Cork spy files

eoghanacht

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For anyone interested.

Few 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
Cork Spy Files: Civilian Timothy A. Quinlisk - The Irish Revolution


EDIT:http://theirishrevolution.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/CorkSpyFiles-Database-27.08.2016.pdf
 
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rockofcashel

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Surely the good old IRA didn't shoot anyone as an informer.. I thought they were fine chaps
 

enuffisenuff

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Water Protest - Cant Pat Wont Pay - cue bully boy tactics....fire out the waters not free line....non payers will be chased.....call in revenue to collect...etc etc

Apple - Can Pay Wont Pay - ahh sure ure alright
 

DaveM

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The list of academics who have taken Hart's contentions and those of his non-academic cheerleaders (Myers, Harris, etc.) to the cleaners is as long as your arm at this stage.

A few good books on this issue for anyone interested in the topic...

Spies, Informers and the 'Anti-Sinn Fein Society': The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1919-1921 by John Borgonovo.

Massacre in West Cork: The Dunmanway and Ballygroman Killings by Barry Keane.

Truce - Murder, Myth and the Last Days of the Irish War of Independence by Padraig Og O Ruairc.
 

Fr. Hank Tree

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Surely the good old IRA didn't shoot anyone as an informer.. I thought they were fine chaps
That's not the issue, which is the attempts made by certain "historians" to discredit the fight for independence in Cork by portraying it as a sectarian war of hate and not a modern anti-colonial war.

The Provo vs Old IRA debate is not relevant here.
 

Fr. Hank Tree

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The list of academics who have taken Hart's contentions and those of his non-academic cheerleaders (Myers, Harris, etc.) to the cleaners is as long as your arm at this stage.

A few good books on this issue for anyone interested in the topic...

Spies, Informers and the 'Anti-Sinn Fein Society': The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1919-1921 by John Borgonovo.

Massacre in West Cork: The Dunmanway and Ballygroman Killings by Barry Keane.

Truce - Murder, Myth and the Last Days of the Irish War of Independence by Padraig Og O Ruairc.
https://www.bookdepository.com/Troubled-History-Niall-Meehan/9781903497463
 

rockofcashel

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That's not the issue, which is the attempts made by certain "historians" to discredit the fight for independence in Cork by portraying it as a sectarian war of hate.

The Provo vs Old IRA debate is not relevant here.
It is perfectly relevant, as the Troubles were also painted as a sectarian war, and not a War of Independence.

And before anyone comes back and argues against that point.. yes, certain absolutely terrible sectarian killings were carried out by the Provos.. Kingsmill for example.

But in it's totality, the Troubles were not about religion as a sectarian war is.. it just happened that the vast majority of those combatants killed by the Provo's happened to be Protestant, not because they were Protestant
 

DaveM

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It is perfectly relevant, as the Troubles were also painted as a sectarian war, and not a War of Independence.

And before anyone comes back and argues against that point.. yes, certain absolutely terrible sectarian killings were carried out by the Provos.. Kingsmill for example.

But in it's totality, the Troubles were not about religion as a sectarian war is.. it just happened that the vast majority of those combatants killed by the Provo's happened to be Protestant, not because they were Protestant
Let's not divert this thread off track completely!

I think it's fair to say that you and I would not agree on very many things to do with the Troubles and the justification or otherwise of the Provo's campaign. That being said, notable exceptions aside, I'd be inclined to agree with your comment on sectarianism during the Troubles.
 

Fr. Hank Tree

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It is perfectly relevant, as the Troubles were also painted as a sectarian war, and not a War of Independence.

And before anyone comes back and argues against that point.. yes, certain absolutely terrible sectarian killings were carried out by the Provos.. Kingsmill for example.

But in it's totality, the Troubles were not about religion as a sectarian war is.. it just happened that the vast majority of those combatants killed by the Provo's happened to be Protestant, not because they were Protestant
I agree but even if the troubles never happened, we would still get these attempts to discredit Irish nationalism in my opinion. It would be great to focus on that and not disappear down the rabbit hole of the troubles.

There is a reason why such iconoclasm prospers and I don't think that's explained solely by the troubles. There are other factors at work and we should explore that.
 

Levellers

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Peter Hart's book has no credibility at all. He has more in common with medium Doris Stokes than with any historian as he was able to interview two dead people.
 

former wesleyan

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It is perfectly relevant, as the Troubles were also painted as a sectarian war, and not a War of Independence.

And before anyone comes back and argues against that point.. yes, certain absolutely terrible sectarian killings were carried out by the Provos.. Kingsmill for example.

But in it's totality, the Troubles were not about religion as a sectarian war is.. it just happened that the vast majority of those combatants killed by the Provo's happened to be Protestant, not because they were Protestant
But in Cain , for 1976 for example, those protestants killed by the PIRA are only listed as " civilian (civ) ". Is there a nod and a wink here ? Was really a spy ?
 

Fr. Hank Tree

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Let's not divert this thread off track completely!

I think it's fair to say that you and I would not agree on very many things to do with the Troubles and the justification or otherwise of the Provo's campaign. That being said, notable exceptions aside, I'd be inclined to agree with your comment on sectarianism during the Troubles.
Usually, the point of contention in the Provo vs Old IRA debates centres around alleged war crimes and the killing of civilians. The claim that both groups were motivated by sectarianism is a separate and relatively recent thing - Conor Cruise O'Brien's Ancestral Voices was a key text here - and in any case would be not be presented as something that differentiates them but unites them.
 

Fr. Hank Tree

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But in Cain , for 1976 for example, those protestants killed by the PIRA are only listed as " civilian (civ) ". Is there a nod and a wink here ? Was really a spy ?
Well in the context of the Dunmanway killings in Cork, Hart certainly suggested that informer was a euphemism for a protestant. In making that claim he was found to have ignored key evidence.

Do you have any evidence to back up your claim?
 

GDPR

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Its amazing that Hart was not pulled up earlier on his shoddy methodology. Whether or not you warmed to his conclusions, the fact is he was demonstrably lacking in academic integrity. This not only reflected badly on his faculty, it clung around Irish history students in general. I recall Scottish universities saying they would be wary of accepting Irish postgrads or lecturers because they did not have faith in their basic training, if Hart was considered the doyen of Irish historiography.

This is the sort of thing journalists like Glass were sacked for in the US and became bywords. Making stuff up.
 

DaveM

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Usually, the point of contention in the Provo vs Old IRA debates centres around alleged war crimes and the killing of civilians. The claim that both groups were motivated by sectarianism is a separate and relatively recent thing - Conor Cruise O'Brien's Ancestral Voices was a key text here - and in any case would be not be presented as something that differentiates them but unites them.
Fundamentally I think the comparison boils down to whether the use of physical force was warranted in each case and whether one conflict bears relevance to the other. It's a very interesting topic albeit one that all too often generates more heat than light.

Conor Cruise O'Brien was a corrosive force of the work of historians. Academics should always resist those who seek to distort history for contemporary political reasons.
 

DaveM

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Its amazing that Hart was not pulled up earlier on his shoddy methodology. Whether or not you warmed to his conclusions, the fact is he was demonstrably lacking in academic integrity. This not only reflected badly on his faculty, it clung around Irish history students in general. I recall Scottish universities saying they would be wary of accepting Irish postgrads or lecturers because they did not have faith in their basic training, if Hart was considered the doyen of Irish historiography.

This is the sort of thing journalists like Glass were sacked for in the US and became bywords. Making stuff up.
Never met Hart but an acquaintance of mine worked with him. His opinion is that his talent as a historian was immense but the questions over his professional failings at this stage are beyond argument.

The bottom line is he tapped into a line of thinking that resonated with certain people and as a result they ended up completely suspending their critical faculties and acting as his cheerleaders.
 

purpledon

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Is this book just about the IRA and their killings or have they investigated all killings ie, The Tans and British Army and their body count.
 

former wesleyan

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Well in the context of the Dunmanway killings in Cork, Hart certainly suggested that informer was a euphemism for a protestant. In making that claim he was found to have ignored key evidence.

Do you have any evidence to back up your claim?

For example ;

07 January 1976
Dickson, Michael (17) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot in entry, off Rockview Street, Belfast.
Even when you read through the Cork Spy Files the religion of the actors is listed. So and so worked for a protestant farmer , so and so was Catholic,inescapable in Ireland it seems.
 

DaveM

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Is this book just about the IRA and their killings or have they investigated all killings ie, The Tans and British Army and their body count.
Hart's book?
 

GDPR

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Never met Hart but an acquaintance of mine worked with him. His opinion is that his talent as a historian was immense but the questions over his professional failings at this stage are beyond argument.

The bottom line is he tapped into a line of thinking that resonated with certain people and as a result they ended up completely suspending their critical faculties and acting as his cheerleaders.

Well its that basic lack of integrity which lies behind all this.
 


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