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It has been dryly observed that many people involved in the Northern Ireland peace process did so without having been terrorists first. Perversely, a terrorist who changes course when murder proves unfruitful as a sole strategy is seen as having made a greater contribution than those who were always whole-heartedly in favour of peaceful politics. By some absurd logic, ex-terrorists are commended for having travelled further on some journey of discovery. Greater the sinner who repents than the victim who was walking along the street, who has renounced nothing but limbs or life.

I provided services to some of those, and one of my friends held the hands of the dying at the Harrods bombing, bodies severed by plate glass. We ran a trauma clinic together. Does this make my opinions less valid? Could be.

I understand the need for realpolitik. I agree with Churchill’s observation:

The reason for having diplomatic relations is not to confer a compliment, but to secure a convenience.

In searching for that convenience lives were probably saved, at the cost of altering course in accommodation to violence.

Can anyone remind me of the name of the journalist, I think an American, who began his interview with the other IRA leader by saying: “Tell me, do you do the actual killings or just the PR for it?”

 
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  1. Dan Hayes says:

    James,

    George Washington once said that those who honored him as a statesman for his success would have had him consigned to the gallows if his mission had failed.

    Nelson Mandela is an sterling example of a man who never renounced his acts of terrorism but is now the honored exemplar of humanity.

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  2. Dan Hayes says:

    Dr Thompson,

    George Washington once said that those who honored him as a statesman for his success would have had him consigned to the gallows if his mission had failed.

    Nelson Mandela is an sterling example of a man who never renounced his acts of terrorism but is now the honored exemplar of humanity.

    Read More
  3. On further analysis it may be that the actual peace process was something of a side show. The demographics were against the Protestant ascendancy, particularly when the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries was corrected.
    The latest vote gave 28.1% to the DUP and 27.9% to Sinn Fein.
    Roman Catholic religion is solid at 40% while the Protestant denominations have fallen from 65% in 1937 to 40% now.
    Battle of the cradle (or of belief) lost by the Ulster plantation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    As Enoch Powell noted long ago the British establishment and civil servicehave always wanted to divest themselves of Ireland. In the Offshore Islanders Paul Johnson said the essential point was mid 19th century, when the big estates of Ireland became a net drain on Britain.

    Ireland is still a net drain on whatever it joins, and so it plays for a fool what it joins. For example as a uniquely EU rural state it got vast amounts of money from the EU, but doesn't want to collect the zillions in back taxes the EU has ordered Ireland to collect from from Google Amazon ect who the Irish state draw there by undertaxing and zero enforcement. And Irish ancestry voters ( the Irish born can come to the UK get housed and collect welfare and vote as if the south was still part of the UK) are a formidable Labour voting block.

    The Irish government armed and virtually created the IRA. They called it a war but in a war fighting in civilian cloths gets you summarily shot.

  4. fitzGetty says:
    @Dan Hayes
    Dr Thompson,

    George Washington once said that those who honored him as a statesman for his success would have had him consigned to the gallows if his mission had failed.

    Nelson Mandela is an sterling example of a man who never renounced his acts of terrorism but is now the honored exemplar of humanity.

    … “‘ honoured”’ – by some …

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    fitzGetty,

    Thank you for your response.

    Among the "some" who later honored him were George III and Napolean.
  5. I never understood the Sinn Fein/IRA hydra. It always seemed to be a false dichotomy. By day, he’s a mild mannered social activist, but by night he becomes a deadly terrorist!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    I heard a telling anecdote on BBC Radio 4 last night about Martin McGuiness travelling to Colombia to help with the transition of the defeated FARC guerrillas to a purely political role, in which he observed that the FARC should have pursued a twin track "ballot box and bomb" approach like the IRA's, only to have it pointed out that unlike the civilised British, the Colombians simply murdered people who tried to engage in politics on behalf of terrorists waging war against them.

    If McGuiness' opponents had not been remarkably resistant to descending completely to his own level (which is not to say that they never did so), he would have been killed decades ago.
  6. Dan Hayes says:
    @fitzGetty
    ... "' honoured''' - by some ...

    fitzGetty,

    Thank you for your response.

    Among the “some” who later honored him were George III and Napolean.

    Read More
  7. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    I’m not certain, but I think this is the edition of Gay Byrne’ Late Late show where an audience member called Gerry Adams a murderer and got a lethally calm lecture on politeness:

    Read More
  8. FKA Max says:

    In Ireland, the percentage of population with red hair is estimated to be at around 10%.[11][12][13] According to Britain’s DNA, 34.7% of the Irish population carry the allele for red hair, although this doesn’t directly translate proportionally into births of red-haired children.[14]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair#North_and_West_Europe

    Some interesting connections. But just anecdotal evidence and speculation at this point:

    They said he was the IRA commander in Derry (he was actually number two), but he was a rather frightening young man, 22 at the time, high cheekbones, fluffy, curly hair, red-faced, sharp, narrow eyes, unsmiling.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/22/martin-mcguinness-from-super-terrorist-to-super-statesman/

    When he joined the republican cause he was told he had a good face for it, with the blue eyes and red curly hair that made him look like a cherub, not a terrorist.

    http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21719226-ira-terrorist-turned-power-sharing-first-minister-northern-ireland-was-66-obituary

    arguably, the most “deadly” people on the planet are tall [not short]/high IQ, high-testosterone/wide-cheekboned carriers of the low-activity MAOA allele. I guess, one could classify Special Forces soldiers as ‘modern-day Vikings.’

    http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-secret-in-your-eyes/#comment-1801503

    Ginger Jihadis:

    Although jihadists aren’t in a database somewhere categorized by their hair color, Breitbart did a study which sampled national newspaper coverage of white radical Islam converts between August 2013 and August 2014 to examine the correlation. They discovered that 76 percent of white British converts to radical Islam had red hair. The Daily Mail archived that 69 percent of white Brits who converted to Islam were also gingers. The Mirror and the Telegraph also yielded extremely high numbers, while the Guardian revealed that a whopping 100 percent of the white radical converts had red hair.

    http://www.unz.com/freed/iq-a-skeptics-view/#comment-1725934

    I don’t know if this is true? Does anyone know the percentage of gingers in the IRA?

    ‘Ginger extremist’ Colborne thought IRA all had red hair like him

    He also wrote: “The IRA are my heroes – acting as a small military force taking on a wealthy power, and, of course, red hair being associated with their history.”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/ginger-extremist-colborne-thought-ira-all-had-red-hair-like-him-34309143.html

    Autism and Redheads: The Canaries in the Epidemic Part 1

    So here is my hypothesis. It includes both anecdotal evidence and published studies. If it is possible that redheads are more vulnerable to an autism diagnosis and therefore more prevalent on the autism spectrum, I believe that looking for the reasons for that could open doors on causation and possible treatments, not only for that population but for many others.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/06/autism-and-redheads-the-canaries-in-the-epidemic-part-1.html

    Mental Health Disorders and the Terrorist: A Research Note Probing Selection Effects and Disorder Prevalence

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1057610X.2015.1120099

    Parallel to this, lone-actors show high preponderance of single-issue ideologies; highly personal grievances linked to political aims. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also show a higher than expected prevalence in the lone-actor sample.

    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/indonesian-islam-is-getting-modern-not-conservative/#comment-1649658

    catholics v protestants…simpson style

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  9. Is it really that remarkable? And how important is colour of sovereignty? A fair number of very evil acts go unpunished, including in violation of others’ sovereignty, under colour of your government’s sovereignty, yet acts that are unremarkable under colour of your government’s sovereignty are hysterically condemned under others’ sovereignty, including with lies.

    It seems rather that sovereignty is a fiction, much like authority—institutionalised freedom from responsibility without a corresponding stricture on freedom of action—which in practice requires occasional terror and bloodshed to maintain. It is also a form of meritocratic equal opportunity—if one is a sufficiently able thug, one may aspire to high office.

    Read More
  10. Sean says:
    @James Thompson
    On further analysis it may be that the actual peace process was something of a side show. The demographics were against the Protestant ascendancy, particularly when the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries was corrected.
    The latest vote gave 28.1% to the DUP and 27.9% to Sinn Fein.
    Roman Catholic religion is solid at 40% while the Protestant denominations have fallen from 65% in 1937 to 40% now.
    Battle of the cradle (or of belief) lost by the Ulster plantation.

    As Enoch Powell noted long ago the British establishment and civil servicehave always wanted to divest themselves of Ireland. In the Offshore Islanders Paul Johnson said the essential point was mid 19th century, when the big estates of Ireland became a net drain on Britain.

    Ireland is still a net drain on whatever it joins, and so it plays for a fool what it joins. For example as a uniquely EU rural state it got vast amounts of money from the EU, but doesn’t want to collect the zillions in back taxes the EU has ordered Ireland to collect from from Google Amazon ect who the Irish state draw there by undertaxing and zero enforcement. And Irish ancestry voters ( the Irish born can come to the UK get housed and collect welfare and vote as if the south was still part of the UK) are a formidable Labour voting block.

    The Irish government armed and virtually created the IRA. They called it a war but in a war fighting in civilian cloths gets you summarily shot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hibernian
    "The Irish government armed and virtually created the IRA."

    It's the other way around since the IRA was only the latest incarnation of an Irish revolutionary tradition that long predated the establishment of an Irish government. The revolution was financed and supplied by some of those who went to the United States to seek their fortunes and succeeded.

    Why did you adopt the handle "Sean?"

  11. drawbacks says:

    P.J. O’Rourke once said he would like to ask Gerry Adams something close to that, but I don’t think he phrased it quite as tartly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    I thought it was him, but could not find a confirmation.
  12. Hibernian says:
    @Sean
    As Enoch Powell noted long ago the British establishment and civil servicehave always wanted to divest themselves of Ireland. In the Offshore Islanders Paul Johnson said the essential point was mid 19th century, when the big estates of Ireland became a net drain on Britain.

    Ireland is still a net drain on whatever it joins, and so it plays for a fool what it joins. For example as a uniquely EU rural state it got vast amounts of money from the EU, but doesn't want to collect the zillions in back taxes the EU has ordered Ireland to collect from from Google Amazon ect who the Irish state draw there by undertaxing and zero enforcement. And Irish ancestry voters ( the Irish born can come to the UK get housed and collect welfare and vote as if the south was still part of the UK) are a formidable Labour voting block.

    The Irish government armed and virtually created the IRA. They called it a war but in a war fighting in civilian cloths gets you summarily shot.

    “The Irish government armed and virtually created the IRA.”

    It’s the other way around since the IRA was only the latest incarnation of an Irish revolutionary tradition that long predated the establishment of an Irish government. The revolution was financed and supplied by some of those who went to the United States to seek their fortunes and succeeded.

    Why did you adopt the handle “Sean?”

    Read More
  13. Quite a few Americans have had at least a measure of sympathy with the IRA. After all, they have a race memory of their own state being born from farmers, often in civilian clothes, taking potshots at redcoats from behind trees. The existence of such sentiments somewhat bedevilled the “special relationship”. I remember getting into a furious argument with one (not by the way of Irish ancestry) who maintained that the IRA firing party for Bobby Sands was using American M1 rifles. In fact photographic evidence suggested it was the Soviet bloc/Chinese SKS they were using, but the American was a pretty hardshell anti-Communist and disliked the idea that the IRA sourced some of its weapons from the Eastern Bloc. So he preferred to deny it.
    Large-scale Irish emigration to other countries, especially the USA, also created populations living abroad who were well-disposed to the Fenians/IRB/IRA.

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  14. Reminds me though of another thread here, where someone was praising the efficiency of Lord Palmerston’s British civil service in the 1850s, while the British official response to the Potato Famine in Ireland a mere decade earlier was at best inept (and some British newspaper comment at the time on the famine was openly callous – starvation would teach the Irish to work for a living etc. etc.). That the Potato Famine could happen, and not in some far-off province but on the neighbouring island when the British Empire was at its height, must count as one of the most powerful critiques of the Empire.
    It would be convenient to attribute the IRA and antecedents to redheaded genes and autism. English/British rule in Ireland included English commanders in the late 16th century forcing Irish who came to petition them to walk between columns consisting of the severed heads of their relatives and friends. The examples could be multiplied.

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  15. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I mentioned the generally ineffectual nature of terrorism to an acquaintance of Irish heritage and he answered that it worked for them. So, did it achieve success, did they realize their aims? If so then there’s a tendency to say the ends justified the means, particularly as it moves farther back in history. Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir started off as terrorists who later became prime ministers and were not considered too tainted for other world leaders to deal with. Then there’s the reverse, politicians who embark upon terrorism. Winston Churchill deliberately targeted German civilian populations for bombing which meets the criteria of terrorism, the targeting of civilians. This leads to the subject of wholesale state terror not being called that but dressed up as something else whereas small scale actors get slapped with the label. Democide and state terror have resulted in astronomical body counts far higher than the small scale actors we’ve seen. Not to justify any of it, of course, just to point out that it’s all rather ugly for all those who’ve been caught up in events beyond their control.

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  16. @drawbacks
    P.J. O'Rourke once said he would like to ask Gerry Adams something close to that, but I don't think he phrased it quite as tartly.

    I thought it was him, but could not find a confirmation.

    Read More
  17. Randal says:
    @Critical Eye
    I never understood the Sinn Fein/IRA hydra. It always seemed to be a false dichotomy. By day, he's a mild mannered social activist, but by night he becomes a deadly terrorist!

    I heard a telling anecdote on BBC Radio 4 last night about Martin McGuiness travelling to Colombia to help with the transition of the defeated FARC guerrillas to a purely political role, in which he observed that the FARC should have pursued a twin track “ballot box and bomb” approach like the IRA’s, only to have it pointed out that unlike the civilised British, the Colombians simply murdered people who tried to engage in politics on behalf of terrorists waging war against them.

    If McGuiness’ opponents had not been remarkably resistant to descending completely to his own level (which is not to say that they never did so), he would have been killed decades ago.

    Read More
    • Replies: @FKA Max

    unlike the civilised British, the Colombians simply murdered people who tried to engage in politics on behalf of terrorists waging war against them.
    [...]
    If McGuiness’ opponents had not been remarkably resistant to descending completely to his own level (which is not to say that they never did so), he would have been killed decades ago.
     
    Cromwell: The Irish Question

    Cromwell’s military campaign in Ireland is one event that the British can never remember and the Irish can never forget. Tom Reilly questions one of the most enduring and troubling topics in Irish history.


    And so the journey began. I became familiar with all of the usual sources and those not so usual. As I read more about Cromwell, it became difficult (although not impossible) to reconcile how a man with such lofty moral ethics could engage in the senseless slaughter of Ireland’s innocents, even amid the frenetic environment of 17th-century warfare. I wiped the slate clean and evaluated the evidence of those people who were actually in Drogheda and Wexford at the time the massacres took place. It was shocking to realise that not one person in either town left written details of the deaths of even one unarmed civilian. Obviously small numbers of male civilians could have died as the result of collateral damage. To argue otherwise is folly. But there was no policy to kill the innocent either before, during or after the sieges of Drogheda and Wexford.
     
    - http://www.historytoday.com/tom-reilly/cromwell-irish-question

    Catholics seem to be overrepresented in the English and Welsh prison population as well. I wonder how many of them are non-English (some of them are probably from Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, etc.)?

    Anglicans seem to be the least crime-prone, i.e., the most civilised group/culture by this, admittedly rather crude, measurement. However, even Catholics can't quite keep up with Muslims, as cousin marriage appears to have a highly uncivilising and dysgenic effect:

    Consanguinity as a Major Predictor of Levels of Democracy
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022022112443855


    The substantial risk observed in the present study reveals that consanguinity is an important risk factor for schizophrenia in Qatar.
     
    - http://www.unz.com/gnxp/indonesian-islam-is-getting-modern-not-conservative/#comment-1649658

    24% of prisoners in 2010 claimed to be Anglicans [ ~ 45% of population], 17% Roman Catholics [ ~ 10% of population], 7% other Christians, 12% Muslims [ ~ 5% of population], and 5% of other faiths.
     
    – http://www.brin.ac.uk/2011/religion-of-prisoners-england-and-wales-2010/

    Poland tops league for foreign inmates in UK’s overcrowded jails ahead of Ireland and Jamaica with almost 1,000 behind bars

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2614279/Poland-tops-league-foreign-inmates-UK-jails-ahead-Ireland-Jamaica.html

    Are you a Protestant or Catholic Atheist Jew? Christopher Hitchens

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFsD4SqBbKY

  18. FKA Max says:
    @Randal
    I heard a telling anecdote on BBC Radio 4 last night about Martin McGuiness travelling to Colombia to help with the transition of the defeated FARC guerrillas to a purely political role, in which he observed that the FARC should have pursued a twin track "ballot box and bomb" approach like the IRA's, only to have it pointed out that unlike the civilised British, the Colombians simply murdered people who tried to engage in politics on behalf of terrorists waging war against them.

    If McGuiness' opponents had not been remarkably resistant to descending completely to his own level (which is not to say that they never did so), he would have been killed decades ago.

    unlike the civilised British, the Colombians simply murdered people who tried to engage in politics on behalf of terrorists waging war against them.
    [...]
    If McGuiness’ opponents had not been remarkably resistant to descending completely to his own level (which is not to say that they never did so), he would have been killed decades ago.

    Cromwell: The Irish Question

    Cromwell’s military campaign in Ireland is one event that the British can never remember and the Irish can never forget. Tom Reilly questions one of the most enduring and troubling topics in Irish history.

    And so the journey began. I became familiar with all of the usual sources and those not so usual. As I read more about Cromwell, it became difficult (although not impossible) to reconcile how a man with such lofty moral ethics could engage in the senseless slaughter of Ireland’s innocents, even amid the frenetic environment of 17th-century warfare. I wiped the slate clean and evaluated the evidence of those people who were actually in Drogheda and Wexford at the time the massacres took place. It was shocking to realise that not one person in either town left written details of the deaths of even one unarmed civilian. Obviously small numbers of male civilians could have died as the result of collateral damage. To argue otherwise is folly. But there was no policy to kill the innocent either before, during or after the sieges of Drogheda and Wexford.

    http://www.historytoday.com/tom-reilly/cromwell-irish-question

    Catholics seem to be overrepresented in the English and Welsh prison population as well. I wonder how many of them are non-English (some of them are probably from Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, etc.)?

    Anglicans seem to be the least crime-prone, i.e., the most civilised group/culture by this, admittedly rather crude, measurement. However, even Catholics can’t quite keep up with Muslims, as cousin marriage appears to have a highly uncivilising and dysgenic effect:

    Consanguinity as a Major Predictor of Levels of Democracy

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022022112443855

    The substantial risk observed in the present study reveals that consanguinity is an important risk factor for schizophrenia in Qatar.

    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/indonesian-islam-is-getting-modern-not-conservative/#comment-1649658

    24% of prisoners in 2010 claimed to be Anglicans [ ~ 45% of population], 17% Roman Catholics [ ~ 10% of population], 7% other Christians, 12% Muslims [ ~ 5% of population], and 5% of other faiths.

    http://www.brin.ac.uk/2011/religion-of-prisoners-england-and-wales-2010/

    Poland tops league for foreign inmates in UK’s overcrowded jails ahead of Ireland and Jamaica with almost 1,000 behind bars

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2614279/Poland-tops-league-foreign-inmates-UK-jails-ahead-Ireland-Jamaica.html

    Are you a Protestant or Catholic Atheist Jew? Christopher Hitchens

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Cromwell’s military campaign in Ireland is one event that the British can never remember and the Irish can never forget.
     
    Fwiw, and putting aside the historical questions raised by Reilly, Cromwell was English rather than British (in the sense of the state he was representing), the Act of Union being half a century in the future. Others have suggested that the addition of the Scots and Irish provided a lot of the ferocity of British empire building. And one might expect the Civil War years to have strained the civility of even the English.
  19. Randal says:
    @FKA Max

    unlike the civilised British, the Colombians simply murdered people who tried to engage in politics on behalf of terrorists waging war against them.
    [...]
    If McGuiness’ opponents had not been remarkably resistant to descending completely to his own level (which is not to say that they never did so), he would have been killed decades ago.
     
    Cromwell: The Irish Question

    Cromwell’s military campaign in Ireland is one event that the British can never remember and the Irish can never forget. Tom Reilly questions one of the most enduring and troubling topics in Irish history.


    And so the journey began. I became familiar with all of the usual sources and those not so usual. As I read more about Cromwell, it became difficult (although not impossible) to reconcile how a man with such lofty moral ethics could engage in the senseless slaughter of Ireland’s innocents, even amid the frenetic environment of 17th-century warfare. I wiped the slate clean and evaluated the evidence of those people who were actually in Drogheda and Wexford at the time the massacres took place. It was shocking to realise that not one person in either town left written details of the deaths of even one unarmed civilian. Obviously small numbers of male civilians could have died as the result of collateral damage. To argue otherwise is folly. But there was no policy to kill the innocent either before, during or after the sieges of Drogheda and Wexford.
     
    - http://www.historytoday.com/tom-reilly/cromwell-irish-question

    Catholics seem to be overrepresented in the English and Welsh prison population as well. I wonder how many of them are non-English (some of them are probably from Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, etc.)?

    Anglicans seem to be the least crime-prone, i.e., the most civilised group/culture by this, admittedly rather crude, measurement. However, even Catholics can't quite keep up with Muslims, as cousin marriage appears to have a highly uncivilising and dysgenic effect:

    Consanguinity as a Major Predictor of Levels of Democracy
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022022112443855


    The substantial risk observed in the present study reveals that consanguinity is an important risk factor for schizophrenia in Qatar.
     
    - http://www.unz.com/gnxp/indonesian-islam-is-getting-modern-not-conservative/#comment-1649658

    24% of prisoners in 2010 claimed to be Anglicans [ ~ 45% of population], 17% Roman Catholics [ ~ 10% of population], 7% other Christians, 12% Muslims [ ~ 5% of population], and 5% of other faiths.
     
    – http://www.brin.ac.uk/2011/religion-of-prisoners-england-and-wales-2010/

    Poland tops league for foreign inmates in UK’s overcrowded jails ahead of Ireland and Jamaica with almost 1,000 behind bars

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2614279/Poland-tops-league-foreign-inmates-UK-jails-ahead-Ireland-Jamaica.html

    Are you a Protestant or Catholic Atheist Jew? Christopher Hitchens

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFsD4SqBbKY

    Cromwell’s military campaign in Ireland is one event that the British can never remember and the Irish can never forget.

    Fwiw, and putting aside the historical questions raised by Reilly, Cromwell was English rather than British (in the sense of the state he was representing), the Act of Union being half a century in the future. Others have suggested that the addition of the Scots and Irish provided a lot of the ferocity of British empire building. And one might expect the Civil War years to have strained the civility of even the English.

    Read More
  20. I don’t know about Cromwell having lofty moral ethics. His world view was harmonious with the century he lived in, but it could be argued he and his men were Protestant Christian versions of the jihadi. In the film Cromwell, Richard Harris as the title character meets Charles I’s Catholic wife Henrietta Maria, sees she is wearing a crucifix and clearly regards her pretty much as the Whore of Babylon.
    I am not too impressed by historical concerns raised by Reilly. How good was record-keeping in 17th century Ireland, or for that matter England at the time? I used to be struck, even as a child, by the way birthdates, even of the famous, were often approximate in Western Europe up to the end of the 19th century. The reason being that records of births were not systematically kept. Recording the dead in a massacre would probably be even more problematic. Roman Catholic clergy seem to have been specially targeted in both Drogheda and Wexford, they are the ones most likely to have been literate at this time period in an Irish town, and if they were unable to leave written records, well perhaps they were too dead to put pen to paper.
    Storming of towns and cities generally led to murder and mayhem on a huge scale at this time (the Imperial storming of Magdeburg in the Thirty Years’ War being one of the worst) and how much control generals had over their soldiers is questionable, even if they made any attempt to control them. And perhaps Cromwell did not. In his account to Parliament, Cromwell was obsessed with the 1641 rebellion in Ireland, the focus of atrocity stories about massacres of Protestants which lost no luridness in the telling (pamphlets about it were widely circulated in England) and he appears to have convinced himself the perpetrators were concentrated within the walls of both Drogheda and Wexford.

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  21. At Naseby in 1645, the decisive battle of the English Civil War, Parliamentary soldiers had overrun the Royalist baggage train and systematically killed the female camp followers there. This kind of slaughter was unusual in the English Civil War but the camp followers, who were clearly not English, were apparently thought to be Irish. (In reality they are more likely to have been Welsh.) The field where it happened is still called Slaughter Field.

    On the subject of 17th century record-keeping:
    “Surprisingly, the village records omit any mention of this event (the Battle of Naseby), and the parish register of 1645 makes absolutely no mention of the battle, with the vicar only recording one birth in the parish on the day of the battle.”

    (From Wikipedia article on Naseby)

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