The Belfast IRISH NEWS, read mainly by Catholics of Nationalist or Republican sympathies ,carries (November 19) a report of a Mass and commemorations of unarmed spectators and one player of a football match murdered by Crown Forces inDublin on 21 November 1920. It does not describe that atrocity as murder. Nor does it report that before fire was opened that an RAF plane flew over the scene and signalled to the British gunmen.
The paper tells us that earlier on that day the IRA killed 15 persons at various Dublin addresses “including Intelligence officers.”
The IRA’s own intelligence department had tracked down a British assassination gang which had killed numerous people in their homes during nights when British imposed curfew confined them there. In virtually all cases the gang’s victims were unarmed. And the gang was not held accountable under British law. The IRA intelligence was passed to the Defence Minister of the popularly established Irish Government, Cathal Brugha. Brugha gave careful consideration to the list given him and removed from it those whose guilt he was not sure about.
The IRA , the legal defence force of the democratically established Irish State and its citizens, carried out their duties to the best of their abilities. They didn’t have gaols or condemned cells or trained hangmen and may thus have outraged the sense of decorum of their critics.
But like the pianist in the rough miners’ club in Montana, remarked on by Oscar Wilde, the IRA were doing their best.