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Capital Punishment in Independent IrelandA Social, Legal and Political History$
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David M. Doyle and Liam O'Callaghan

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620276

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620276.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

The Death Penalty under Fianna Fáil and the Inter-Party Governments

The Death Penalty under Fianna Fáil and the Inter-Party Governments

(p.63) Chapter 2 The Death Penalty under Fianna Fáil and the Inter-Party Governments
Capital Punishment in Independent Ireland

David M. Doyle

Liam O’Callaghan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter, spanning the period 1932-54 continues the broadly political discussion of the death penalty initiated in chapter one. Though Fianna Fáil, in opposition, were critical of Free State institutions and policies, particularly those concerned with law and order, this chapter argues that little changed after the party came to power and the application of the death penalty was marked by continuity rather than reform. Indeed, the renewed threat to state security posed by the IRA during the Second World War led to the introduction of draconian emergency legislation and a series of executions of IRA men. The chapter also discusses the first tenuous steps taken towards reform of the capital punishment laws through the convening, by Fianna Fáil, of a committee to discuss the subject. Moreover, the arrival of the interparty government signalled a shift in the mood around the issue as two of the administration’s key figures, Seán MacBride and Noël Browne, were staunch abolitionists. This gave the death penalty a presence in public discourse not previously evident.

Keywords:   Fianna Fáil, Second World War executions, interparty government, Seán MacBride, Noël Browne

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