IRA Man: Talking with the Rebels

IRA Man: Talking with the Rebels

IRA Man: Talking with the Rebels

IRA Man: Talking with the Rebels

Synopsis

This is the compelling story of a former Jesuit who traveled to Ireland in order to better understand the IRA, its widespread support among Irish Catholics, and the country's continuing civil unrest. Author Douglass McFerran, an American, made many key contacts in Northern Ireland, enabling him to gain unprecedented access to republican groups. He met with members of the Orange Lodge and the heavily armed Royal Ulster Constabulary; he had tea with leaders of Sinn Fein; and he participated in the annual Internment, March on the streets of Belfast. In this book he provides a history of the conflict in Ireland and goes beyond the propaganda on both sides to understand the causes of today's violence and explore what would be necessary to end it.

Excerpt

This is a book about what is happening in Ireland, specifically about the guerrilla war of the group labeled IRA—the Irish Republican Army. Today there are only a few hundred active IRA men, less than a battalion in military terms, who command the attention of some thirty thousand soldiers and policemen in the six northern counties—what is called Ulster or Northern Ireland by the British—and countless more security experts and counterterrorist operatives in England, Europe, and even the United States. To the extent the IRA is able to take the war to its enemy, as it has demonstrated repeatedly through the bombings in England, each volunteer has the potential to disrupt the lives of millions. To understand why this situation ever came about, it is necessary to learn as much as possible about the mind-set not just of the IRA man but also of all those who assist him, since a strong level of support within the community is essential to any successful guerrilla operation.

The task I set myself over a year ago was to get as close as I could to the lived reality of those who call themselves “republicans” (supporters of the Irish Republic envisioned in the rebellion of 1916, depicted in the film Michael Collins but, in their eyes, not to be realized until the last British soldier has left Irish soil), and thus think of the IRA as their own army and, to some extent, their only true government. Along the way I became something of an IRA man myself, at least to the extent that I no longer just discussed the IRA but now also defended it.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.