War on women in Ireland

War on women in Ireland

 After the Easter Rising,  the Irish Republican Brotherhood,( soon to become the IRA) targeted RIC officials with violence and murder. On the suggestion of Winston Churchill, the Black and Tans were formed in 1918 to assist the RIC to get rid of the IRA, or so they thought. They roamed free looking for vengeance. They committed murder, lead a reign of terror and violence throughout Ireland. The easiest targets were women, especially in the more rural parts of Ireland. To remain secret, they  attacked after curfew dragging men and women out of their beds in the middle of the night..

Black and Tans 2Who were the Black and Tans ?

The official name was the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force. Often criminals and drunkards, gun men and petty thieves, they were recruited during the War of Independence to fight the the Irish Republican Army (the IRA). .

With the First World War still raging, uniforms were scarce so a combination of mixed khaki British army with rifle green RIC uniforms gave them their nickname.They acted without mercy, without restrictions or  any regard for women other than spreading fear into Irish hearts. More rapes occurred in Ireland during this time than any other era in history.

Hannah Sheehy Skeffington who was active in women’s suffrage as well as Irish freedom  wrote a pamphlet entitled Statements of Atrocities against women in Ireland. Her sources were from various newspapers, material from the Women’s Franchise League and from her own personal observations.

Black & Tans attack Sinead (Orla Fitzgerald)

Black & Tans attack Sinead (Orla Fitzgerald)

Did it really happen? Where was the proof found of these crimes against women?

Black and Tans 2Sir Hamar Greenwood denied any accusations. He said that over 70,000 British occupied Ireland in the last four years without any charges of major sexual abuse against women, claiming Irish women were protected by British Imperial Forces.  An American Commission on the Conditions in Ireland gathered evidence of crimes but it was seen as biased and not taken seriously. The British Labour Party Commission to Ireland also explored the alleged violence finding assaults on women were common.

Irish War of IndependenceIt was the women themselves more than any other group who took statements, asked questions, and explored the truth in detail. Margaret Connory, a member of the Irish Women’s Franchise League conducted her own investigation which she published in the Irish Exhile, a paper based in England. She spent twenty-nine days listening to first hand accounts of women brutalized, raped, their hair cut off, and humiliated by the Black and Tans.

The violence was not targeted to one side only.  People on the other side, British or Free-Staters were threatened as well. RIC barracks were attacked and houses burned. Wives, servants, and girlfriends risked losing their homes or received threatening letters. The wives of constables and their children were sometimes put out in the street while their homes were set alight.

IRA FlagThe Irish War of Independence had begun.What do you think of the IRA now?

For more Irish history subscribe to this blog.

For more about Women of the Rising go here

Drop me a line for a Free Review copy of Petticoat Rebels of 1916. (coming soon)

A good resource book on Irish Republican Women 1900 – 1922 is Renegades by Ann Matthews.

39 thoughts on “War on women in Ireland

  1. I simply wanted to appreciate you all over again. I do not know what I might have carried out in the absence of the thoughts documented by you concerning such a theme. It became a very terrifying scenario for me, nevertheless finding out the specialized technique you treated the issue forced me to cry with delight. I’m happier for this assistance and in addition hope you are aware of an amazing job you are accomplishing teaching the others through your site. Most likely you have never met all of us.

  2. Needed to create you that very small remark in order to thank you once again with the striking tricks you have discussed above. It is so incredibly generous with you to offer extensively just what many people might have marketed as an e-book to generate some bucks on their own, especially since you might have done it in case you decided. These creative ideas in addition worked to become great way to comprehend the rest have similar passion similar to mine to see a whole lot more concerning this condition. I’m sure there are thousands of more pleasurable opportunities in the future for individuals who looked over your blog post.

  3. I precisely needed to say thanks once more. I do not know what I might have taken care of in the absence of the actual basics revealed by you concerning my concern. Entirely was an absolute alarming case in my view, but finding out a specialised approach you treated the issue forced me to cry with joy. Now i am grateful for this advice and then sincerely hope you are aware of a great job that you are getting into teaching many others through the use of your webblog. Most probably you have never encountered all of us.

  4. Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very nice possiblity to read critical reviews from this blog. It’s always very amazing and full of a good time for me personally and my office fellow workers to visit the blog nearly 3 times in 7 days to study the new things you will have. And definitely, I am usually fulfilled considering the effective knowledge served by you. Certain 2 ideas in this article are surely the most beneficial we’ve had.

  5. Needed to compose you a tiny observation to thank you very much over again about the fantastic knowledge you have contributed at this time. It’s so strangely open-handed with you to convey publicly just what a lot of folks would have marketed for an electronic book to generate some bucks for their own end, especially since you might well have done it if you ever considered necessary. These good tips also served to become fantastic way to fully grasp other people have a similar desire like mine to figure out a great deal more related to this problem. I’m sure there are a lot more pleasant occasions ahead for people who looked over your website.

  6. Thanks a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily special chance to read in detail from this web site. It’s always very pleasing and also stuffed with a lot of fun for me and my office mates to search your blog nearly thrice a week to see the new issues you have. And definitely, I’m at all times astounded with your astounding methods you give. Certain two ideas on this page are undoubtedly the most impressive we have ever had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *