The Killings at Coolacrease, RTE1 October 23 2007
This page is being constructed by P. Muldowney.
A Wikipedia account of the Coolacrease events in Offaly 1921 is at The Killings at Coolacrease (Wikipedia version)
There are internet discussions at Indymedia A
, Indymedia B
, Indymedia C
, Indymedia D
and Indymedia E
The Coolacrease documentary
The RT\xC9 Hidden History documentary, The Killings at Coolacrease
, was broadcast on 23 October 2007.
To find out what all the fuss was about, here is a transcript
, with annotations: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/III_transcript_of_HiH_doc.pdf
The contemporary evidence
The report of IRA officer Thomas Burke
, including the decision to execute the Pearsons for attacking the IRA road-block: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/Burke.pdf
The transcript of the British Military Courts of Inquiry
into the deaths of the Pearsons. These documents include an account of an RIC report, which concurs with the Thomas Burke report, that the Pearsons attacked the roadblock. Also included is the medical evidence about the gunshot injuries received by the Pearsons: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/V_British_Military_Courts_of_Enquiry.pdf
Statements by the brother and father of the Pearson brothers
can be found in their compensation applications to the Irish Grants Committee, a British government agency for awarding compensation to loyalists. Sidney Pearson's application: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/GC-SidneyP.pdf
William Pearson's application: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/GC-WmP.pdf
Michael Cordial was an IRA man who was present at the executions. His Witness Statement (dated 1957) is in the Bureau of Military History. Here is a transcript of the section of the Witness Statement dealing with the executions: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/MICHAEL_CORDIAL.pdf
The atrocity propaganda began a week or so later, and continues to the present. The Dublin Castle Propaganda Department issued this statement dated 9 July 1921: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/DublinCastle.pdf
P. Muldowney's complaint against the RTE documentary
Details of the complaints against this RTE documentary, along with the decisions of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, are at Broadcasting Complaints.
RT\xC9's comment on my complaint is at Broadcasting Complaints
- but with a crucial part of it sneakily censored by the BCC. See below.
My reply to RT\xC9's comment is at https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/IreplytoRTE-BCC.pdf
My annotation of RT\xC9's comment: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/RTEcommentsoncomplaintofP.Muldowney.pdf
My reply to the Independent Producer's comment is at https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/PMul_Reply_to_Indep_Producer.pdf
My annotation of Independent Producer's comment: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/PMul_Annotation_of_Producer_Comment.pdf
P. Heaney's complaint
Paddy Heaney's complaint to BCC: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/ComplaintdetailsofP.Heaney.pdf
RT\xC9's reply totally ignored
this complaint: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/RTEReply.pdf
Paddy Heaney's comments on RT\xC9's non-response: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/PHeaneyReplyRTE.pdf
Niamh Sammon's comments on Paddy Heaney's complaint: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/ProducerReplyPH.pdf
Paddy Heaney's reply to Niamh Sammon: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/PHreplyProducer.pdf
The Release Form
signed by interviewees for the programme: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/RELEASEFORM.pdf
This documentation demonstrates RT\xC9 chicanery in its most acute form.
Is it any wonder that the Broadcasting Complaints Commission is being abolished, along with the RT\xC9 Authority?
Response to BCC decision
to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission's adjudication on the complaint of P. Muldowney is at https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/BCCdecR.pdf
Some key features of the BCC adjudication
The BCC indulged in a bit of censorship of its own. In BCC covers up RT\xC9 lie, RT\xC9 contradicted the accusation that no Consultant Historian was used in the documentary to ensure professional historical standards. It was subsequently proven that RTE's claim that a Consultant Historian had been employed in the documentary was a lie. The reader can search the BCC website Broadcasting Complaints. It will be a fruitless search. There was no Consultant Historian. And, more fig-leaf than cover-up, RTE's embarrassing lie has been sneakily dropped from the BCC's version of RTE's defence of the programme.
- The BCC's prejudice was expressed in its opening remark: that the subject of the documentary was the "murder" of two brothers in Coolacrease during the war of Independence in 1921.
- If the BCC decision had a rationale other than saving RTE's hide, it could be that it saw no need to consider what the documentary censored or misrepresented; and considered only what was actually broadcast - but in a highly selective, superficial and disingenuous way.
JUNK HISTORY: RT\xC9 Lie and BCC Cover-up
The Complaints procedure works as follows, http://www.bcc.ie/what_will_happen/index.html
The complainant submits the complaint within thirty days of the broadcast. The broadcaster then gets twenty one days to comment on the complaint. The complainant gets fourteen days to reply to the broadcaster's comments. Then the Complaints Commission adjudicates on the complaint. The adjudication includes the complaint and the broadcaster's comments, but not the complainant's reply to the broadcaster's comments
(Rest assured, all the missing pieces of the paper trail will be posted here in due course!)
My complaint highlighted the absence of a Consultant Historian, a standard form of historical quality control which would have been especially useful in a programme about a contentious subject like this one. RT\xC9's reply to my complaint was published in the BCC report - but only partially. The RT\xC9 reply consists of seven pages. In its report on my complaint the BCC quotes five and a half pages of this reply, then skips a page. This page, sneakily censored by the BCC to save RT\xC9's blushes, is the one dealing specifically with the complaint of Philip Mc Conway, in the course of which RT\xC9 slips in the following: "... on the advice of Mr Paul Rouse, the programme’s researcher and historical consultant
RT\xC9's document, annotated by me, can be read in full, uncut and uncensored, at https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/RTEcommentsoncomplaintofP.Muldowney.pdf
The bit that the BCC did not
publish in its report is on page 13 of this document. This is the BCC cover-up of RT\xC9's bogus claim that the programme employed Dr Rouse as Consultant Historian.
This correspondence shows RT\xC9 "CONFESSING" to the lie: https://docs.indymedia.org/pub/Local/IMCEireCoolaCrease/HistCnsltRTE.pdf
So there you have it. A piece of junk history gets produced, without professional quality control. RT\xC9 lies about it. The lie is exposed. The independent producer fumes and blusters. And the BCC covers it up.
The pro's and con's of the Hidden History hotly debated in the newspapers:
Transcripts of RT\xC9's Broadcasts
Read transcripts of The Tubridy Programme and Joe Duffy's two Liveline programmes:
Coolacrease: The True Story
A definitive account of the 1921 events was published by the Aubane Historical Society, and launched in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on 6 November 2008:
Coolacrease: The True Story of the Pearson Executions
Reply to Joost Augusteijn
History Ireland magazine carried a review of the Coolacrease book in its March-April 2009 edition.
Here is a reply to Augusteijn:
Reply to Augusteijn
Dublin Review of Books on Coolacrease
Getting Them Out
A House Built on Sand - Reply to "Getting Them Out"
Transcript of Elizabeth Pearson interview, Liveline, 6 November 2007
An enormous reaction to the argument on the programme yesterday about the killings of these two young men, the Pearson brothers Richard and Abraham in 1921 in Offaly and the reasons for it. And the people of Cadamstown, Paddy Heaney from Cadamstown, said that a recent RT\xC9 programme had maligned the people of Offaly. And then we were contacted by Roger Pearson. We were told that all the family had gone to Australia, but one of them had come back. Roger is now living and working in Dublin, we heard him yesterday, with a fine Australian accent – he considers himself to be Australian. But Elizabeth Pearson is on the line. Elizabeth, good afternoon.
And you are a relation of the Pearsons?
Yes, the family were cousins. I don’t know how close cousins they were to my father. We were always aware of it. As a child you’d hear them talking about it. But it was always – they were afraid to talk. You’d hear whispers, you’d ask them what they were talking about, and they’d just, you know, “Shh …” [Laughs]. So I always was aware of it, but I’d forgotten about it until the book by Alan Stanley – “I met murder on the way” – came out.
Alan Stanley is the son of one of the men who happened to be with the two Pearson boys when they were shot by the IRA.
Yes, that’s right.
Now you know the thesis that was put forward yesterday by Paddy Heaney and a number of other people, that the two Pearson young men were shot dead, because, after a court martial by the IRA, it was alleged that they were collaborating with the British, and they had fired on a raiding party who were trying to block a road. What is the Pearson family’s analysis of what happened?
I think it’s very unlikely that they had shot at them, because the Cooneyites – nobody seems to be speaking up for them – the Cooneyites are very respectable people …
Just remind people. The Cooneyites are a group …
They’re a group…
They follow the Protestant religion?
Well, yes, they’re not affiliated to any Church. They actually started out from the Faith Mission, and they sent this man Cooney. He went to Tipperary to recruit new members, and he broke away from them and formed his own group, and they became known as Cooneyites.
Cooneyites – and what were their beliefs?
Well, they believed that they were the only ones that were going to get to Heaven – that they were the proper religion – as a lot of other religions do. In a way they’re very like the Quakers – though they probably wouldn’t agree [laughs]. The women have to wear their hair up in a bun, and they have to dress modestly and all these things. They don’t get involved in politics whatsoever. They don’t even vote. And they don’t drink, they don’t smoke.
Are there Cooneyites still in Ireland?
Oh yes, there are, especially around Tipperary, and Dublin. And I wish some of them would contact you too.
This is very germane to it because one of the arguments put forward was that the Pearsons had shot … and the point made yesterday, I think by one of the family members, was that the Cooneyites were pacifists.
They absolutely were. They were totally against violence. They didn’t own guns. As far as I know, certainly at the moment, …
Why do you think these two boys …?
I think it was about land. I think there was a lot of resentment about. And I also think it was very odd that they were shot in the genital organs. Because if they were executed they would have been shot in the head, Joe, or the chest, or something like that. And I have a theory myself that maybe they were involved with some local girls or something, and it just seems an odd way of shooting someone, unless there was something like that going on, you know.
They were shot in the groin.
They were shot in the groin.
And we had a number of calls yesterday from members of the Protestant faith who also had family members killed in the war of independence, and they were adamant that they were killed just because they were Protestant!
Yes, yes, and then again you have to understand how things were at the time of war maybe … you have to try to see it from both sides. But I do feel myself that it was very unlikely that they [Pearsons] had shot at them [IRA]. They just don’t. They are pacifists, absolutely. And they still are.
But also Niall Meehan who has researched this has pointed out that there was a meeting in the Mansion House, I think in the middle of 1922, comprised of Protestants, who said that they didn’t feel – the phrase used yesterday, not by Niall – that there was ethnic cleansing, that they didn’t feel they were under threat.
Hmm … I don’t know that we felt under threat in the past. I’m of the Protestant faith myself – I’m not a Cooneyite. I think everybody was afraid at that time. It wasn’t just Protestants that were shot and killed. A lot of people used the fight to score with people, and to get rid of … It wasn’t all, you know… there were Roman Catholics killed as well, over land, and a lot of houses were burned down.
And as a member of the Pearson family, do you still – because Roger Pearson told us yesterday, it was after the programme his workmates in Dublin – they thought he was Australian – which he is of course, but they didn’t know he had an Irish background as such – they said to him, are you related to that Pearson, and he said yeah, and I’m one the grandchildren, and he said there was some gentle ribbing and that was it, but then there were some other people on the programme and they said you don’t talk about it …
You don’t – absolutely not …
While I was a child – I’m getting on now – definitely at that time they were too frightened to say anything.
Frightened of whom, Elizabeth?
I don’t know. I suppose that there were people around and that – you know – we had a large farm as well that, you know, remained …we were Protestants and … It just wasn’t, and, as I say, that was on both sides. It wasn’t just Protestants that suffered. But I do think they were murdered, and I don’t believe it was an execution.
You think it was simply to get the land, or …?
Well, that’s my feeling …
… or was it ethnic cleansing?
I think it was probably over the land. I don’t think it was because they were Protestant. I think they resented the fact that they had the land. But then they were very hard workers …
Apparently so, very diligent farmers …
… and they devoted themselves …
I was surprised, I must say, by the level of passion on yesterday’s programme, and I know Senator Eoghan Harris was on the programme, and he made a number of … allegations, I suppose, about a number of people, and I was led at the time … we’re not condoning these allegations, and Dr Pat Muldowney was one of the people mentioned, he’s contacted us, and he wants us to say that “Senator Harris called me a liar and likened me to a Holocaust denier when I read out the British documentary evidence censored by”, he says, hidden Ireland, or Hidden History, confirming that the Pearsons were executed for attacking and wounding Irish forces, and evidence that refuted Eoghan Harris’s atrocity allegations that the Pearsons were shot in the genitals while the women were forced to watch. Pat Muldowney – dr Pat Muldowney – pointed out that “I am neither a liar nor a Holocaust denier.” That’s fairly straightforward, I’m happy to read that out, to clarify that.
But you say there was still fear about talking about this?
Yes, thank you. Have you met Roger Pearson?
I haven’t, no.
Well, he’s back in Dublin, working in the centre of Dublin, you heard him …
I heard him yesterday, I barely got the end of it, about quarter past two…
I don’t know if he’d be your first, second or third cousin …
I really can’t say how close they were, I’ll have to go back and look at that.
OK. He has a very very strong Australian accent, but he’s a very very lovely man as well. Elizabeth, I appreciate your contacting the programme.
OK, thanks very much.
What Elizabeth Pearson said:
I think it was probably over the land. I don’t think it was because they were Protestant. ...
I don’t know that we felt under threat in the past. ...
But I do think they were murdered, and I don’t believe it was an execution. ...
I always was aware of it, but I’d forgotten about it until the book by Alan Stanley – “I met murder on the way” – came out.
In other words, Elizabeth Pearson believed that land was an issue, but not religion or ethnicity. Regarding Coolacrease, her information was, like the RT\xC9 documentary, based on Alan Stanley's discredited book and its spurious "genital mutilation" propaganda.
Even though her source of information about Coolacrease was Alan Stanley's book - and also, perhaps, the RT\xC9 documentary which followed Alan Stanley's line - on the basis of personal experience Elizabeth Pearson rejected the ethnic cleansing propaganda of that book and documentary. The "genital mutilation" propaganda has been disproved by objective medical evidence covered up by RT\xC9. The notion that, because of their religious affiliation, the Pearson brothers could not possibly have been involved in armed violence against the elected government has been shown to be false. The theory that the executions were part of a land grab against the Pearsons has been shown to be false.
Additional documentation will be added to this site from time to time, with a view to exposing the modus operandi
of the Anglicizers in Ireland.