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Defying the IRA?$
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Brian Hughes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382974

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382974.001.0001

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Civilians and Communities II: Coercion and Punishment

Civilians and Communities II: Coercion and Punishment

(p.116) 4 Civilians and Communities II: Coercion and Punishment
Defying the IRA?

Brian Hughes

Liverpool University Press

Having examined the often incomplete cooperation offered to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) by local civilian populations in the previous chapter, this chapter deals with the ways in which the IRA discouraged and punished acts of defiance. Punishment is divided into two main categories: non-lethal and lethal. As the vast majority of deviant acts were ‘minor’, or ‘everyday’, so was the bulk of the punishment meted out. Lethal violence was usually reserved for the more serious offence of passing information to Crown forces, except in the case of women who were almost never the victims of executions or shooting. Women were also less likely to suffer physical violence but could become the victims of ‘gender violence’, acts carried out on the basis of gender but avoiding sexual contact. Overall, punishment was usually selective, discriminate, and designed to match the perceived offence. Often, though, defiance was treated leniently or went unpunished, even in the case of alleged ‘spies and informers’. There are also notable regional variations in both lethal and non-lethal violence, as both often operated in tandem. Just as they influenced defiance, intrinsically local circumstances and dynamics were a key determinant of the nature of punishment.

Keywords:   Irish Republican Army, Irish loyalism, punishment, non-lethal violence, lethal violence, women

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