I'll be talking with Padraig Óg Ó Ruairc, author Blood On The Banner, today for the podcast which is going live with the next topic focus on Thursday or Friday. I thought I'd draw your attemntion to his rather excellent website www.WarofIndependence.net.
He has posted some pretty challenging pieces on the site including this one on Spies and Informers:
It could be said that the most effective force that the British ever had in Ireland was “St. Georges Cavalry” ie - the gold sovereigns paid to spies and informers.
There are a number of reasons who someone could have become an informer during the war of independence, the most popular suggestion is that people became spies or informers for money or other rewards, but others gave information as the result of a personal grudge, to get revenge, and some gave information because they were loyalists and saw it as their duty to do so believing they were serving King and Country. on a member of the I.R.A.
It is also clear that different categories of suspected spies were treated differently by the I.R.A. in terms of the punishment inflicted. Women for example usually had their heads shaved by the IRA as an act of public humiliation – since the execution of a woman even if she was suspected of spying would have resulted in a lot of anti IRA propaganda. Likewise clergymen of any denomination were unlikely to be shot as spies because of the propaganda coup it would hand to the British in such a fervently religious society. Members or former members of the I.R.A. who were found guilty of spying were often exiled rather than shot, former British army soldiers and active Unionists were more likely to be shot once suspected. Whether a suspected spy was sentenced to death, and executed or punished in some other way often depended on the value of the information they had given and whether it resulted in the capture of I.R.A. arms and the deaths of I.R.A. Volunteers.
There'll be more from Padraig soon, he is writing reviews for HistoryJournal.ie.
PS: if you have an interest in joining us on the review front please e-mail me at eoin.purcell[AT]historyjournal.ie
Christmas Traditions - Live Tomorrow
Barring incidents and accidents, our topic focus on Christmas Traditions will go live tomorrow. I just wanted to share this rather excellent image with you in advance, because I have no space for it in the articles!