Brian Hanley
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‘But then they started all this killing’
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In February 1981, Raidió Teleifís Éireann (RTE) screened the final episode of Robert Kee's Ireland: A Television History. It featured an interview with Dubliner Vinny Byrne, a veteran of Michael Collin's 'Squad'. After 1972, the IRA's bombing offensive proved far harder for people to endorse. Sligo Fianna Fáil councillor Tom Deignan moved a motion of sympathy for the relatives of local IRA volunteer Kevin Coen, describing him as having been 'killed by British forces not the first Irishman to be killed by them'. The killing of female cleaning staff was perceived as having robbed Ireland of a moral superiority over the British; the 'dead of Derry dishonoured'. In Magill, Vincent Browne asserted that the 'killing of a 79-year-old man, who has had no personal involvement in the Northern Ireland issue, simply because of his family connections, is unjustifiable in any circumstances'.

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