Murder by the throat Edward J Bourke



Murder by the throat


Espionage, Assassination,
Collaboration and Execution during the
Irish War of Independence, 1916-1921

Edward J Bourke




Published March 2020


pending bookshop reopening and distribution

Retail price €20  inc post from 33 Rushbrook Dublin 15 D15HDE7

ISBN 978 09523027 4 2





Lloyd George boasted that he had “murder by the throat” in a London Guildhall speech on 10 November 1920.  He had flooded Ireland with troops, Black and Tans, Auxiliaries, secret service, touts and informers.  Eighteen months later after the Truce and Treaty the British left Ireland defeated by the counter espionage of the people in the shadows who exposed the undercover agents and frustrated their efforts. The whole country was permeated by agents ready to oppose the Dail and its army.  In response two hundred of these agents were killed in the course of eighteen months of the War. The book investigates the Irish War of Independence in the shadows, shedding light on espionage, cooperation and collaboration. Newly released material from the Military Archives

  • Reveals the names of 700 alleged enemy agents at the time of the Truce
  • Includes names of British secret service and two agents missed at the Standard Hotel on Bloody Sunday.
  • Crown Forces operated assassination gangs throughout the country to kill Republican activists and militants
  • IRA men were casual about security often with deadly consequences
  • IRA was infiltrated by traitors
  • Comrades refused to believe that they were at risk.
  • Famous names had dubious connections indicating they had a dual role.
  • Much more opposition to Republicans than popularly believed



MP McMahon Meelick IRA ,Information required

I was wondering if you could you help me find records relating to my grandfather’s cousin, MP McMahon. He was part of the Meelick IRA in the early 1900’s. See below a newspaper article from the Limerick Chronicle in 1921 re his funeral; it seems that it was very big but I can’t find any record of him online.


I do know that when my my Dad was a child, he was given a book by a friend to borrow and show to his father. The book, we think, had a photo of MP McMahon.  However my grandfather subsequently confiscated the book and our family have never seen it since.

My Dad and I wondered if the reason my grandfather confiscated the book was because he was a De Valera supporter and this MP McMahon may have been a Collins supporter, but this is just a theory.


All that my Dad and I know is that MP McMahon was born in 1901, from Ballynantymore, Limerick and died in 1921. However, in the census he is listed as Micheal S A McMahon, which is another thing we can’t understand.


Any information/assistance would be great. See the link below:



Many Thanks,


Deirdre McMahon