State violence and collusion in Northern Ireland

State violence and collusion in Northern Ireland

Press Release

Written by: IRR News Team

The latest issue of Race & Class features Mark McGovern’s timely analysis of the colonial roots of state violence and collusion in Northern Ireland.

In 1973, Loyalist paramilitaries threw a grenade into a minibus transporting fifteen construction workers who had been building a Catholic school. Patrick Heenan, 47, took the brunt of the blast and was killed.

Frank Kitson
Frank Kitson

In April this year, the family of Patrick Heenan, along with Relatives for Justice, issued legal proceedings against the Ministry of Defence and the now retired General Sir Frank Kitson, targeting him for ‘enabling the architecture’ that allowed for countless assassinations to take place during the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Professor Mark McGovern analyses the construction of this architecture in ‘State violence and the colonial roots of collusion in Northern Ireland’. The nature of collusion in Northern Ireland was, McGovern argues, premised on the counterinsurgency theory and practices of Britain’s colonial campaigns, when the exclusion of colonial peoples from the protections of international law allowed soldiers ‘to carry out their tasks without excessive wear and tear on their consciences’.

The other architects of counterinsurgency aimed to remove ‘enemies’ and induce fear in their target populations by appearing to adhere to the rule of law. While necessity calibrates the extent and nature of state killing, McGovern argues that the law can adapted or subverted to suit counterinsurgency’s ends.

You can buy a copy of the latest issue of Race & Class for £5 here.

The October 2015 issue also includes:


Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slafi, Murder at Camp Delta: a staff sergeant’s pursuit of the truth about Guantánamo Bay by Joseph Hickman, The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture and The Terror Courts: rough justice at Guantánamo Bay by Jess Brevin (Victoria Brittain)

The Half Has Never Been Told: slavery and the making of American capitalism by Edward E. Baptist and Just Mercy: a story of justice and redemption by Bryan Stevenson (Nancy Murray)

Permis de Tuer: chronique de l’impunité policière edited by Collectif Angles Mortes (Reem Abu-Hayyeh)

Related links

Race & Class: a journal on racism, empire and globalisation

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Race & Class is published quarterly, in January, April, July and October, by Sage Publications for the Institute of Race Relations; individual subscriptions are £34/$63.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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