Execution of 13 IRA volunteers in 1921 may have been a war crime, says UCC historian

Historians in the News
tags: British history, Irish history, Irish Republican Army, Irish War of Independence

It could be argued that the execution by the British of 13 IRA volunteers in Cork 100 years ago was a war crime, according to a University College Cork historian.

Speaking at a ceremony in UCC at the mass grave where the men were buried, Gabriel Doherty of the School of History at UCC said the executions of the 13 men, captured in Cork, Tipperary and Limerick in 1921, was the result of the British resorting to state-sanctioned legal violence to counter the IRA.

He recalled how the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act of 1920 imposed the death penalty for a range of offences including possession of firearms, which was designed to stop the IRA guerrilla campaign in its tracks.

Munster experienced the most dynamic and effective armed resistance on the island and in December 1920, the British government placed the province under martial law, administered by a military governor in Victoria Barracks.

“It was this regime that condemned 13 IRA volunteers, unfortunate enough to be caught in the nets of the British military,” said Mr Doherty, who is on the advisory committee to the Government on the decade of commemorations.

The executions, which took place by firing squad in the Cork Detention Barracks inside Victoria Barracks, began on February 1st, 1921 with the execution of Captain Con Murphy from Millstreet, who was caught with a loaded pistol.


Read entire article at Irish Times

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