A family affair? English Hangmen and a Dublin jail, 1923-54

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Title: A family affair? English Hangmen and a Dublin jail, 1923-54
Authors: O'Donnell, Ian
Doyle, David
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/6270
Date: Dec-2014
Abstract: The genealogy of capital punishment in twentieth-century Ireland defies easy articulation, and several aspects of the practice appear especially perplexing in the absence of an appreciation of a precise historical context. It is puzzling, for instance, that Irish politicians couched arguments favoring the retention of capital punishment in terms of its perceived efficacy as a deterrent to potential subversives when the death penalty was imposed almost exclusively for non-political civilian murder. It is puzzling, too, that the taoisigh and ministers who were prepared to allow executions go ahead had not only been comrades with men executed during the revolutionary period, but in some cases, had themselves been sentenced to death. It is puzzling that the sanction was retained after Independence when one considers the "politicization" of capital punishment and the attendant public antipathy toward what was seen as an unfortunate colonial (and civil war) legacy; in the minds of many nationalists, hanging was nothing more than a manifestation of English tyranny. And, finally, it is puzzling that when the need arose to execute a condemned person in Ireland an English hangman was always contracted to arrange the "drop." This final puzzle may, however, be illuminated by a detailed examination of the men who discharged this grisly function.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: University of St. Thomas. Center for Irish Studies
Journal: New Hibernia Review
Volume: 18
Issue: 4
Start page: 101
End page: 118
Copyright (published version): 2014 University of St. Thomas
Keywords: Capital punishmentMurderIrelandPierrepoint, AlbertPierrepoint, Thomas
Other versions: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_hibernia_review/v018/18.4.o-donnell.html
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Law Research Collection

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