- Apr 18, 2006
For anyone interested.
Cork Spy Files: Civilian Timothy A. Quinlisk - The Irish RevolutionFew books have shaped our understanding of the War of Independence in County Cork more than Peter Hart’s intensively researched volume The I.R.A. and Its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923, first published in 1998. Yet few books on this subject have received as much sustained criticism in the years since then. Most damaging to many of Hart’s central arguments has been John Borgonovo’s 2007 book Spies, Informers, and the ‘Anti-Sinn Féin Society’: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921. At the centre of both books is the treatment of spies by the IRA. More civilian spies were executed by the IRA in County Cork in 1920-21 than in any other Irish county, and the number of such fatalities was nowhere higher than in Cork city, where Borgonovo found that members of the Cork No. 1 Brigade of the IRA executed as many as twenty-six civilian spies from the start of 1920 to the Truce. But Hart had made such fatalities in the city and county seem even more numerous. ‘Scores of bodies’, Hart insisted, ‘were dumped in fields, lanes, or ditches tagged with messages like “Spies and informers beware” or “Convicted spy”. Scores of others simply disappeared: kidnapped, shot, and secretly buried in some bog or graveyard. At least 204 civilians were deliberately shot by the I.R.A. in [County] Cork in the course of the revolution, the vast majority of whom were alleged to be spies or informers.’ Even if we make a generous allowance for civilians killed as spies in County Cork by both the pro-Treaty and anti-Treaty IRA during the Civil War of 1922-23 (Hart’s sweeping statements and specific numbers include these later victims), the reputed tallies are too high