The northern government hadhung IRA LieutTom Williams on 2nd September 1942 as a reprisal for the death of RUC Constable Patrick Murphyafter a botched diversionary attack on Easter Sunday the same year (Williams hadn’t even fired a gun during the confrontation that followed).
While executions had become a staple diet of the De Valera regime in Dublin, deaths from neglect and the terrible conditions in the prison camps of the north had been the more typicalexperienceunder the northern government (I now believeas many as 10 prisoners diedbetween 1940 and 1945).
Jimmy Steelewasin Belfast prison at the time and he andthe other republican prisonersfasted on the day of Williams’ execution. Mass was to be said at 8 am and the chaplain had arranged for a key point in the mass, when the communion host is raised up, to coincide with the exact time of Williams execution.The resonance of thesymbolism of sacrificein…
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