Friendly Sinn Fein Coverage - September 1920


While the Republican movement and Sinn Fein could count on many newspapers for friendly coverage of their activities and goals (not to mention the host of radical newspapers which they promoted) there were others who were not so receptive to their ideals.

One such newspaper who continued to be a vocal critic of the Sinn Fein party and so by extension the activities of the IRA was the Belfast Newsletter. In September 1920 in an effort to thwart the support and success of the IRA the newspaper published a list of the alleged crimes and outrages which they had committed. In many ways it resembled the propaganda pieces which the radical newspapers were printing in Dublin. Describing a list of murders, attacks and other assaults on both civilians and the military, the newspaper quoted an official Dublin Report that suggested that there had been: 60 courthouses destroyed, 469 RIC vacated barracks destroyed and 113 damaged, 17 occupied RIC barracks destroyed and 40 damaged, 364 raids on mails, 33 raids on coastguard stations and lighthouses, and 1,610 raids for arms. Indeed, in the first week of September 1920 there were an estimated 600 raids for arms. The report also noted that 87 members of the RIC had been killed since the 1 January 1919. In addition, 12 soldiers had been killed and 21 civilians. The statistics laid bare how the War of Independence had escalated over the previous twenty months.


Source: Belfast Newsletter 1738-1938, 13.09.1920, page 5


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