Synopses & Reviews
In this astonishing and at times terrifying book, acclaimed writer and political commentator Martin Dillon examines for the first time the true role of religion in the conflict in Northern Ireland. He interviewed those directly involved--terrorists like Kenny McClinton and Billy Wright and churchmen like Father Pat Buckley--finding that the terrorists were more forthcoming than the priests and ministers.
God and the Gun presents the exclusive inside story of a national tragedy. Martin Dillon probes historic religious conditioning and bigotry, widespread political violence, controversial prison conversion and the shocking personal reflections of terrorists and clergy. These accounts help to explain the role of religion in the conflict--particularly the trauma faced by priests who come into close contact with terrorists--and how the word of God has been damaged in the process. Dillon charts the history of the paramilitary forces on both sides and exposes the shocking covert role of British intelligence. He finds that, ultimately, both the church and government have failed their communities, allowing men and women of violence to fill a vacuum with bigotry and violence.
This book is the first of its kind to examine the role of religion in Northern Ireland by talking directly to those involved: to the churchmen and to the terrorists. It shows how religious conditioning and history lead inexorably to political violence. It asks Roman Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries how they can reconcile murder with their Christian convictions, and what the men of God should - or could - do to stop the killing. Martin Dillon talks to Billy Wright, loyalist hard man, whose murder in MAZE Prison on December 27, 1997 threatens the peace process; to Kenny McClinton, a convicted murderer who once advocated beheading Roman Catholics and impaling their heads on railings; to motherly Eileen, a leading member of the women's arm of the IRA; and to Father Pat Buckley - prepared to break the confessional seal to save a Unionist MP under threat of assassination but also to smuggle a Republican prisoner's wife across the Irish border.