New Book – Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland

Incontrovertible evidence of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the state in dozens of murders in Northern Ireland.


Between 1970 and 1978, a loyalist gang (or permutations of it) rampaged through Ireland brutally killing over 120 people, the majority of them selected at random.  All bar one were nationalists with no republican links.  In almost all cases, no arrest was made and little was done to put a halt to the bloodshed.  The question is why.

The answer, as Anne Cadwallader’s explosive new book confirms, is because the killings were taking place with the knowledge and consent of the authorities, from the RUC and UDR (the book reveals that a significant number of the gang were serving members of these forces) to officials in Dublin, right up to government officials in London.  Lethal Allies:  British Collusion in Ireland

Backing up her claims with classified/non-classified government documents, personal accounts, forensic evidence and previously unpublished reports prepared for families by the Historic Enquiries Team Lethal Allies starts by setting the political scene before providing, often harrowing details of individual killings and the subsequent RUC investigations.  Here we find misplaced and ignored evidence, a failure to speak to witnesses, cases suddenly dropped and a shortage of arrests. Throughout, where legally possible, perpetrators are named.

Lethal Allies also includes detailed first-hand accounts from members of the victims’ families, most of whom had little contact with the police following the murders and, forty years on, are still seeking the truth.  It goes on to analyse the motivations for the atrocities and provides comprehensive and credible links between some of the main paramilitary personnel and the authorities.

As a result of the HET reports and other research, more than 20 families have now taken formal complaints to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.  Their cases are pending.  But, as Anne concludes, it’s our duty to find out the truth – “The inescapable fact, established beyond doubt by these events, is that successive British governments and their law enforcement agencies entered into a collusive counter-insurgency campaign with loyalist paramilitaries. It was thoroughly unethical – and it failed dismally. It was also illegal under international law.”

Anne Cadwallader is an experienced journalist who has worked for the BBC, Reuters, RTÉ, The Irish Press and more.  She has spent much of her time reporting from Northern Ireland, giving up journalism in 2009 to work for The Pat Finucane Centre for Human Rights ( in Armagh as an investigator and case worker.  Anne is the author ofHoly Cross – The Untold Story

The book was published on Thursday 24 October and sold out within 24 hours. A reprint will be in the shops by Monday 11 November and these copies are expected to sell out so we would encourage customers to get pre orders in where possible to ensure they get their copy. The book and it’s contents have featured on Channel 4 News, BBC News, RTÉ News, The Guardian, The Irish Times, Irish Independent and many more.

Mercier Press is Ireland’s oldest publishing house, based in Cork.

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