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Bear in mind these dead...
An Index of Deaths from the Conflict in
Malcolm Sutton Beyond
the Pale Publications,
THERE ARE FEW people in
THERE ARE FEW people in
Malcolm Sutton has been compiling
information on all deaths in the conflict since the mid 1980s. When he started
he had no idea of the enormity of the task. For example, the official statistics
take no notice of deaths outside the six counties of
The main part of the book lists the
victims in chronological order from 67 year‑old Francis McCloskey who died
from injuries inflicted by an RUC man's baton on
Colin Abernethy (30) Civ (PA) IRA Ulster
Clubs member. Shot while travelling on train to his workplace, Finaghy,
William McClure (44) Civ (P) IPLO Shot
at his home,
On the basis of these two entries I can say that the information is accurate, if sparse. It correctly says that Colin Abernethy was a PA, that is a Protestant political activist. Billy McClure was not a political activist but an uninvolved Protestant. Both were well known to me, one through politics, the other through work and the trade union movement. The entries report which organisations murdered these men but not why. They also cannot say what kind of men the victims were. How did they live? Who was left behind to grieve for them? Some weeks before his death, Billy McClure dressed up outrageously to collect money for the BBC Children in Need appeal. He had a lively and sharp sense of humour. This will be recalled by those who knew Billy but it can't be seen just by a casual reading of this book. However, each of the normally faceless and nameless statistics has had a name and a place in society and Mr Sutton has done a praiseworthy job in reminding us all of this. Just browsing through my copy has brought to mind incidents and occasions which I had forgotten, some which happened close to home.
In the appendix to this book, there is a very useful statistical summary. Of the total deaths to the end of 1993, 3059 Gave occurred in Northern Ireland, 91 in the Irish Republic, 118 in Great Britain and 17 elsewhere in Europe. Republican groups have been responsible for 1926 of the deaths, loyalist groups for 911, the security forces for 357, the Eire security forces for three. The author has not been able to give a positive identity for the perpetrators of the remaining 88 deaths. In some cases this is because they died in street disturbances, others were republican hunger strikers who died in prison.
This is a valuable book and I commend the author and Beyond the Pale Publications for publishing it. I hope that it will not require much future revision or many new editions; something which I'm sure the author will have in common with me. This is one area of research and publishing where it would be great to be declared redundant.
A THIRD WAY FOR ULSTER
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