A State in Denial by Margaret Urwin

Browser review

Sat, Mar 18, 2017, 06:00


Book Title:
A State in Denial


Margaret Urwin

Mercier Press

Guideline Price:

You couldn’t make it up: a separate arrest policy for Protestants in Northern Ireland; a loyalist paramilitary known to be responsible for 14 murders, “walking openly around Belfast”; and an undercover army unit that watched as UDA gunmen tried to kill Bernadette McAliskey and her husband. These are some of the disturbing details uncovered by Margaret Urwin in her meticulous examination of declassified British and Irish documents from the 1970s and early 1980s. A State in Denial demonstrates convincingly that the relationship between the British government and loyalist paramilitaries was characterised by collusion and anti-Catholic policies. Indeed, Urwin chillingly concludes that by turning a blind eye towards groups such as the UDA and UVF – for example, by legalising the latter days after it killed 33 people in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings – Britain’s actions “helped to prolong the conflict” and led to the loss of lives that might otherwise have been saved. A valuable work that sheds new light on one of the murkiest aspects of the Troubles.