Podcast: Padraig O Ruairc on the Disappeared of the Irish Revolution.

A report into Thomas Kirby who was abducted and shot by the IRA near Golden, Tipperary on 8 Jan 1921. (Courtesy of Cairo Gang website)

John Dorney speaks to historian Padraig Og O Ruairc about the people killed and secretly buried during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War 1919-1923.

This is the fruit of a research project carried out by Padraig himself and Andy Bielenberg of University College Cork into forcible disappearances during the Irish revolution.

Padraig has previously written extensively on the killing of alleged informers by the IRA and Andy Beilenberg has compiled a register of fatalities in County Cork from 1919-1921.

By their figures 108 people were killed and their bodies disposed of in secret by the IRA and seven by British forces. This is a far larger figure than the sixteen people ‘disappeared’ during the Northern Ireland conflict in the 1970s  and 80s, whose recovery remains a political issue today.

We discuss:

  • Why some victims of political violence were ‘disappeared’
  • Why County Cork accounted for a disproportionate number of the disappeared people.
  • Why the practice was relatively common in the War of Independence but not a feature of the Civil War.
  • How reliable oral traditions and rumours are as to the presence of these unmarked graves.

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