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Victim's of The IRA

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256 pages5 hours

Summary

Victim's of the IRA is a true story. It is the author's own recollection of events told from this point of view, it is pretty powerful and harrowing. It's about a family in West Belfast whose young sixteen-year-old son gets kidnapped by the IRA and forced to participate in a crime. Ultimately, he gets arrested and by the police while his family's life disintegrates within the fractured Northern Ireland community. The story starts in 2010. The narrator and his wife, Christine, live in West Belfast with their children of different ages, some of whom have already moved out of the family home.The boys are Marcus, Seamus, David, Joseph and Dermot, and the young girls are Patricia and Nicole. David is out with Patricia one day, taking her to the shops when he is accosted by strangers in a car. Patricia races home to tell her family. After calling the police and searching the area, they eventually find out that David was arrested for taking part in an IRA crime. It's plastered all over the news – then hell breaks loose around the family. The neighbourhood is pretty nasty, filled with bullies and violent criminals. When the thugs find out that David was implicated in an IRA plot, they start yelling at the family and vandalising the property. He's a terrified young boy, told by the police that he is going to prison and withheld from his loved ones. When he does get to see them, he explains that he was kidnapped and forced into criminal activities, including the transport of weapons. It was all leading up to an assassination, though it was ultimately foiled by the police. Still, the men that were arrested with him tell the authorities that David was the ringleader. Eventually, David is moved into a home for young offenders while he awaits a hearing. The home is in Bangor, which means David's mum and dad have to travel by train every day to see him. During this time, the family are accosted several times by IRA elements ordering David not to talk or he would be assassinated along with other members of the family. All the while they notice a mysterious stranger following them. Back home things get worse and worse, with bricks lobbed at windows, eggs and paint thrown at the house, and the constant threatening tirade of brutal neighbourhood elements. It's pretty harrowing stuff – the family don't want the police involved for fear of making a bigger scene. Still, things escalate, and eventually, they see people in the back garden with a gun – the oil tank being a target for arson. They eventually call the police, realising the perpetrators live just behind them. However, they are again threatened by the IRA. Seamus is kidnapped towards the end of the book, beaten and told not to tell David not to talk. The bedevilled parents' worry is so great that they decide to look for alternate housing, away from Belfast – the violence in the city escalating. Eventually, they are relocated to Bangor, Still, there's a sense of aftershock. The charges against David are dropped and he returns home. It is revealed that the stranger was an undercover policeman, sent to access any IRA ties. I hope when it is finished, they find a little peace. Victim's of the IRA paints a picture that we are often afraid to look at. It's very easy to compartmentalise problems in Northern Ireland and gloss over the fact that they exist, still. In addition, the up close and personal view of a family harassed and spurned by their community is outright scary. It takes remarkable character to remove yourself from that type of situation, the emotional scars must be indelible. It is a personal struggle.This seems like a modern day version, somewhere so familiar you would think it could happen on your street. It does breed and display phenomenal composure not to react while your life is crumbling. Some would call it fear, but I call it remarkable strength.

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