Thursday 14 December 2017

John-Paul McCarthy: Ghosts of the innocent tell of the evil buried in our past

A documentary on the 'disappeared' of 1920 reveals the shifting moral economies of Volunteers.

PART one of Professor Eunan O'Halpin's TV3 series on the disappeared of the revolutionary period made for absorbing viewing. His humane and sensitive analysis gave a new edge to some old themes.

The usual paraphernalia were in evidence during his trip to Ashbrook Farm, Co Laois – the Quaker land, the dumped corpses, local grudges long dignified as the stuff of revolutionary agitation, the halting testimony years later of Protestants like Jack Walpole that spoke to the "disappearing" of 50 or so people in other areas.

O'Halpin's In the Name of the Republic raised all the big questions. Didn't secret murders and burials close to the Truce negate the true value of executing "spies", namely their deterrent effects?

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