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Title: Thirty pieces of silver : informers of twentieth-century Ireland
Author: Duffy, Angela
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 9455
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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This study reconsiders the phenomenon of informing by looking at the whole of the twentieth century, at several counties across Ireland and at the evolution of the informer from the somewhat amateurish individuals of the earlier years to the networks which gradually emerged in end-of-the-century Northern Ireland. This is achieved through a multi-faceted approach in that, as well as archival and secondary sources, the work draws on memoirs, newspapers, oral and email interviews, verse and pictures (mainly cartoons) to make its points. This work is an attempt to set the informer within the context of the twentieth century, and within his own society. A primary aim is to identify the informers themselves and, by looking in some detail at their lives and characters, to understand why they became informers and how this affected their lives. The study also draws a picture of the twentieth century from an unfamiliar viewpoint depicting the havoc wrought by betrayal in those years; setting out the gamut of informers: men, women, children; the innocent as well as the guilty; their recruitment; and demonstrating that, despite their utter lack of importance in the grand narrative, these people have all had a disproportionate effect on the history of their time. In focussing mainly on micro-history, several matters have emerged. Most importantly that the factor which unites every case study whether of the guilty or the innocent, is betrayal. The title of this thesis underlines this. It bears a meaning over and above the monetary value mentioned, because thirty pieces of silver is a phrase universally understood to be the symbol of treachery, In these case studies, however, the betrayal is frequently of the subjects, not just by them. Despite the problems posed by the evidence, a picture emerges here of a group of people who, though despised, nevertheless have their place in the history of the last century and the most surprising, if highly contentious, point to emerge from this study is that certain individuals in the group might arouse our sympathy and understanding. Finally, the study provides some answers to the interesting question: what motivates the informer?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available