Seamus Breathnach’s examines Irish society through its norm-creating as well as its norm-breaking agencies. These include the Church controls of Ireland’s State -- its Schools, Law, Police, Courts, Prisons, Media and much more...


1.) Irish Criminology


1a.) Ag a’ Baile

(Agallamh ag an udar leis fein i bfhoirm Qs-agus-A’s idir Sean agus Seamus)


1b.) Raison d’Etre


Nil ach aidhm amhain ag cursai coireolaiochta na h-Eireann – ‘se sin an sochai ina maireann muid a iniuchadh agus a thuiscint. Ceaptar coitianta go mbaineann an choireolaiocht leis na Gardai Siochana amhain, leis na Cuirteanna, leis na Priosuin agus leis an dli choiriuil. Baineann -- ach ni h-ionann san is a ra nach bfuil rud faoi leith a chomead na h-institutidi seo le cheile. Ceard e?


 About Irish Criminology

This web site is provided primarily for the pleasure of Mr. Seamus Breathnach. It is essentially a discourse between Mr. Breathnach and himself (between me and myself) concerning the people and the institutions which, invited and non-invited alike, invade and frame his environment. Needless to say, talking to oneself begins in the personal realms of fado fado. And in the author’s case it began long before he acted as Director of Criminological Studies at the CDVEC (City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee, Rathmines, Dublin) where he lectured in Postgraduate Criminology between 1982 and 2002. In the early eighties the author contracted with the late Jim Hickey (College of Commerce, Rathmines), and, later on, DIT (the Dublin Institute of Technology, Rathmines), to research some of the more prominent concerns in Irish Criminology, and to make such researches available to students. And to some extent the present website, despite the unfortunate direction taken by DIT later on, is done in partial fulfilment of that relationship.

However much the needs of students have moulded the contents of the Diploma Course in Postgraduate Criminology and, derivatively, the contents of this web site, other forces – too numerous to mention – have also played an influential part.

(Hereafter, rather than use the personal pronoun, ‘I’, I would rather refer to myself as ‘The author of this website’ or simply ‘The author.’)

The author has had experience as a member of the Garda Siochana, as a journalist and as a lawyer. In a long career he acknowledges his debt to others, some from the North, some from the South, some who served in Her Majesty’s Forces, émigré Irishmen, Danish collectives, Danish women, ordinary English men and women (would-be writers) who, at one time gathered around the Automobile Association, Leicester Square; Carlovian ex-pats in London (also writers and artists); and a host of influences picked up along life’s highway. The author also practised criminal law as a Barrister for some considerable time before yielding to more primary passions, which drove him more and more into the social sciences. These experiences have no doubt also served to shape the contents as well as the tone of this website.

Undoubtedly, it was the needs of students – which, over a span of twenty years, have had the greatest input into this Website. Unlike Pulpit and Parliament – or even the Courts – the school room has to satisfy questions by reference to quantitative as well as qualitative answers, by reference to fact as well as to theory – and it is these requirements that have had the greatest influence on this Website. Gathering notes and sifting data is a long process, and the ensuing products have to be off-loaded somewhere.  Most of the books, articles and items on this Website are compiled from the author’s personal notes – notes such as one might use in a lecture to defeat a prejudice or point up a moral.

Of course this is not to say that non-students or curious others interested in things either‘ criminal’ or ‘Irish’ will not find something useful on this site to amuse them. One hopes they do. In the service of Irish Criminology this website has one primary aim – to study Irish society; and through the medium of its criminal and penal institutions, to know it critically and to describe it fearlessly, its history, its composition, its values, its goals, its capacities and the reproduction of those systemic values. Without losing sight of the whole one must question Ireland’s pre-disposition to tolerance and intolerance, its values and its received values, its conditioned capacity for cruelty and kindness, its superstitions and dogmas, its gullibility as well as its capacity for science, its central structure and, above all, that centre’s dispersion of powers,

Perhaps one of the peculiar things about Irish society is the manner in which it attracts grand theory. It is probably unique among European countries in this regard. Although keen to wear the superficial glitz of a successful EEC and EU member, being so homogeneously Catholic as well as so ineffably small, Ireland can be seen to be more at home with grand theory than any lesser or partial set of explanatory values. A bit like phosphorous in water, Ireland can best be conceived as a island that has been submerged in toto for at least a thousand years in the ocean of its own religious devotion and has only resurfaced in the late twentieth century to the growl of the Celtic Tiger. It’s resurfaced self, however, is not too different than what was submerged in the middle ages.

Be that as it may, the great bearers of the social values we wish to examine, including those arising from custom, music, dancing, religion, history and law, etc. are easier identified the more homogeneous the society in question is. Unfortunately, the more homogeneous or simple a society is, the easier it is for selected and determined groups, to divert and influence it. It is even possible for a determined group to appropriate such a society and even reproduce its own core values by identifying society’s values with its own. Indeed, in a very simple society, one that is hardly settled or has reduced its reflections to writing, a very small group of people if organised -- even on the basis that it outlives any single lifespan -- can take control of the whole; for most people in simply organised societies rarely contemplate outliving themselves, at least not in an action-oriented way. And when they do consider that which survives them, they fear it and revere it. Religious or corporate groups, therefore, have an advantage far in excess of ordinary individuals and their simple concerns, even when those religious or corporate groups are small in number.

One thing, which needs to be mentioned above all others – and cannot be repeated often enough – is this: mere personal logic will not suffice to penetrate or understand the nature and actions of a corporate body. This we shall focus upon more fully later, but for the moment it is well to realise that the logic of persons is not the logic of groups. If one reflects upon what happens when one meets another person simpliciter, one knows that something happens in the interaction. Morality, it appears, begins when two people meet. When three or four or ten or fifty people meet, or meet towards a definite end, the will of the individual is curtailed on all sides, depending upon the group, the agenda, and the energies invested. The logic, therefore, of the diminished individual does not accord with the logic of group-needs and requirements. So what is needed to comprehend the logic of such corporations or societies is a new logic, a socio-logic, which has important – but not exhaustive -- boundaries at the national level.

It was Nicolo Machiavelli, rather than August Comte or Rousseau, who first understood the limitations of personal logic. When the prudent adviser (Machiavelli) informs The Prince that because he is Prince, and because he has many things outside his person to consider, his honesty (or, what is much the same thing, his logic) cannot be reconciled any more with that of the simple individual citizen – not if he means to keep his kingdom. In other words, the ordinary pious aspirations of individuals, depends to a great extent on their property, their concerns, their politics, their place in the religious and political life of the community. These matters will, as with the Prince, reflect their status and interests in that society and will motivate their morality with respect to those interests, those to whom they will gravitate, and the statements they will accordingly make. Their logic, then, can be seen to differ from that of the simple individual, who by definition is not as organised (belonging to groups) as others and, indeed, may approximate an abstraction or worse, a nuisance, the more unorganised he is.

Before leaving this subject, let me en passant recommend Machiavelli’s The Prince to those who wish to appreciate the limits of personal charm. 

Armed with this insight, we can now say that Ringy, Jack Lynch, Mick Mackey and Jimmy Doyle were great hurlers, but none (or all) of them was the GAA. Ringy could not even speak for the Cork team (except when he turned selector). And Jack Lynch had more say in the government of his day than he had in determining who on the Cork team should take the free pucks. And though Tipperary advisers were always wise to delegate Jimmy Doyle as their number one sharp shooter, even if it seemed like a foregone conclusion, it was nevertheless a logical conclusion arrived at by the selectors and not by Jimmy Doyle personally.  Similarly, in all other fields, the logic of this person is not the logic of the group. for when ordinary individuals like the Priest, the Politician, the Civil Servant , the Barrister or the Football Player – when they join a group – any group – they alienate more or less what is personal to themselves concerning that group. And they obviously do this in return for whatever benefits, real or imagined, they anticipate thereafter. This does not mean that such alienation is to be either trusted or distrusted, but rather that personal logic will not answer for the group’s activities. They are separate and apart. Moreover, when Pope Adrian IV gave Ireland to Henry 11 as a gift, its justification in personal terms is ostensibly false, inadequate and futile. As one commentator described it:

“… around 1155 the (English) Pope Adrian IV authorized King Henry II to invade Ireland "to proclaim the truths of the Christian religion to a rude and ignorant people”; on condition that a penny should be yearly paid from each house to the See of Rome. The Pope based his right to Ireland thus:

"For it is undeniable, and your majesty acknowledges it, that all islands on which Christ the sun of righteousness hath shined, and which have received the Christian faith, belong of right to St. Peter and the most holy Roman church." (Laudabiliter)

Even though both Pope and Prince, donor and donee, were Englishmen, and notwithstanding Adrian’s ‘ Anglicana affectione’, any logic personalising the gift fails to see either political power of Popes, or, what is much the same thing, the dialectics of power between successive Popes and Princes, or, alternatively, are blinded by their own religious egoism. Possibly all of these conditions afflicted the Irish; but the fact remains that the personal logic adopted over the centuries was calculated to deceive the host nation, such that it remained in denial of the most obvious fact for centuries on end. It was – after the Donatio Constantini – the greatest fraud perpetrated upon the Irish people ever.

So, what logic ought we to use to understand group activity?

While sociologists differ widely on the philosophic underpinnings of methodology, there is a consensus as to their sociological content.  Lecturers as ‘perceiving the reality behind the façade’ invariably refer to this consensus. It is hoped that this Website (particularly at WebPages 2, 7, 9, 13 and 14 respectively) will furnish an answer to this question without for the moment addressing it directly or dogmatically.

Suffice it for the moment to say that it is those with a hard corporate agenda, who more or less enshrine and transmit the bulk of received values and wisdoms. They also transmit the manner in which agendas are compiled, who should present them, and how they should be presented it is also apparent that some more than others, in creating and enforcing their own values, wish to have them universally respected and universally imposed. Because of their nature, religions tend, on this account, to be intolerant and totalitarian. For our part we can assert that there are no accidents, only contrived human activity. And on foot of that we can try to differentiate how these values, customary and deeply ingrained, are transmitted. We can try to learn who transmits them, and under what circumstances they are transmitted or, alternatively, under what circumstances they can be changed or resisted but this is a subject better dealt with in anthropology rather than history. For our present purposes we mention these things in order to anticipate the obvious multidisciplinary concerns of modern criminology.

In this vein, therefore, one should not be afraid to slip one’s moorings if research requires it, and go wherever reason and critical enquiry leads. One should not shrink from enquiring into related areas, into the origins of either morals or the genome, into the difference between Keynesians and Monetarists, or for that matter into the purpose of philosophy, the limits of psychology or the unquestioned dogmas of religion. Such curiosity at the outset behoves the prospect of formulating a philosophy and criminology of one’s own. We do not, therefore, deny the value of a multidisciplinary approach – such, indeed, is what the author conceives the sociological imagination in part to be. The remaining sociological part is how one constitutes the disciplines into a total perspective. The remainder of this Overview is primarily designed towards outlining such a perspective.

So, where to begin?

(O aimsear Freud -- agus roimhe sin fiu, o aimsear Maine de Biran no Renouvier anall -- ni mor don ainilseoir gur mhaith leis cursios a dheanamh ar chursai shoisialta, amharc a phearsain fein a nochtadh. Ni nach ionadh, ni feidir le h-einne saol duine eile a aimsiu i gcupla bfhocal ar Website ar bith agus nil an t-udar seo ro-thogtha le nochtadh ar bith maidir lena shaol phriobhaideach. Fairis sin, afach, glacann (1.a). Ag a’ Baile leis go bfhuill ciall ag dul leis na cupla focail, mar a dearfa, agus leis na pictiiuiri a roghnaiodh. Ta fhios ag einne a mhaireann ar feadh breis agus seasca bliain nach bfhuil W ebsite ar bith oiriunach o thaobh spais agus speis de a shaol a abairt. Mar sin, ni saol an udair ata ann, ach rogha beag des na dathannai mora a thug – agus a thugann -- miniu agus milseacht da shaol. Agus ce nach raibh riomh Gaeilge o dhuchas aige, b’fhearrde dho an stracfheacaint seo ar a churaimi phriobhaideacha a choimead faoi scath na Gaeilge.)

The story of Irishcriminology is one of singular fascination and one can only hope that the reader shares the author’s enthusiasm for it from the outset. Failing that , one hopes that the reader may become infected with its (1.b.) Raison d’Etre. If not, one can only hope that some aspects of the site holds an appeal for those who have entered it; although it would be the author’s preference if those whose interest is peaked would review it in full, rather than flick their way through the webpages.

Even a stranger to Ireland could not but be struck by the incidents of public scandals. To mention but three of them – there is clerical paedophilia, the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, and the incidents of Tribunals aimed at eliciting the overabundance of sleaze throughout the Republic. These items alone, when put together, must make the most recalcitrant feel that a new language is necessary to engage the bigger picture, which these scandals provoke. Such a language is the primary business of criminology.

Any real examination of Irish culture will begin, one feels, with some reflection on its origins and tensions. The (2.) History/Anthropology Webpage, therefore, is where we begin our quest. Understandably, before embarking upon our analyses, some preliminary matters require our attention, the most important of which is to acquire a ‘sense of history’.

So important is a sense of history to any and every social science – not to mention its civilising properties on the individuals who study it -- that to proceed without critically fashioning such a sense of history and some sense of Irish history, is tantamount to buffoonery of an inexplicable order. The especial problem in Ireland is that the cultural base is so close to what we find in a European museum that the proper study of Irish history may well be anthropological in nature. Moreover, without a theory of history, however unsophisticated, any attempt at understanding the dispersion of ideal or predominant forms of the Irish personality is impossible. To assist himself in this task, the author has prepared three works (2.a., 2b, and 2.c.) attempting to explain what he means at this very important juncture.

(2.a.) Emile Durkheim On Crime And Punishment introduces the enquirer to some criminological concerns at the anthropological and historical levels and insinuates at the same time a sociological method which at once dislocates him from the individual and personal perspectives of the priest, the psychologist and the lawyer --whose views, however important they may be with respect to individual cases, far too often inhibit explanation at the criminological or sociological level, and tend, generally, to impoverish the kinds of discourse that need to be developed. In this very vein, and designed to rescue Irish criminological ‘debate’ from it’s a-historical fixations, the following work was written.

(2.b.) The Criminological History of Ireland is an effort to define some essential concepts regarding history and Irish history ,and at the same time to delineate the main movements in that history that effectuate a differential in the paradigm of the Irish personality. Such a history furthermore tries to direct attention away from the superficiality of the dominant clichés that assume the reducibility of Irish criminological history to discrete statements concerning this ‘ism’, that ‘period’, ‘the legal system ‘ or ‘the traditional view’.

But one must concede that certain epochs, events or, indeed, trials are more influential than others. Fourteenth century Ireland, for example, because it laid down the most fundamental rules of the Christian conquest has had a remarkable effect on all Irish life. At least this is a proposition worth pursuing. And where better to seek confirmation for such a thesis than in Kilkenny, where, with some trepidation, we try to unpack what we have come to regard as the Mona Lisa of Irish Criminological literature. However comic it is to imagine for a moment a fourteenth century English Bishop, laden with ‘pontificals’, running around Kilkenny, torch and faggot at the ready, trying to catch a septuagenarian Flemish Matron in order to burn the Bejasus out of her, it still could not detract from the centrality of this quintessentially Irish case. By ‘Irish’ I do not mean that it is particularly the product of creative native social or cultural phenomena. On the contrary, it is quintessentially ‘Irish’ because, more than any other single event, it radiates the Christian Irish conquest, its terms and conditions of conquest, together with the national and international mores that have compromised – indeed, defined -- Irish culture ever since. From its inception the Christian conquest resolved to occupy the most ingrained position in the Irish psyche and has never been questioned, much less challenged.

And even if the fourteenth century case of (2.c.) Alice The Irish Witch exhibited significant and original aspects germane to the history of ideas, it also presents us with a skeletal framework of the body politic of the Christian conquest, including the regard (or lack of it) in which Gaelic Ireland was held. This was no simple imposition of the Holy Roman religion upon an immature Gaelic and Pagan one. Far from it! In its boldness, its originality, in its total uncompromising arrogance, it appropriated, manufactured and packaged Irish fertility to the single and uncompromising service of the Holy Roman Empire. In audacity and scope, it paralleled the epic proportions of the Tain. But it went far beyond the conquest of fertility. In its socially engineered programmes the Roman Church retained Irish fertility in perpetuity. This coveted fertility and its prolonged protection was -- from the beginning -- embedded with paradigmatic precision in the Irish psyche. Furthermore, it was fashioned and designed never – until quite recently – to acquire the wherewithal to outgrow its imperial programming. The reasons for this were both mesmeric and paralytic; for part of the programming was to ensure that any attempt to outgrow or replace the Holy Family (now embedded in the Irish psyche) was sure to result in a paralysis of effort  which, sooner or later, was converted yet again into a self-fulfilling holy Roman prophecy.

For these extraordinary reasons the author regards both these analytical works -- 2.b. and 2. c. --(Both unfinished) as of primary importance to an understanding of the Website as a whole. Webpage 2.a. attempts to inaugurate a new philosophy of Irish history and 2.b. purports to identify the forces at work in Ireland’s anti-history, its violent past, its stultified present and its perfectly invisible and spontaneous future. These forces, which have been present over the past fifteen hundred years, are still visible on the very barren ground of the Irish intellectual landscape!

The replacement – and the manner of replacement -- of the extended family, the tribe, by the ‘Holy’ Roman Family determined by way of absolute displacement the ensuing centuries of Irish social and familial life – directly down to the contemporary preconditions of the Northern Ireland --‘troubles’, not to mention the Irish Diaspora of clerical paedophilia.

It is a strong theme of this site that in every succeeding century the same seeds of social engineering, though planted by the foreign government throughout Ireland’s middle ages, were maintained by the aficionados of the Christian conquest and led invariably, logically and socio-logically to its continuing violence. Once set in motion the forces of the conquest necessarily implied the prolonged destruction of the autochthonous race of Gaels, whose entire culture, (philosophy, religion, extended familial arrangements, together with their laws, customs, past-times and their entire use of the Gaelic language), was destroyed forever.

By logical extension of the middle ages, (3.) The Criminology of the Christian Conquest can be viewed as the Holy Roman Empire’s civil war, or partly so. The bid for power amongst the now divided Christian conquerors should not alarm us. It is perfectly comparable with the civil wars amongst the city-states that preceded the Christian conquest and the nation states that followed it.

To sustain the ground won by the Christian conquest various old frontiers had to be protected while new ones had to be created. Throughout the Renaissance and the Reformation, new crimes of Church and State served to define the advancing dialectic of Church and Nation State.

(3.a.) The Religious Wars are a continuation of this condition. In Ireland it is ab initio a foreign conquest, the dialectic between the conquest parties, Rome and London, reinforcing in turn, at first the undesirability and immorality of Gaelic civilisation (by Rome) and then the repression and redundancy of it (by Rome and London). The protagonists are now marshalled against each other, -- not as crusaders and infidels, Norman knights and Irish pagans, but as Roman and English Christians versus Gaelic pagans and heretics.

Up to the time of the Reformation the Knights, operating out of their headquarters in Kilmainham, understood their power in Ireland within (and without) the jurisdiction of the Donation of Constantine, which, coupled with the Donatio Hiberniae (Laudabiliter), legitimated every act of plunder, plantation and murder done by the English in Ireland. This legitimacy, first Papal, was no mere venture after the fashion of the crusades, but issued forth from the feared and hallowed halls of Rome and Avignon. Under the shifting hegemony of the Reformation, however, it was to the mercantilist Prince – rather than the medieval Pope – that Ireland looked to have this new jurisdiction legitimated anew. The Holy Romans, who could not withstand the rasping history of the English, remained totally and comfortably in control in Ireland. And notwithstanding the fact that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery and the further fact that the Donation Hiberniae (Laudabiliter) was denied by every authority over Ireland, the Irish never managed to focus on their real enemies. Even though the forged document, the Donation of Constantine, could not legitimate Laudabiliter even if it hadn’t been a forgery, the process went ahead without any regard for the Irish. In other words, when Adrian IV presented Ireland to Henry 11, the grounding instrument was denied over and over, so that the intention of ever informing the Irish of the sale of their fatherland was never contemplated. Instead it was denied repeatedly by those religious who proclaimed their love of Ireland in equal intensity to their love of truth -- neither of which was equal to their love of the Papacy!

In retrospect we can see that the earlier Christians, and their exaggerated esteem of religion, first capitulated to the sovereignty of Canterbury and through Lanfranc led the way, after the fashion of a judas goat, to the promulgation of Laudabiliter and the submission of the native Irish. The fault, if one can talk of fault in such matters, lies fairly and squarely on the Holy Romans, the English, arguably absolved by doing what everyone else at the time needed to do for either self-protection or selfadvancement.  Moreover, when one considers the later fate of the Incas, the Aztecs and South America in general, Gaelic Ireland and its decayed culture have much to contribute to the imperialist religious museum.

With the religious wars – particularly the thirty years war -- comes the widening incidence of martyrdom. What marks the litany of martyrs and the RC Church’s reverence for martyrs is the exclusively penological and victimological dimension of their power to evoke sympathy, even in the heat of war. (3.b.) The Criminology of Martyrology is designed to remind us of the irresponsible connection between unquestioned beliefs and the consequences of their dogmatic demands.

Everyone knows that the best way to defend is to attack. All old soldiers know it only too well. And so, too, does the oldest soldiers of all, the well-trained members of the RC church. In a similar vein they know that the best defence against the charge of being unbelievably wealthy, is to claim poverty and beg at every corner and turn of the road. And the best way to ward off charges of torture and cruelty (whether arising out of the Inquisition, the Witchcraft trials, or the beating and buggering of children in schools across the world) is to plead a victimology of your own. The long-term -- as well as the immediate – effect of claiming to be a victim is to disarm all enquiries into the charges against one. And Martyrology fits into this extraordinary category – which is why agitators are seen at once as martyrs and traitors, the one glorified by the Church and the other despised by the State. This was a carry-over of the trial of the Knights Templars. When they were fighting the crusades, both Prince and Pope, supplied them with the wherewithal necessary to slay the heathen on all sides. But when they returned to Europe, since they held or could have held the balance of power between Pope and Prince, became the logically embroiled enemies of both.

From the perspective of (4.) Crime and Punishment in Eighteenth Century Ireland what we find is what we must expect to find – a Presbyterian nationalism contesting its essentially bourgeois composition against the superior forces of the English. What is most craved here is the right to exploit what it regards as its own resources, its own country. The ambivalence with the Catholic masses, therefore, has now reached an impasse which resonates with what was present at the original Christian conquest – what does one do with the superstitious natives? In the teeth of war Wolfe Tone wants to ‘raise’ Catholics to the rank of citizenship.  At least this was better than being killed as an ‘Hibernicus’ under the Normans or hanged as a Roman Rebel under Cromwell. If nothing else the Irish Catholics learned (for the first time) the nature of materialist nationalism from the Presbyterians. They could never have learned this from the Holy Romans. Why? Because the Holy Romans had once sold them to the English, and if they either learned about their own history or about the Church or about nationalism, they would no longer be exploitable by the Holy Romans. And even to the present day the IRA/Sinn Fein alliance vacillates between its religious/secular components, as if it never quite made the grade to the bourgeois plateau of the Presbyterians from whom they learned their nationalism.

For most of Europe the Renaissance meant a renewal of learning, a looking back at the past in an attempt to make a history, and to reexamine the classics of the past. With the Irish there was nowhere to look. The Gaels had been hated and eradicated by the religious groupings, and there was very little past the Statutes of Kilkenny that wasn’t written in the tiresome language of Church Latin. The arts had no base but a foreign one from which to develop, and even to the present day it is hard to conceive of the Irish with any grasp of history, much less of philosophy or the philosophy of history. Indeed, religions have a capacity in Ireland to remain like static electricity, a pious tautology of the mythologically obvious. (5). Crime and Punishment in Nineteenth Century Ireland, therefore, is the outcome of a tiresome wait. It lies somewhere between a litinised Martyrology of Churchmen on the one hand and the inability of immolated patriots to compete with them on the other.

The nineteenth century Irishman found that he had inherited the patriotism of Wolfe Tone and the bourgeois Presbyterians, but this rhetoric was converted into Catholic ballads – as if 1798 had been a peasants’ revolt! Coupled with the victimology of the Catholic sacrifice, even after the Catholic sell-out of the Presbyterians, the new move was for Catholic Emancipation. The same or similar forces orchestrated both the famine and the scaffold. The betrayal of the middle ages and, principally the Catholic Church’s part in that continuing betrayal resulted in a long wait for the Messiah, the New Jerusalem, and the wait was kept alive by successive bloody assizes. At first there was the Tithe War, the attack mostly against the usurping Established Protestant Church.  Whatever Christian conquest there had been, the British were to blame for it. At least that was the story coming from the Catholic Church, and they knew only too well how to tell a story. They had already blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesu – never the Roman Empire!

Then there was the struggle for Catholic (not Irish or Gaelic) Emancipation (the Church organising itself and its nation under Daniel O Connell, a ‘Liberator’). Then there was the 1848 Rising, a further Rising by the Fenians in 1867, the Land League, when the Church lets the would-be nation (and Parnellites) know who’s who at the Irish powerstakes.  There is hardly an event in the nineteenth century (or, for that matter, the twentieth century) that is not directly traceable to the same kind of foreign Government as obtained in Alice Kyteler’s time.

On a lighter but relevant note the (5.a.) The Riddle of the Caswell Mutiny, tells the tale of a mutiny that occurred in the mid1870s. It describes the mutiny and the reasons for it, the succeeding countermutiny, and how the survivors to the Caswell back to cork, where the Greek mutineer, Bombos, was tried and hanged. The testimony against the Bombos was convincing, and he was hanged with a Fenian type terrorist Thomas Crowe, who was over sixty when he was hanged. These trials are dealt with at length, as are their executions and the opinions of the day respecting them. Three years later another mutineer, who had escaped, is captured, tried in Cork, with the same outcome. The story lends some colour to the century and provides a connection with Agrarian crime as well as distinct pictures of the awful ceremony attending upon the sacrifice of hanging. (For other nineteenth century crimes See: (19.) Addenda)

A similar type of nineteenth century justice is present in (5.b.) The Maam Trasna Murders. This murder case was probably the most exasperating murder case in the nineteenth century criminal calendar. As one might imagine what makes it stand out is, inter alia, the fact that it appears at first as a ‘crime ordinary’ murder, one without further ramifications political or religious. When analysed, however, it turns out to be utterly shot through with political and religious concerns, with an infectious doggedness for covering any defined statement that approximates truth, but which -- the more one progresses – overwhelms the dramatis personae and forces them into a swamp that has for a floor a bottomless and shifting pit of unreliable and makeshift verbiage.

How does one describe a society in which no one is credible?

No one was brought to justice for the worst family slaughter since Macbeth, and while nothing could be proved one feels overwhelmingly that everyone knew who did the killing and why, but they preferred to talk about it, and talk about it, and talk about it…. Yet another proof that a religious community is not a society! And certainly does not possess the higher morality of an integrated secular society.

Twentieth century Ireland visibly carries the hieroglyphics of the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries. The Christian conquistadores, Catholics and Protestants, continue their initial onslaught, but this is no longer against the Gaelic speaking pagans but against themselves. The pagan Gaels are well and truly dead to the pretensions of Papal imperialism as well as Protestant Legalism. Even the dulcet tones of Thomas Davis cannot reach them. In place of Gaelic annihilation, what we have is its ghost. Phoenixlike – or so it is believed – Gaelic Ireland comes alive in the Gaelic League, Conradh Na Gaeilge, the make-belief movement that gives some credence to the Catholic Nationalists’ prejudiced notion, that ancient Ireland was something that the British -- rather than the Popes and their Norman, Anglici and Irish clerics – destroyed. Up to the 1922, learning Irish functioned on the level of a continuing fallacy – a fallacy that promoted resistance to imperialist Britain and disguised with impunity the entrenchment of imperialist Rome. Since the Reformation the reformed and un-reformed church, mostly in the form of Irish Protestantism and Catholicism confronted each other time and time again, and in 1922, for the first time since the twelfth century, the natives (now ‘Irish’ rather than Gaels or Anglici) win the day for Roman Catholicism.

reflects the dialectic of the parties to the Christian Conquest shoots through (6.) Crime and Punishment in Twentieth Century Ireland in ways that are not immediately apparent. Indeed, the composition of Irish ‘criminologists’ is designed never to examine either Irish society or Irish history – but is primed to talk about ‘crime’ in the abstract.

This topic also reflects the postures, which the Christian conquerors assume in the face of the development of possessive individualism and the development of ‘materialism’ generally. In its misunderstanding of ‘materialism’ the Catholic church betrays a naiveté, particularly concerning its own attachment to wealth and power, that is quite untenable in any developed society. Throughout World War11 (and a decade thereafter) Whitaker/Lemass took to reading Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936). Languidly thereafter the new Republic, driven by its critical loss of manpower through emigration, was glad to follow the Protestant/materialist example and acclaim the virtues of producing wealth. Otherwise, Protestants and Catholics alike would have left Ireland – and left it to its most unproductive and obscurantist elements, namely, the Catholic Church and its uneducatable Taliban. Protestants, on the other hand, were reluctant to boast about materialist successes, such that in an unguarded moment, one might be excused for thinking that Max Weber’s Die Protestantische Ethik und der 'Geist' des Kapitalismus (translated in 1930 into Protestantism and the Rise of Capitalism) was brought about after all by pure accident. Though not a detailed study of Protestantism – but rather an entrée to Weber's later works on religions and economics. One might be forgiven for suspecting that the connection between religion and economics was learned as much from Puritans (through Weber) as much as from Protestants (through Keynes). The problem was to deliver the pill of materialism orally to the Irish Catholics (through Lemass/Whitkaer), and this was a Joycean achievement of language as much as a kaleidoscopic skill in focus and silence.

The century is divided into three periods, each allocated a volume of text. The great Catholic triumph of 1922 – and its more matured celebration at the Eucharistic Congress a decade later, is nowhere diminished first by the Protestant exodus, and, then, -- incipiently at first and thereafter in a flood in the fifties -- the exodus of Catholics. It is only with mass emmigration of both Protestants and Catholic that the true anti-materialist nature of Catholicism becomes evident. Ireland was haunted by Weber’s thesis on puritanical capitalism, or more significantly the connection between belief and production, belief and the division of labour. In Ireland’s case the inability to produce wealth in the frozen climate of religious idealism remained evident throughout the century.

In (6.) Crime And Punishment In Twentieth Century Ireland: Volume 1: To Those Who Wait, 1900-1950, the periods 1900-1922 and 1922 --1950 are contrasted. The logical conclusion of the first Christian conquerors is by now apparent. Gaelic lands, appropriated for Christian use and benefit, and several times severed and enclosed on the one hand by the apportioning of Religious Dioceses and Parishes and on the other by the demarcation of secular Baronies and Counties – all these past appropriations and severances are to be finally severed yet again. This time the severance, at the hands of an exhausted secular and humane power, points up for the first time in Irish history the two original and enduring protagonists who ruled it since the time of Patrick and Kyteler.  In Ireland the first –are-last and the last-are-first only because the victory has been total, and the spoils are between friends.

What was present in the fourth, the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries, is still present, active and vindictive in Twentieth century Ireland. In 1922 the division of Ireland into the most logical apportionments that identify the interests of the original Christian conquerors takes place. The Mediterranean myth, for centuries implicit in Ireland’s history-less past, becomes explicit. Northern Ireland (now representing British/Irish and transplanted Protestantism rather than Romano-Anglici-Normans) and the Free State (representing Roman autochthonous Catholicism rather than Patrician and Papal Norman clerics) are cleft asunder. But even this apartheid cannot prevail; for at the end of the century the old antagonisms reassert themselves in Northern Ireland in a vigour, which the Southern Catholics were spared.

(7.) Crime and Punishment in Twentieth Century Ireland, Volume 2: A Description of The Criminal Justice System (CJS), 1950-1980 tries to correct the manner in which, on the one hand, the most authoritative persons benefiting from The Crime Industry, have written at length on the Criminal Justice System without, it would appear, explaining in any realistic terms what in effect they are talking about. One can do this in Ireland!

The second matter, which needs to be put aright, is the unfortunate mess they have made of the criminal statistics. Again one feels that the persons addressing these matters are so removed from the Irish Criminal Justice System and the manner in which it works that one wonders about their credibility. Indeed, a good livelihood can be made out of looking at the criminal statistics in the most superficial manner imaginable, declaring, on the one hand, that they are not good enough for them to use for some purpose or other, and then, on the other hand, referring them to someone else to say what ought to be done to correct their incurable deficiencies. Passing the proverbial buck is rampant in Ireland. Either that or they criticise the statistics for not having precisely what they do have, that is, a full account of how each crime (and indictable crimes generally) in the calendar is carried through the courts, giving their broad outcomes, the estimated sentences, and their aggregate recidivism rates.

The Gaelic entries (As Gaeilge) first focused on the more modern difficulties with Garda Statistics as well as the real use to which they could be put. But the difficulties then specified were not the same difficulties that Dr. David Rottman -- and those who echoed his criticisms -- referred to. It is now perfectly clear that most of the references made in respect of Irish Crime Statistics are a little off the proverbial wall. Most of the things that are customarily declared about the Garda Commissioner’s Annual Report on Crime are absolutely wrong.

(7.) Crime and Punishment in Twentieth Century Ireland, Volume 2: A Description Of The Criminal Justice System (CJS), 1950-1980 is a full and elaborately detailed clarification of these statistics, their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and is an attempt to set the record straight. The assertions made by most commentators are more or less imitative of findings that were never challenged. This work challenges these comments; for the repetition of one untruth cannot be allowed to stand, especially when others repeat it unreflectively. And what more than anything else confirms this regrettable state of affairs is the hard realisation that people who speak of the criminal statistics leave nothing in their works which would lead anyone to believe that they are in the slightest familiar with their chosen topic. By achieving the solid installation of such misleading notions in ‘Irish academic circles’, the whole aspect of promoting people, might I say ‘ Opus-Dei-like’ is not only subversive of the social sciences in Ireland, but is of itself an item only equal in significance to the inability of ‘criminologists’ to comprehend the Garda Siochana statistics on crime in the first place. No doubt the ‘subversive’ one is related by way of a pious notion of the sciences to the other.

Apart from simply ploughing through the Commissioner’s Annual Report to demonstrate their intrinsic value, two further steps need to be taken before any sensible policy statements can be made with respect to the CJS as a whole or to its assembled parts, the Police, the Courts, the Probation Services, the Prisons, etc. These two things consist of 1. Knowing quantitatively and qualitatively how the CJS is constructed annually (Model ‘75) and how the essential variables of that construction have varied, if at all, over time (Figure 2.1).

Model ’75 is a complete step-by-step analysis of the statistics provided by the relevant Garda Commissioner’s Annual Report on Crime, the Statistical Abstracts and the Prison Reports. It is also a demonstration of what the real quantified Criminal Justice System looks like. The object, of course, is not simply to make a picture of the nation’s inner soul, but to proportionate the contribution of the respective agencies, which comprise the system. There is no point, after all, in calling something The Criminal Justice System unless we are prepared to depict it as a system. By conceiving of the proportions involved in the system we are half way to creating policy in respect of scarce resources and their allocation, not to mention our new capacity to focus and criticise the pretensions and efficacy of the system as it performs from year to year. But greater than all these advantages is the advantage that flows from discovering a recidivist rate which, when added to model’76, gives us the key to assessing the efficiency of the CJS as a whole – for all recidivists are, by definition, a system’s failure. But more of this anon.

Figure 2.1 is a simple way of examining the performance of some of the C1S’s most essential variables since 1950. And with both the comprehensiveness of model ’75 and the time-analysis of Figure 2.1, we are given a much greater understanding of the CJS than ever before. For the moment, all that remains is that we describe the system’s component parts.


The trouble is that the Irish Parliament is such an anaemic child, and as the RC church knows only too well, easily led and easily influenced. Parliament makes enormous monies available to the Police, the Courts, the Probation Services, the Prisons, and enough ‘Experts’ to satisfy the most secret ambitions of both the Church and the Church’s State. Parliament does this on two assumptions. One is that enough money paid to enough police will capture enough criminals to keep enough courts and lawyers busy in sentencing enough criminals to enough prisons and places of detention so as to keep enough Priests, Nuns and Probation Officers (and enough ‘Experts’) in enough work for a year – all of whom, operating in solo, will generate enough complaints to secure enough or more money to get the whole thing going all over again and secure matters for another year. The second assumption is that this is an intelligent thing to do!

The Police

Despite their many powers, the Irish police have the difficult raison d’Etre of protecting us from ourselves. That they are invariably shat upon by ‘Experts’ in – and employed by – the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform is a sine qua non of the new embryonic class formation. This sustained attitude is not just a political restructuring of defined police roles, but also of the stereotypical allocated to ‘clever’ lawyers, ‘ambitious’ Civil Servants, ‘knowing’ priests and ‘inscrutable’ psychologists. It also betrays the Department’s felt need to manage and predict the use of police powers and outcomes in the interests of a more conservative and possessive -- almost Opus Dei-like – orientation. This orientation, already achieved with respect to the Technological Colleges, the Civil Service and the Irish Bench-and-Bar, suggests a pregovernmental agenda by higher powers, in accordance with which the police are being re-organised. Why it is futile to look to an opposition at this level in Ireland is precisely due to the expertise of Opus Dei cadres, who have penetrated the Labour Party quite deeply, but which, in truth, even under the naïve banner of James Connolly, was always Catholic in its Irishness and sacerdotal in its socialism.

Apart from these political speculations, police (Garda Siochana) powers are quite extraordinary. Yet the traditional view is that the policeman is merely another citizen in uniform. This lecture, in the main, attempts to describe the organised structure and orientation of the Garda Siochana. In so doing, it recognises three levels of police reality. One concerns the garda as an individual person. This is the traditional view and interest in his powers tends invariably to dominate any delineation of the status in society. But there is also the Garda Siochana, as a structured, powerful organisation. In both these cases we shall argue that the garda, whether individually or collectively, defies the simple “citizen-equation”. Then there is the locus of the police within the CJS, where its influence is primary, not just – as we have already seen – to provide the basic figures for wrongdoing in our society – and upon which all our discourse depends – but also to influence each part and totality of the whole system of criminal justice. While these three aspects or perspectives on the gardai cannot be addressed at once, this lecture attempts to focus attention on the primacy of the latter aspect, while supporting the notion that each member of the force enjoys and exercises privileged legal rights, whether compared with either the Irish citizen or the British constable.

The Courts

The whole of the CJS appears to be greater than the sum of its parts. It is inconceivable that the high guilty rate achieved and sustained is the outcome of accident. On the face of it, it implies that the personnel involved in the CJS have entered into defined relationships to produce the high conviction rate. What constitute in aggregate the autonomous interests, who secure this annual guilty rate, are the respectively structured decisions of the actors involved. Put another way, the constantly high rate of proof obtained in the lower courts gives credence to the notion that there is an active and autonomous organisation of normative values shared by the actors comprising the CJS and which are annually reproduced and reflected in the guilty rate.


To break the criminal cycle, it is clearly necessary to enlighten us about the disposition of the weaker members of our society. The‘ recidivist rate’ is sufficient demonstration of the need for help and advice of a type that is not simply legal on the part of those offenders who are continually given custodial sentences. Such a service is the Probation and Welfare Service.

The trick in the Probation Service is two fold. One trick is to put it about that there is no such thing in Irish criminology as a ‘recidivist rate’ (See Report of the Expert Group on Crime Statistics) and the secondly is that only devout Catholics can be professional enough to do Probation work in Ireland. (See Irish Independent, Monday, Sept. 20, 2004)

Catholic Probation, like Catholic Criminology, is nonsense. When will the Bishops realize that they know nothing about family life or its sociology? They know nothing about women, as lovers or wives or as people. They know nothing about children, as offspring or as needful individuals in their formative years, in their teens, or in a make-belief society. In effect they know little or nothing about the psychological, sexual or financial needs of families. So would they please get out of pretending that they are professionally capable of either re-educating youth or of protecting them from their marauding and unhealthy members? They would not know a professional social worker any more than they know the needs of a secular society. They gave up any inkling of being secular and familiar long ago, when they opted for eternal glory, and the comfort of temporary communal living!

How do the Irish people rescue their country from marauding Holy Romans? How in effect do they protect their children from people who make such outrageous and unsustainable claims? More immediately, how can a knee-jerking anaemic make-belief State recognize professional social workers when they meet them?


There are many ways of looking at the CJS, but all of them lead – or in any event, should lead – to an overview of the system as a whole. To assist this overview it is convenient to look at a representation of two aspects of the system: one, which demonstrates the rise or fall of major crimes over a period, say, between the years 1950-80. The second things we need to know is how, with respect to persons, these offences/offenders were treated in the courts. We need to see what sentences they attracted in respect of each category of crime. We then need to know how many particularly are given a custodial sentence and whether they have had previous sentences of a similar type.

Now all these matters, no matter what misleading statements the so-called ‘Experts’ have been repeating, are – or were – perfectly available up to the time when the Department of Justice, etc. decided to give the police a computer called the PULSE; for thereafter, and thanks to said ‘Experts’ no such valuable data has been available.

Why is the recidivist rate so important?

A recidivist rate informs us of the number of convicted persons who return to prison or who are re-convicted or return to have some involvement in the CJS (Criminal Justice System). The better rate for our purposes is, of course, the conservative one, the one that concentrates on the number of times a person is sentenced to some term of imprisonment or custody.

It is this rate that also informs us of the failure of the CJS and all its agencies. At one level it is the acid test that we can hold against the mountains of purple prose we hear from those who promote prisons as well as prison reform.

From research already done in this area we are perfectly satisfied that the whole Aufbau of the CJS is based on the tiniest number of recidivists who seem to be incurable or, alternatively, all the prisons and their reformers do not work one jot of difference to anything except their own egos.

The recidivist rate is important, furthermore, because it completes the CJS pictorially, quantitatively and significantly. With it we can see the system as a circular flow in which recidivists are managed by an excessive number of officials, including religious experts, criminologists, journalists, ‘experts’ on police, ‘experts’ on prisons, ‘experts’ on the courts, the law, as well as an army of child-care workers. The recidivist rate is the acid test of the whole system’s failure and of the uselessness of inexpert advice, including that of the Department of Justice. Whatever the Department of Justice thinks about the CJS, it is a matter of utter indifference to the recidivist-rate. But this is not why we don’t have a recidivist-rate. Why the Irish don’t have a recidivist-rate is because the Department of Justice and their advisers do not understand the CJS and are, therefore, incapable of counting crime in any meaningful way.

8. Crime and Punishment in Twentieth Century Ireland Volume 3: The Crime Industry, 1980-2005

We repeat:

Without an overview of the CJS as outlined above, there can be no real policies formulated with respect to the CJS itself, or the separate institutions of Parliament, the Police, the Courts, the Prisons, and the Probation Service. The above proposition is self-evident.

At the present time, however, the greatest amount of money ever spent on the CJS since the foundation of the State is spent annually. Perhaps, this is, as it ought to be. At the same time, however, there are two interconnecting and unmistakable features, which, when put together, make for a disconcerting picture of Irish justice.

The one is the very high recidivist rate exhibited in (7.) Crime and Punishment in Twentieth Century Ireland, Volume 2: A Description Of The Criminal Justice System (CJS), 1950-1980 and the ensuing imbalance between the small numbers of persons re-entering the system and the ever-increasing legion of officials employed to service this imbalance. One need hardly mention the proliferation of interests now assembled around the ‘criminological enterprise’, extending from a National Crime Council to an Institute of Criminology in UCD and a myriad of lesser intermediary bodies concerned with drugs, juveniles, domestic violence, suicides, etc.

Secondly, there has never been less reliable information by way of either criminal statistics or by way of a critical appraisal regarding any and all of these institutions that comprise the CJS. It is so dire that one would feel too embarrassed to ask either the National Crime Council or any expert from either the Department of Justice or the Institute of Criminology in UCD to calculate a conviction rate for rape, a recidivist rate for juvenile theft, or, indeed, a conviction or proof rate for the lower or the higher courts in the Republic of Ireland for any year whatsoever since the foudation of the State. Even more embarrassing is the thought of asking the Department of Justice to provide a legible intelligent account of crime in the Republic of Ireland. Maybe that is why no one asks!

9.Sociology And Irish Law:

Having dealt so comprehensively with the CJS, it might be time – for a while at least – to break out of the narrowness of the criminological enterprise. We can return later to the punishment side of the equation (particularly in WebPages 10 to 14 inclusive) and what it has meant to Ireland historically. For the moment, however, -- and for our very limited purposes – we wish to introduce the notions of Sociology in the context of Irish Law.

We feel that this is best done by quantitatively configuring some of the structural preconditions of crime in the Irish capital. Here we use ordinary, common and hitherto unused data to exhibit these preconditions, the obvious implication being that if criminologists or others who participate in ‘crime talk’ in the twenty first century, actually want to make a difference to crime, they must, as an assumed preliminary matter, be conscious of, and speak to, its structural preconditions.

To elaborate on this theme three further topics by way of examjple are introduced. The first deals briefly with what C. Wright Mills has called the (9.a.) The Sociological Imagination. Here we describe what we mean by a sociological approach as opposed to other approaches. We follow this up with two examples of what we mean. In (9.b.) An Opening Lecture in Criminology, an attempt is made to use, refine and structure in a disciplinary way, the strong feelings and attitudes, which students invariably have towards crime. Similarly, (9.c.) A Radical Lecture On Bunreacht Na h-Eireann is meant to historicise and radicalise the manner in which we look at Bunreacht Na h-Eireann. Of itself the Constitution is a contemporary issue for Irish criminology, creating more problems than it purports to resolve. For far too long the Constitution has been the sole property of the lawyers and their masters the politicians of the Church’s State, whose interests in examining it and its varied sections are always hidden behind the personae of judgement and the discrete issues canvassed. Seldom, if at all, is it seen as the possession of either the Church’s State authority -- ‘the authorities’-- or the possession of ‘the people’. Here we try briefly to review some of the main and abiding values – all Christian -- upon which the constitution was built.

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This much done, it is opportune for us to turn to the other side of criminology, namely, penology or the business of punishment. So slow, convoluted and, at times, downright difficult is the business of punishment that we have to allocate sufficient time and space to understanding both the history of capital punishment as well as the history of prisons.

In many ways both of these topics are related, not just penologically, that is, in the manner in which they were related, the one to the other, throughout penal history, but also in the manner in which we now approach the business of punishment generally as well as how we look at prisons as places of detention in particular. Towards unfolding this task we look at both the history of (10.) Capital Punishment as well as the. (11.) The History of Irish Prisons.

It can well be argued that both the general histories of Capital Punishment and the history of Prisons have already been spelled out repetitively in the various British, European, American and Australian penological publications, and one cannot deny such a proposition. At the same time, it must be remembered that this website is devoted to the study of Irish society through the study of Irishcriminology, and in that regard, one can equally argue that we are on virgin territory.

We have already argued that the last thing the Irish care for is their own history. Secondly, even if they did have a regard for such things, there is no history or theory of either Capital Punishment in Ireland or Irish Prisons. And thirdly, if there were such histories or theories, there is no suggestion that they would be treated in the same manner as is proposed on this website.

On the subject of (10.) Capital Punishment, therefore, it is proposed to exhibit our approach to it under the following Volumes or subjects:

Vol. 1: Last of the Betagii

Vol. 2: A Short History of Male Executions in Ireland

Vol. 3: A Short History of Female Executions in Ireland

Vol. 4.: Nineteenth-Century Female Executions – A Monograph

Vol. 5: A Short History of Irish Infanticide

Vol. 6: The Penology of Samuel Haughton

Volumes 2 to 4 inclusive deal with the broad history of judicial executions in Ireland. This work started out as an article on the execution of the second last female hanged in Ireland in 1903. From that it grew into a review of female executions in the twentieth century, then the nineteenth century. It soon became apparent, after the fashion of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, that the workings and gearings of male and female executions were also affected by the murder of infants. And in this way it became also apparent that three separate Volumes would be needed to unfold the full story. Because of the numbers of female executions in the nineteenth century, it was also decided to collect and review each one available one – and this, in turn went into a separate volume (But more of that anon). For the moment the three volumes in question begin with (10. Vol. 2), A Short History of Male Executions in Ireland, which deals with the male or aggressive gene and the manner in which male criminals were executed in Ireland. (10.Vol. 3), A Short History of Female Executions in Ireland is reserved for females. Realising the place of modern infanticide and its influence on capital punishment, a short potted third volume was prepared. Further, by way of index to Vol. 3 a monograph accounting for all nineteenth-century female executions is to be had from this website (10.Vol. 4), Nineteenth-Century Female Executions – A Monograph)

(10.Vol. 5) A Short History of Irish Infanticide deals briefly with the history of infanticide in Ireland. All these monographs are made with the aim of making the more recent history of the subject amenable to Irish scholars and to help criminologists focus on past punitive alternatives as an instrument of future assessments.

(Vol. 1) Last of the Betagii and (Vol. 6) The Penology of Samuel Haughton are special. The forgotten execution of the Catholic housewife, Mary Daly, and her young Protestant lover, Joseph Taylor, in 1903, was not such a simple event in the criminal calendar of ‘Queen’s County’, and (10.Vol. 1) Last of the Betagii demonstrates it.

Coincidentally, Dr Samuel Haughton was born within a few miles of where Mary Daly grew up. Of Killeshin and Quaker origins, Haughton’s family straddled the Carlow/Laois border. He lived in Burrin Street, Carlow, where his house can still be seen. It stands in a line between Carlow Castle and what was the old (and the new) prison. But Haughton’s story is different. And it belongs where we find it – right in the midst of the nineteenth century struggle for a higher form of civilization. A contemporary and adversary of Darwin, Haughton was one of the great Victorians. (10.Vol. 6) The Penology of Samuel Haughton is a short (unfinished) study describing the great scientist’s preoccupation with capital punishment. Haughton might well have been regarded as ‘Father of the Drop’, had his endeavours not taken a tragic/comic turn.

Which brings us indirectly to examine (11.) The History of Irish Prisons As with the Irish attitude to Capital Punishment, so, too, the Irish attitude to prisons. Needless to say, the RC church’s view was the Irish view, and it reluctantly followed the Protestant line as to the propriety of punishment. But since Catholics were the persons who were predominantly hanged, the RC church had some fancy footwork to do. In order to hold the sympathies of its flock as occasion might understandably demand, it was suitably inchoate, confused or silent. Nineteenth century British, Protestant and Parliamentary legalisms conjured up harsh rulers and usurping governments. Under such a guise criminal as well as military executions were doled out to ‘innocent victims’ by rapacious an irreverent non-Catholics. Now that Catholics in Ireland were the masters of their own fate, an uneasy transition of poacher turned gamekeeper was to hang with religious tenacity over that area of social life bridging religious morals and criminal law (otherwise called Irish criminology). The Irish Catholics, in effect, were looking for someone to tell them what attitudes they ought to adopt -- attitudes that were consistent with their retention of power over the interface. This is one reason why things pertaining to the Department of Justice, Education and Foreign Affairs, as well as things otherwise pretending to be criminological, are always scrutinised and filtered by the RC church. It is also why those close to Opus Dei and related Legionnaires do most books published in this genre.

Once grasped and firmed up under the Free State, the RC church could never let go of any area over which its social, educational and familial suzerainty extended. Its medieval values, however, were constantly confronted with the modern social realities. At the same time they could not and would not let the social sciences grow where religious know-how dominated. Religious repression, therefore, at best gave rise to utter incompetence and at worst to the blanket appointment of mediocre minds intent on denying any validity to the social sciences.

And rather than admit its own medieval inadequacies it stubbornly hangs on to areas it knows nothing of, preferring the foreign and mediocre mind, to which it has traditionally and exploititatively been attached, to fill the gaps it is reluctant to be seen to rule. In its confusion the androgynous Church/State of the Irish doesn’t just fear and control its interface with criminology, it fears and controls the social sciences and delimits the very notion of freedom amongst the Irish.

Will the Irish ever be permitted by the Church and its Puppet State to develop the social and secular sciences in their own right? So pervasive of the body politic is the religious ethos that examples of it are everywhere (for those who want to see, and) are strewn about this website in a profusion that would become redundant and largely irrelevant if this website was concerned with the state of criminology in any other European country.

Not too dissimilar to the Prisons (12.) A New History Of Police In Ireland attempts to re-write the history of the Irish Police in the light of the author’s modified views of history. In 1974 the author wrote The History of the Irish Police (From Earliest Times To The Present Day) He now wishes to re-address this work and bring it into line with his current thinking.

This work brings us to an end of the more history-orientated subjects, allowing us the opportunity to examine some (13.) Contemporary Issues. Because of the more recent widespread scandals in Ireland, perhaps the most obvious of these issues concerns the very institutions themselves. These include the RC church (for its scandals regarding paedophilia, Episcopal cover-ups, and Church/State deals to buy off the victims and their lawyers). Further scandals involving Departments of State, Planning Authorities, Local Government graft, Judicial interference in due process; Party Political funds, systematised theft by the Banking confraternity, miss-appropriation of funds by State Bodies, and the ever corrosive subversions of secret societies, like the IRA, and Opus Dei. Less secret but inaccessible societies like CORI (the Conference of Religious of Ireland) in education, while not the subject matter of those interminable Tribunals of Inquiry in Ireland, are nowhere amenable to scrutiny.

Such matters are so widespread in the Republic of Ireland that any hope of covering their content is impossible. Our purposes may be served better, however, if in (13.) Contemporary Issues we confine our scrutiny to examining the four most criminologically relevant concerns. These contemporary issues come under the following headings:

a. Catholic Criminology

b. Crime and Irish Politics

c. Crime and the Press in Ireland

d. Crime and Criminology in Ireland

The topic (13.a.) Catholic Criminology as a contemporary issue, amounts to an examination of how the RC church organises a total community without as little as a flicker of rebellion. By definition, of course, it excludes Northern Ireland, as it has excluded the Southern Protestant and a small number of dissident others. As a set of religious values, which dominates every shade and aspect of Irish life, it needs to be critically examined both as a whole and as the only epistemological source and practical controller of Irish social life. Most native sons in modern times who have taken on this task -- James Joyce, Noel Browne and, indirectly, Dermot Morgan (‘Father Ted’), have realised a vindictive and tyrannical foe, even before the militancy of Opus Dei and the Legionnaires. Only Noel Browne lived on to tell the tale. Needless to say, limiting their critics to such an insignificant number is a feat of catholic engineering that approximates the fabulous. But the fable should be understood in Toto, that is, as a unity of social arrangements in which the church has tied the political party system, the Irish media, and the legal and constitutional establishment to her exclusive universal ambitions. In (13.b.) Crime and Irish Politics, therefore, policies on crime – when there are any – are invariably meant to out-preach the Parish Priest. Occasionally the concurrence of vocabularies is thought to be accidental, where in actual fact they are the reverse. The Irish party system is configured as an approximation of Irish Catholicism, since when all Irish parties sooner rather than later become the idle instruments of the Catholic Church.

In hot pursuit of religion and party politics is an amazing and obliging media. To comprehend the media’s treatment of crime and criminals, it must, like the political parties, be seen in the overall context of the Church/State requirements. Thereafter, its patterning in the manner in which it treated clerical paedophilia, Limerick gangs, white collar criminals, as well as the manner in which ‘crime talk’ is organised, apportioned, unravelled and persistently used to fan the Department of Justice becomes transparent. ((13.c.) Crime and the Press in Ireland) is only a small part of the machinery of Church/State government, which is what this topic tries to demonstrate.

In the land of superstition and freedom a man is perfectly free to believe that Professors of Law fall into the Republic’s third level institutions willy nilly. Some may even believe it an accident that the two last Professors of Criminology in TCD, the ‘two Marys’, became Presidents of their beloved country. Others may believe that this phenomenon was an ‘Act of God’. And having read the ‘Da Vinci Code’ the second opinion by far outweighs the first. Obviously, where Church-and-State –goeshand- in-glove, there is great tension as to which is hand and which is glove. The moral interface, therefore, between religious dogmatism and the secular insights of the social sciences (including criminology – for it is in matters concerned with crime and punishment that immediate moral attitudes are revealed and defined) is one, which must arouse the strongest of passions. Unfortunately, the fight is perfectly one-sided. There is the RC church, the Goliath on the one part, and in effect, since the ‘two Marys’ went off politicking, there is no one but tourists to withstand the might of Rome. Nevertheless, (13.d.) Crime and Criminology in Ireland is very much part of the church’s engineering patchwork otherwise covered by the press and the political parties.

That Irish social life is but a mere reflection of the RC church’s requirements can be shown in the make-up of the family, of the GAA (the Gaelic Athletic Association), of the ICA (the Irish Country Women’s Association), of the Garda Siochana, of the Civil Service, of the Army (even before Opus Dei), of the Banks and Credit Unions, of the Bench and the Bar of Ireland, and of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Ireland, etc., etc. Any thinker critical of Irish epistemology is automatically the enemy of the RC church; for the first thing such a critique would expose is the very tenuous and spurious basis upon which the Roman church controls the people of Ireland, their values and institutions, and in so doing how it serves its own international agenda at everyone else’s expense.

It is this which brings us to the main reason for this website, the creation of a groundwork for the development of a critical Irish Criminology. The values should guide anyone working the grain (14.) Towards An Irish Criminology will take their inspiration from the historical analysis of its experiences to date. Whichever group tries to seize the central governance of that experience should be resisted, just as this website has resisted the widespread and persistent powers of the RC church in the Republic of Ireland.

The first and foremost subject claiming the attention of Irishcriminology is the Northern Irish ‘troubles’. The only group in the whole island that can resist the all-powerful ambitions of the Roman Empire (14.a.) Vol. 1: Northern Ireland) is the Northern Protestant. In this alone he is invaluable to the immediate future of Ireland. How invaluable can be seen by comparing him with his southern counterpart. With respect, the Southern Protestant, now shorn of great numbers, is a bit of a wet, and even if the Northern Protestant can be used to give new voices a chance to breathe, that is not the endplay. In the end there is no doubt but that the ex-Catholic is the only one who shall change the evil monolith of Rome; for only he can understand what is at stake, and only he shall have the fire for the fight. All others are apt to become as mere spectators s; for like all creatures they, too, have forgotten whence they came, and even if they remembered it, it would not be the same place whence the new ex-Irish- Catholic comes. In such a situation it can only be expected that the C of I, and other religions with a like incline, will actually join forces with the RC church and become themselves the enemy of liberty.

Northern Ireland is in many ways is the alpha and the omega of Irish history and the resultant hatreds between Roman Catholicism and ‘the others’ is precisely a disguised Imperialist coup and is not divorced from the whole previous history of Ireland. It is – and must be presently conceived of as – Irish history; for here before our eyes we see the prevailing persuasions of the RC church and the original machinations of the Christian conquest.

Lest there are any lingering doubts about the state of Irish society in the twenty first century (14 .b.) Vol. 2: The Chalk Republic is a critical examination and rejection of the Roman Catholic’s creation in the South of Ireland. From an analysis of the tensions and conflicts in Northern Ireland, coupled with a revelation of the RC church’s ownership of the Republic of Ireland, it follows that it rather than any other body needs to be challenged, opposed and has its hegemony broken in Ireland.

But how can this be done? How can a few persons resist the greatest, the richest, the most powerful Empire the world has ever known? The Holy Roman Empire outlived the ‘Real’ Roman Empire. It saw off the British Empire, and its use of Ireland as an operative base for its international agenda, is proof of its corporate resistance. Indeed, its alliance with America is meant to oust Israel, with whom it shares a desire for another crusade, and now that Opus Dei, the Irish, the Australian and the Spanish governments have got the Jesuits into East Timor – a preliminary for Bush/Blair putsch, that crusade under the guise of a terrorist war is on. So, how does David (excuse the name) tackle Goliath, especially one with such fantastic powers? (14. c.) Vol. 3: The Green Manifesto tries to deal with this question. It unfolds the weaknesses and strengths in the celibate Empire. It points to the necessary strategies and the manner in which they have to be confronted. It should not be forgotten that the Christian Empire does not thrive on spreading knowledge, but on spreading propaganda – which is mostly anti-scientific matter designed to asphyxiate as well as to inspire.

One of the centrepieces of this resistance to the RC church is to be found in the question of sex or, more particularly, the question of fertility or reproduction. Why this is the case should be clear from the works already recited on this website. In any event (14.d.) Vol. 4: Towards Criminology of Children in Ireland, reiterates the story – if not the history -- of child crime in Ireland. It also aspires to be instructive in resisting and breaking the infinite cycle of reproduction and indoctrination, which the RC church has perpetuated among the Irish people.

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With these items tending towards an Irish Criminology now dealt with, the more serious work of this Website is complete. The analysis now relies upon honest hearts that agree with it to orientate their thoughts to action.

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In the meantime -- by way of work-in-progress -- a growing number of topics surround the extending area of Irishcriminology. From time to time certain aspects of these topics appear with greater focus than before. Some of these topics have to be left on a long burner. Items like suicide, domestic violence, juvenile disorientation, social demoralisation, and comparative and international criminology.

Other topics, like the ones that follow, are best treated by way of addenda, i.e. as independent additions to any analysis of crime or punishment, but in themselves are not an analysis and rarely presume to take on such a role. These topics more often than not attempt to entertain rather than teach. They are grouped together as follows:

15. Addenda

1. Crime, Catholicism and Feminism in Ireland

2. Memorable Irish Murders

3. The Irish American Murders

4. Memorable Irish Trials

5. The Carlow Calendar

6. The Criminology of Selected Irish Writers:

These six items, originally grouped under Addenda By Way Of Religion, Law and Literature, were not selected entirely at random, no more than Religion, Law and Literature are separate from the same cultural undercurrents that keep them buoyant.

In Irish antiquity they will tell you that the Aos Dana, or some such body, when they crawled up off the forest floor, consisted of such and such. They’ll find a place for the Poet, for the Priest and for the Lawyer. Even if it isn’t’ true, they will make it up as they go along and swear to its truth as fervently as they will assure you that Jackie Charlton’s ‘Irish’ soccer team is as pure as an Aryan’s blood test, the ability to ‘make believe’ being one of the strongest driving forces in the Irish personality. And given its ignoble history, such a little device as making things seem otherwise than they actually are, was seamlessly installed as a fundamental prop of the Irish persona.

What they won’t tell you, however, is that the poet hated the lawyers, because the lawyers, serving the same masters were always in the pocket of the priests, and this left the poets with an uncomfortable draft up their numerical rear.

The ability of the priests to subvert and convert was well known. They are equally gifted in such virtues as ‘weeding out’ and ‘stamping on’ personnel who might be distract the Holy Office in its mission. And that is why one will not find mention of a ‘social scientist’ in the Aos Dana. The priests, once they couldn’t subvert or convert them, they weeded them out and stamped all over their super egos. This cut down the opposition.

Do these things have a bearing on modern Irish life?

Most assuredly Religion, Law and Literature are no more independent now than they were in antiquity. Their interconnection is as historical as the concerns which each of them feel called upon to control.

James Joyce, who was emasculated by his compatriots, knew more about these interconnections than any ‘Irish social scientist’. Out of shame he fled the country of his ignoble kind and hid himself in Europe. In Ireland, ironically, it is the litterateurs who are the best commentators, for they are more apt to be native and passionate. With such an unusual order of the ‘sciences’ obtaining, the following topic, (15.1) Crime, Catholicism and Feminism in Ireland is somewhat of an anachronism, and has to be fitted (awkwardly) into a culture still obsessed with miracles, Papal visits, saints’ relics and ‘moving statues’. Nevertheless, when pitted with its opposite, that is, the suppression of the secular voice, it looms large and as an intervening strategy, it remains devastatingly pertinent. What the RC church has done to Irish women has never been documented adequately or criticised comprehensively. In creating Irish motherhood, however, the Roman church, perforce of its ‘increase-and-multiply’ logic -- (celibacy notwithstanding) -- has had to stereotype its projection of Irish womanhood as well. These stereotypes have remained as static as church teaching down the ages. As stereotypes, both their predictability as well as their church-control can be relied upon – stereotypes that will remain as cultural givens unless and until they are opposed.

Besides religious matters, Addenda also gather legal and literary pursuits into the criminological enterprise.

(15.2) Memorable Irish Murders, for example, tries to give depth and perspective to the historical murders rather than the history of murder. It is a small collection of cases, which have never been written about before. Its companion, (15. 3) The Irish American Murders contains a small selection of cases dealing with actors who are Irish/American or who lived there for some time before returning to Ireland. These are few in number but nevertheless evince an interest on that account.

In a similar vein (15. 4) Memorable Irish Trials are another rare event. This may be for several good reasons. By their nature all trials are memorable, so much so , in fact, that we don’t bother reading them on our daily newspaper. Also, memorable historical trials were treated like the press generally treated common-or-garden executions, Further, memorable trials are either written about already or they are difficult to access in any comprehensive way and, oftentimes, very hard to piece together. Moreover, the trouble with trials on memorable occasions is that they merely contain evidence. As such they do not venture into personalities, habits, customs, the history or traditions of the people involved. And however little a trial may capture of past events, it remains empty of future events. In the nineteenth century this meant that even if a newspaper carried a decent account of a trial, nothing of the petition following it, the correspondence that sustained it, or the details of execution that finished it, could be found in the trial material, necessitating a further effort on the part of the researcher. This, of course, means a total reliance upon the archival material: and the least said about that the better. The above constraints notwithstanding, this volume contains a small selection of such trials.

(15. 5) The Carlow Calendar is a compilation of executions occurring in Carlow County over the period of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Inspired by friends, it unearths in a potted way the concerns of past murderers and how they were dealt with in what came to be – after the 1798 rebellion – one of the least disturbed counties in Ireland. It started with a few fellows expounding on Lucy Sly, the last hanging of a woman in Carlow, then a few other names were being dropped in rapid inaccurate succession. The upshot is the compilation of this record, which, if it doesn’t do much else, it will help – one hopes – to keep the record straight.

(15.6) The Criminology of Selected Irish Writers attempts briefly to demonstrate the struggle for freedom within the context of the Christian conquest through the voice of Irish writers.

Needless to say, everything compiled in this Website is the direct product of the author, who carries full responsibility for the force of the opinions expressed, the inaccuracies of fact (for I am sure there are many), as well as the irritating grammatical minutiae, which gets up everybody’s nose. For all these, my apologies.

Finally, (16) The ABC of Irish Criminology is an amusing simplification of most of the foregoing items on this Webpage. It also closes the criminological concerns and undertakings arising out of a contract foolishly entered into fado fado --which contract has now been unilaterally discharged by the author.

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