Moving Away From the ‘Bandit Country’ Myth

Gave me a new perspective..n

Writing the 'Troubles'

By Patrick Mulroe

In the last eighteen months, the Irish border has been the focus of a great deal of comment but there remains little depth to much of the analysis of the area’s history. During the conflict, the border was a key sphere for IRA operations. Operation Banner, the official British Army account of the troubles, claimed that by the mid-1980s, the IRA was organised into sixteen Active Service Units of which ten were based south of the Border.[1] One border area stood out in terms of importance. South Armagh was a hub of paramilitary activity; indeed, by 1978, of the fifty-eight serious border incidents, forty-one took place in South Armagh.[2]  Even now, this area features in media reports almost always accompanied by the unfortunate “Bandit Country” moniker.

The best-known work on South Armagh is journalist Toby Harnden’s Bandit Country. In this influential and widely…

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