The spectre of ‘the Disappeared’, those abducted, secretly executed and their bodies buried in remote locations, has overshadowed the debate around the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland for the last two decades. Yet what most people don’t realise is that ‘forced disappearances’ have been part of violent political conflicts in Ireland for over 200 years.
This groundbreaking book, the first of its kind, looks at the history of this practice in Ireland and identifies all known victims over the last century, from the North King Street Massacre in 1916 right up to 2003. Ó Ruairc cuts through the exaggeration and myth that pervade the popular history of the ‘Good Old IRA’ to prove that this organisation was particularly ruthless in using this course of action during the War of Independence and Civil War, much more so than their successors in the Provisional IRA or the British forces in Ireland. The author also reveals how his research has helped locate several bodies of those long missing, one of which has already been recovered and given a proper burial.
Behind each disappearance there is the story of a life cut short and a family left searching for answers. Ó Ruairc deftly incorporates this human element, preserving the memory of those who were disappeared on both sides of the conflict.
|Padraig Og O Ruairc
|Irish Academic Press
|26 Jan 2024