, Lynch, McCaughey, South, O'Hanlon, McDermott, Sands, McDonnell, Devine, Campbell, Farrell, McCracken and many others 'murdered'? I would argue each and every one of them knew the risks they took when they went out and faced an enemy that is still here.

PS. In March 1986 a comrade and I were shot and captured by the RUC. A peeler was also shot and we could well have been killed, as that was their intention, but the cowards didn't finish us off. I got 20 years & my comrade got 18 years. Did we whinge about it court in April the following year? No fucking way. So if they'd have killed us our families would Never have said we were 'murdered'. We were combatants although not done with membership of the IRA we obviously can't say we were members of that Once great guerrilla army.

Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

Murdered?

Padraic Mac CoitirI know this is a touchy subject for some but I feel I need to comment on it Again.

For years I've seen comments about IRA volunteers dying, whether on active service, on hunger strike, natural causes whilst imprisoned, ambushed by unionists gangs in their home or on the street. In my opinion a volunteer joined knowing the risk of gaol, on the run or being killed. I presume none thought of any of the above on their last operation but they may well have known each was possible. When they have died I don't think the word 'murdered' should be used. They either died on active service, on hunger strike, in prison or were assassinated. 

I can fully understand some people referring to their loved one, close friend or comrade, saying they were 'murdered' but If I was a member of the IRA who died in any of the above situations I wouldn't want my dying to be referred as 'murdered'. If I was a member I'd know the risks of being involved. Were Emmet, Pearse, Connolly, Clarke, Mellows, McKelvey, Lynch, McCaughey, South, O'Hanlon, McDermott, Sands, McDonnell, Devine, Campbell, Farrell, McCracken and many others 'murdered'? I would argue each and every one of them knew the risks they took when they went out and faced an enemy that is still here.

PS. In March 1986 a comrade and I were shot and captured by the RUC. A peeler was also shot and we could well have been killed, as that was their intention, but the cowards didn't finish us off. I got 20 years & my comrade got 18 years. Did we whinge about it court in April the following year? No fucking way. So if they'd have killed us our families would Never have said we were 'murdered'. We were combatants although not done with membership of the IRA we obviously can't say we were members of that Once great guerrilla army.

Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

10 comments:

  1. Is this a mere academic point on minutiae? Or a fundamental point on legitimacy and identity? I was always struck by the number of men in the Blocks who claimed that they were there because they had 'murdered a cop or Brit. It left me with the impression that they did not fully understand what they had gotten themselves involved in. One man once told me that he would tell a priest in confession whatever he did as a member ofvtge IRA. Then he could not understand how I could say that if he thought IRA membership and activities were sins then in his conscience he knew that he was wrong and never should have done any of it on that basis.

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  2. Il est difficile de ne pas trouver absurde de croire de telles choses.

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  3. Just for clarity, when it comes to combatants in any conflict they can be legitimately killed in action, or, unlawfully killed outside of the rules of engagement. Hence neither side 'murders' the other -or, depending on the circumstances they can unlawfully kill opponents; such as summary executions of captives or in some cases killing when the option to capture was available. The term 'murder' denotes criminal motives.

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  4. The author's point was that if the IRA claims to be engaged in a war then it is not useful to describe its volunteers as being the victim of murder. But SF has in recent years sought to undermine that logic with its approval of prosecutions for IRA personnel in the Diplock Courts where the evidence is available

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  5. AM

    I got that from the get go and what I have said is consistent with that. In otherwords terminology like murder of combatants is not correct regardless of which side uses it. And my examples were to show that some Republicans have very little conscious understanding of the implications when using descriptive words like murder.

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    1. I didn't experience much of people saying they thought it was wrong or sinful but jail was not the environment most conducive to that type of candour.

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  6. AM, only 1 guy described his activities in the IRA as sins he needed absolution for. Many others used the term murder as commonplace to describe the killing of members of the security forces. So referring to the deaths of IRA volunteers as murder is consistent with whatever view many republicans with that sort of terminology. I don't think they understand the connotations when using the term. I also do not think it can be isolated from the more holistic usage of the term that I have given.

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  7. Murder is an apt term when one endeavors to point out that the State does indeed murder. After all the same State like to label anyone else that kills as murderers as if they are holier than everyone else.

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  8. Micko, murder is apt when deliberately targeting civilians, but as Chopper points out, it is different for combatants who voluntarily accept the risks they are taking. In international law it is unlawful killing when deliberately killing opposing combatants contrary to the Geneva Convention or other rules if engagement. If you recall the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falkland war when the ship was actually outside the agreed combat zone. Over 300 Argentines were killed and although still controversial today the Arginine do not consider those killed were murdered.

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