The Disappeared: Hidden story of Northern Ireland Troubles

Not sure if anyone else saw this (Uk Tv) but it was a very powerful programme. some more information below.

[/LIST]Thanks Benjamin…I’ll try to catch it. Sounds like a fascinating take on a dark subject.

the programme is now on iPlayer if you can access it.

Forgive the skepticism, but a BBC promoted programme about the evil IRA? I’m going to have to pass. Maybe when they also cover the murderous Ulster thugs as well as the crimes of the “Black and Tans” and SAS, will I view it.

Has the BBC never covered Bloody Sunday? or opeation motorman? or the Shankill butchers?

The IRA did murder these people whether you want to read or watch it or not, including a mother of ten children.

Oh wow! I just watched it. Saddening. My prayers go out to all.

Yes indeed they did murder many people. I speak as a Catholic who grew up in Northern Ireland. They did some shockingly evil things.

I do sometimes think that sometimes people of Irish descent who live thousands of miles away from Northern Ireland may on occasion be guilty of idealising the IRA, portraying them as honourable, heroic, freedom fighters.

Murder is murder, regardless of which side pulls the trigger.

The conflict in Northern Ireland was (and is) driven by sectarian hatred from both sides. Vicious, cowardly acts of evil murder were carried out by both sides. Portraying one side as the innocent (or even the ‘less guilty’) party is very wrong, and not borne out by what actually happened there.

There has been quite a bit of discussion about the role of priests in dealing with ‘the disappeared’ (in particular Fr McCoy being approached by the IRA and requested to give last rights to a man about to be shot).

I think it must have been an enormously difficult situation for him to be in.

I don’t think it would have been a difficult situation at all in terms of what he ought to do. A man is about to die, a priest cannot deny that man extreme unction. To refuse to do so could possibly result in that man’s soul being damned for eternity. The priest has no real choice to make. The man is going to lose his life, so should a priest stand by and let his soul be damned for eternity?

Would it be better that the IRA used priests to grant extreme unction to their victims, or should the priest have gone to the authorities, hence resulting in the IRA stopping the practice of using a priest to administer extreme unction on the people they executed, thus damning more souls to Hell?

Father McCoy did the right thing. He had no other choice, but to act as he did.

I don’t argue that he did the right thing via the victim, that was his duty. What to do regarding the murderers is what I was thinking of.

I don’t think that was an easy situation to be in. Is it best to stay silent and hope murderers continue to use priests in this way? Or go to the police and assist them in identifying those responsible and hopefully helping to bring them to justice and recovering the body for a proper burial. He has a responsibility in that regard too for the family of the victim.

As I said, due to the extreme circumstances and potential repercussions it must have been an awful position to be in.

I guess it boils down to taking the option that causes least harm. Is it more important to help bring 2 or 3 murderers to justice, and ease the pain of a grieving family, at the probable cost of the IRA stopping the practice of using a priest to grant their executed victims extreme unction, resulting in more damned souls? If you believe in the soul, judgement, eternal damnation, and the power of extreme unction, then the answer is clear. Far greater harm would be caused by the priest reporting the act to the authorities, than by not reporting it. the eternal damnation of a soul is far more important than the life of a person, the grief of his family, or bringing a few murderers to justice.

Fair enough.

As I say, it can’t have been an easy situation to be in. personally, I would like to think that I would have done everything I could to stop these people murdering anymore people rather than saying nothing, hoping that if they did murder someone else they would come back again to give extreme unction.

It may only be ‘brining a few murders to justice’ as you put it, or giving comfort to the family of the deceased, but those are important to me. To watch the families in that documentary going through the pain they did not knowing what happened or where their loved one’s body was would hopefully make me do all I could to help.

If anyone is interested, I suggest watching the following which is an interview with a former member of the IRA. The basic message is that the IRA hates Catholics. On the plus side of the video is the description of some very Holy men who never gave up on the souls of the IRA. I was humbled watching the interview.

By the way I never go into a MacDonalds simply because as far as I am concerned they are an anti-Catholic terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths and maiming of innocent children, men and women both here on the mainline and in the UK. They paid for each injury and death by funding the IRA, knowing from media reports that children were being shredded to death by nails or saw their parents being ripped apart by dirty bombs. What saddens me is that even Service personnel over here actively support the very people who murdered their fallen comrades. I have forgiven but I will never forget the evil hypocrisy of MacDonalds. There I got that off my chest!

Still a difficult position to be in.


There’s nothing a priest could do to stop this happening again. Even if he reported it and the murderers were brought to justice, there would be others who would just slot in to carry on the executions.

It would have a dreadful position for any priest to be in, but realistically, the only real option the priest would have would be to administer the sacrament, try to give comfort to the victim, and express his disapproval and condemnation to the perpetrators, hoping that they would repent.

I don’t think that was the only option though. He could do his duty and still do all he could to make sure justice was served. The victim and his family deserve that. Just because there were others who may kill other victims does not give anyone a free pass to murder. Thankfully we will never be placed in this awful situation.

But at what cost? That would most likely result in the IRA stopping the practice of using priests to grant the Sacrament of the Sick to men they were about to execute. Is the likely damnation of more souls, a sensible price to pay to see justice done on a couple of individuals?

As far as the priest ‘doing his duty’. His duty to whom?

This was not a regular practice by the IRA. We will probably never agree as to it being ok to let killers get away with murder based on future ‘what if’ assumptions.

In regards to doing his duty, I was referring to his duty to the victim with administering the sacrament. He could do that and bring murderers to justice.

I do understand you point of view though.

It does actually seem to have been a fairly common practice when the IRA executed one of their own members for informing etc. There have been several case where it is known that this happened. I suspect it might even be written into the IRA’s standard procedure when executing one of their own members who has been found guilty of such offences in their own internal ‘military courts’. The IRA operate very much according to their own laid down procedures and rules in such matters.

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