The IRA’s Use of Torture

It is a strange quirk of history that the IRA’s early practice of extreme torture on its abducted and soon-to-be murdered prisoners occurred just as its political wing and proxies were protesting about the treatment of the very first internees back in 1971 who were later termed ‘the hooded men’. The IRA quickly developed its own hooded men and women who were not merely to be interned, but also tortured and then murdered and more than a few ‘disappeared’ for decades.

Following the predictable nationalist objection to the use of ‘inhuman and degrading’ interrogation techniques on the internees, including beatings, the self-declared freedom fighters of the IRA set about the use of limitless torture techniques with a vengeance and continued the use of extreme torture for the rest of its violent ‘armed struggle’.

It was not just the IRA’s infamous ‘nutting squad’ (McGee/Scappaticci) that used extreme torture on victims whose executed and maimed bodies were dumped along the South Armagh border during the 1980s/90s. ‘Brigades’ not associated with this horror unit also applied torture apparently without hesitation, induction or training from 1971 onwards, at least a full decade before the ‘nutting squad’ was formed.

Abducted and murdered UDR Private Ken Newell’s body dumped at the border by the IRA

While the Irish government hastened to instigate a case before the European Court of Human Rights about British maltreatment of the internees – whose judgment of ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ was issued following exhaustive hearings in Stavanger, Norway – it did not ever record or publish the horrific details of the scores of torture cases practiced by the IRA largely within the territory of the Republic of Ireland with the corpses then dumped just inside Northern Ireland beginning in 1971.

How is it that many young Catholic men who now point back to the Civil Rights movement as their springboard to IRA membership – or to Bloody Sunday – could suddenly find the ability to contravene all civil rights, human rights and Geneva Conventions in applying torture to abducted civilians and captured UDR or RUC Reserve members before they further contravened the Geneva Conventions in shooting them in the back of their hooded heads? Who can imagine the last 24hrs of a UDR or RUC reserve member abducted by the IRA and waiting to be murdered?

Neither the Belfast, Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh nor South Armagh Brigades of the IRA had any difficulty in finding volunteers who were prepared to engage in torture of captured military prisoners and also of abducted civilians, and all this four years before the notorious Shankill Butchers became active in 1975.

Alleged informer’s naked body showing evidence of extreme torture by the IRA

How was it that the IRA could easily find young men instantly willing and able to torture a man – or a woman – to an extreme degree and then to hood him, bind his hands behind his back and transport him to a border road – sometimes naked – and shoot him a number of times in the back of the head? How was it that young men and women were willing to participate in this maltreatment of Jean McConville, a mother of ten children? The degree of torture inflicted on Jean McConville in 1972 to extract a confession will never be known since her body was ‘disappeared’ to Shelling Hill beach, County Louth, and not discovered until thirty-one years later after she was shot in the back of the head and buried.

Let’s forget all about the Geneva Conventions – the IRA had no interest in these except as they might apply to its own members captured by the RUC or British Army. From the IRA’s point of view – supported by its cadre of willing lawyers – the Enemy had to play by the Marquis of Queensberry rules while it played by none at all.

The same IRA members who challenged their convictions of many years before on the grounds of ‘forced confessions’ – and a lot of other IRA members – still appear to have no problem rationalizing worse forced confessions (and brutal torture) that were used by the IRA to justify murdering persons alleged to have been informers.

Alleged informer’s naked body showing evidence of extreme torture by the IRA

It is no surprise that IRA leaders – some now transmuted into Sinn Féin worthies in expensive suits – don’t wish to be reminded of past torture horrors and human rights’ violations which have escaped justice, prosecution and punishment and even any scrutiny by the brash new cadre of self-proclaimed ‘human rights lawyers’ who have grown wealthy on the legacy of The Troubles but only see human rights violations by one side, that side which pays most of their incomes. Who ever said that you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you?

It is incredible that governments believed that a true peace process might be successfully built on a foundation of grand lies and gross injustices where thousands of human rights violations by one side – the IRA side – are totally ignored and victims shafted in the name of ‘prosecuting the peace’. Don’t mention the OTR letters!

Northern Ireland is already a byword for lawyers brazenly adopting the nomenclature of ‘human rights lawyers’ alongside rights’ groups who cannot find it anywhere in their remit to acknowledge and scrutinise the IRA’s horrific human rights’ record.

To borrow a phrase from Alex Maskey, the ‘putrid little secret’ of the IRA’s torture record hasn’t gone away, you know.

Tortured corpse of alleged informer dumped at border, covered in bin bags and a milk crate by the IRA executioners

How the former torturers and their Godfather commanders can now parade virtuously in victims’ rights marches in Belfast and Derry is beyond belief and the silence of those in Sinn Féin who know about their past crimes against humanity is absolutely deafening.

There is no state in America or democracy in Europe that would tolerate such a situation, as ETA has discovered to its cost in Spain where its former leaders are facing charges of crimes against humanity even after ETA has been disbanded, its weapons decommissioned and its prisoners continue to serve their sentences.

Alfredo Scappaticci, self-confessed leader of the IRA’s ‘nutting squad’ – allegedly aka Steak Knife – with his friend and republican colleague, Gerry Adams

25 thoughts on “The IRA’s Use of Torture

  1. I discovered a body whilst on patrol in NI. It was the body of a man lying face down. He was naked and the soles of his feet showed that he was either run or walked naked for some time. The back of his head was torn away with his black hair a mass of fresh blood. It appeared that he was not long dead. I did not turn the body for fear of booby traps, I just called it in to be dealt with in the proper fashion. I often pray for that man’s soul. Gerry Adams was about then. He was top man in the IRA in that area so of course he either knew about that man’s murder or he had sanctioned it, possibly both as he is the lowest of the lowlife who has ever walked this Earth.


  2. Hypocritical republicans all’s fare in love and WAR British forces would never have stooped this low


    1. But British forces frequently swooped this low and still swoop this low to this very day. It is well documented. It is a fact of which there can be no denying. Whether your comment is denial or a deliberate attempt to mislead the casual reader, it is damaging to your cause. People don’t like being lied to or having their intelligence insulted.


  3. I still remember the death of Lord Mountbatten, blown up on his boat by the IRA.
    Sickens me to this day. The IRA. Was jusr Irish filth.


  4. The IRA Sinn Fein using 1400 year old tactics learned at the hands of their friends Hamas, funded by Gaddifi Clinton’s and labour Blair.Now a Glodalist EU Sinn Fein natialionlist no more,self serving Hippocrates.


  5. These people are the lowest form of human life that I can think off and they will never know any peace in their lifetime as the same barbaric inhuman injustices that they afforded to many of their victims will one day be returned to themselves,I hope and pray.


  6. I went to school and grew up as a neighbour and played in the fields outside Omagh with him and all the other kids from our estate. His death was done by evil personified and their leaders are still walking around free as some kind of freedom fighters. Their day will come.


    1. A.W.D. Ellis….Who did you grow up with as a neighbour and play in the fields around Omagh with? Can’t see anyone mentioned in previous posts, unless one has been removed.


  7. Earlier in the week, McKee s friends had demonstrated their disgust with supporters of the group calling itself the New IRA by bringing red paint to the headquarters of the fringe political party that speaks for it Saoradh, which means liberation in Irish and smearing its walls with blood-red handprints.


  8. People killed on the false pretense of being an informer is unfortunate. Actual touts deserve a bullet to the skull though. Touts and rapists, no difference.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s