Provos were no heroes, says ex-bomber
A former IRA member who spent 15 years in prison has claimed that the IRA was a terrorist gang rather than the heroic patriot soldiers they imagined themselves to be.
Rejecting arguments that IRA inmates were entitled to 'prisoner of war' status, Shane Paul O'Doherty argues in today's Belfast Telegraph that the IRA "operated in the full knowledge that its campaign was pure and unadulterated terrorism".
Shane Paul O'Doherty was once an IRA explosives expert, but he publicly renounced violence, his connection to the IRA, and wrote letters of apology to his victims while in prison.
As a lone operator he once targeted 10 Downing Street, the London Stock Exchange, the Bank of England and attempted to kill the chief Catholic chaplain to the British Army, Bishop Gerard Tickle, in an infamous letter bombing campaign.
But in today's paper, the former Provo dismisses IRA pretensions to military status.
"Since the IRA did not wear any fixed distinctive markings visible from a distance, did not bear arms openly and did not conduct military operations according to the laws and customs of war, its captured combatants could never qualify as PoWs," he said.
"Since the IRA did not grant PoW status to any of the enemy combatants it captured but instead tortured and summarily murdered them, and since it also tortured and summarily murdered civilians it abducted - including disappearing their corpses - its combatants could never be internationally recognised as qualifying for POW status."
He also argues that the IRA - which he calls a "brainwashed cult" - knew that its claims to military status were baseless.
O'Doherty says the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation "could never have imagined a future IRA so devoid of honour, integrity, humanity and truthfulness as the Provos' crimes against humanity later proved them to be".