A fascinating and insightful depiction of events that surrounded the period of time in Ireland known as The Arms Crisis and the subsequent Arms Trial. It also provides history of events in Northern Ireland as relationships between the Protestant majority and Catholic minority disintegrated leading to The Troubles.
Gun Plot deals with the decisions made by the government in the Republic of Ireland to provide support to the Catholic people in Northern Ireland. There was a possibility of invasion of the North by the army of the Republic to provide protection for Catholic areas. This was eventually watered down to providing arms for the Citizen Committees to provide defence against marauding Loyalist militias acting in collusion with the police.
This importation and provision of arms was done in secret to avoid the perception of a declaration of war by the Republic of Ireland towards Britain. Not all of government or all government departments were included in the decision and some were vehemently opposed to it as it was feared that the IRA would gain access to the weapons and use them to try and overthrow the government of the Republic. The subsequent revelation of the smuggled guns led to the Arms Trial in 1971 and the eventual aquittal of all the accused. One of these was Cabinet Minister Charles (Charlie) Haughey who went on to become a very controversial politician and eventually Taoiseach.
Gun Plot is composed of a 1hr TV documentary and a 9 part podcast. It provides a detailed analysis of the events and backs it up with current interviews of family and recordings of interviews of the main characters recorded in the 90s (all the people involved have now died). It also uses recordings from the actual trial which have not been heard before and is a first for any court case in Ireland. This is crucially important as the original typed transcripts have disappeared.
This period in Irish history is crucially important to the following years but has remained shrouded in mystery as to many of the details. Modern perceptions are very different to what is portrayed in this series and RTE have done a fantastic service in bringing it out in the open.
Official RTE website
Podcast on Spotify
Yes, some interesting stuff coming out about Ireland’s past on documentaries, I watched one the other night. 1916 was a documentary about the rising in Ireland, that led to independence. You might like a very good book called Backstop Land – about the process of the Good Friday agreement. Irish history is so complicated – and sadly we in Scotland (and I’m sure more so in England) know very little of Ireland’s real past.
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Watched the 1916 one a few years ago. Currently watching another about the early 1900s in Ireland called Revolution. Even in Ireland we know so little of our own history. There’s a sense of shame in our own independence resulting from the actions of the IRA in Northern Ireland. There’s a lot of pride in being Irish but somehow not in how we became an independent nation.
Heard it was good alright. Must track it down.
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