During a time of high tension, terror and fear, the Irish Defence Forces faced the very real threat of the Irish State being plunged into a savagely sectarian civil war. The southern state faced a breakdown of law and order, severely challenged by manhunts, prison breaks, shoot-outs, kidnappings, bank robberies, subversive training camps, bomb-making factories, illegal weapons shipments, and border operations.
Soldiering Against Subversion is the dramatic and previously untold story of the Irish Defence Forces’ critical role in defending the southern state against paramilitary forces during the worse years of the modern Troubles. Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Dan Harvey, describes the major operations via in-depth interviews with Irish Defence veterans, revealing how these brave men and women protected the state on home soil.
From the kidnapping of Shergar and Quinsworth CEO Don Tidey, the manhunt and capture of INLA leader Dessie ‘the Border Fox’ O’Hare, the pandemonium as the Irish army quells a violent prison riot in Mountjoy in 1972, to the Irish navy’s efforts to thwart gun-running off the coast of Kerry, these first-hand accounts reveal the true story of the fight for the nation’s democracy.
Table of Contents
PART 1. BEGINNINGS
- Troubled Times
- Border Bound Beginnings
- The British Army Blunders
- The IRA Emerges
- The Irish Government Shudders
- Truckloads of Troops (Aid to the Civil Power)
PART 2. THE BORDER
- Soldiering on the FEBA
PART 3. ‘THE BOG’ (Portlaoise Prison)
- Break Out
- Break In
PART 4. BEYOND THE BORDER AND ‘THE BOG’
- The Battle of Ballsbridge (H-Block Protests)
- Balaclava Bandits
- Boatloads and Bunkers (Removing the Source of Danger)
PART 5. BECOMING BETTER
- Capability Development
- ATCP and Peacekeeping
About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel Dan Harvey, now retired, served on operations at home and abroad for 40 years, including tours of duty in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans and South Caucasus, with the UN, EU, NATO PfP and OSCE. He is the author of Into Action: Irish Peacekeepers Under Fire, 1960–2014 (2017) and Soldiers of the Short Grass: A History of the Curragh Camp (2016).