…for fear of alienating the Unionist vote… #Brexit

A pivotal moment in the relationship of London and the European community, Unionist votes holding a precarious balance of power, Conservative government policy (including security policy in the north) subject to the need to keep the Unionist votes on side. While no-one seems to have drawn the parallel, we have been here before and theContinue reading “…for fear of alienating the Unionist vote… #Brexit”

The Al Rawdah prison ship, 1940-41

Here is a history of the Al Rawdah prison ship. It was in use only briefly (in 1940-41) but falls within a longer history of the use of prison ships as internment camps in Ireland, including the Postlethwaite in 1798, prison ships transporting convicts overseas, the Argenta in 1922-24 and more recently the Maidstone inContinue reading “The Al Rawdah prison ship, 1940-41”

Revisiting 1969: Internment

The use of internment by the Unionist government is often associated with the 9th August 1971 when mass arrests took place across the north. However, internment had been used on a frequent basis by the Unionist government since 1922. Whilst hundreds of men and women were interned in 1938-1945 and 1957-1962, there were a numberContinue reading “Revisiting 1969: Internment”

The Irish Press editorial, 11/8/1971: #BallymurphyMassacre

This is the editorial from The Irish Press two days after the mass internment of Catholics on 9th August 1971. THE MESSAGE FROM BELFAST Either the British Army has assumed the role of the B Specials or the orders given to the soldiers on the ground in the North do not specify their peacekeeping role.Continue reading “The Irish Press editorial, 11/8/1971: #BallymurphyMassacre”

Internment, 9 August, 1971

On 9th August, 1971, the Unionist government used the Section 12 of the Special Powers Act to arrest and intern hundreds of men. The arrest policy concentrated almost uniquely on Catholics, targeting those believed to be republicans although it included some other individuals such as anarchist John McGuffin (you can read his book on InternmentContinue reading “Internment, 9 August, 1971”

Map of IRA and Cumann na mBan suspects in Belfast

Here is the RUC’s complete suspect list for the IRA and Cumann na mBan in Belfast in the late 1930s, including both the IRA A list and B list. The A list largely contains those who the RUC had previously arrested and held for various periods of time. Together, the combined lists contain five hundred andContinue reading “Map of IRA and Cumann na mBan suspects in Belfast”

Rocky Burns, 1921-44

Rocky Burns was the 23 year old O/C of the Belfast IRA who was shot dead in February  1944. Jim Burns, also known as Seamus and, more commonly, Rocky, had first been imprisoned as a seventeen year old Fianna member in April 1938, for possession of a banned publication. Released that September he joined the IRA, only to getContinue reading “Rocky Burns, 1921-44”

Deaths during internment in the north in the 1940s

Around 400 men and women were imprisoned for political reasons by the northern government during 1938-50. Of that 400, at least twelve are believed to have died from illnesses and complications arising from the conditions of their imprisonment, a mortality rate of about 3%. Typically, to provide some level of deniability, the northern government releasedContinue reading “Deaths during internment in the north in the 1940s”

Internment during the British royal visit to Belfast, 1951

The Unionist government rarely used the  Special Powers Act to intern political opponents between 1945 and its re-introduction in 1956. One of the only occasions on which it did so was in May 1951 to coincide with a visit to Belfast by members of the British royal family. The Unionist government had used internment in a similar way on various occasionsContinue reading “Internment during the British royal visit to Belfast, 1951”