The dawning of peace in Northern Ireland has not brought with it much truth about what happened during the long war'. Very few of the paramilitary leaders on either side have ever spoken candidly about their role in that bloody conflict. But here, in a dramatic break with the unwritten laws of paramilitary omertà, two leading figures from opposing sides reveal their involvement in bombings, shootings and killings and speak frankly about how differently their wars came to an end.
Brendan Hughes was a legend in the Republican movement. An operator', a gun-runner and mastermind of some of the most savage IRA violence of the Troubles, he was a friend and close ally of Gerry Adams and was by his side during the most brutal years of the conflict. David Ervine was the most substantial political figure to emerge from the world of Loyalist paramilitaries. A former Ulster Volunteer Force bomber and confidante of its long-time leader Gusty Spence, Ervine helped steer Loyalism's gunmen towards peace, persuading the UVF's leaders to target IRA and Sinn Fein activists and push them down the road to a ceasefire.
In extensive interviews given to researchers from Boston College on condition that their stories be kept secret until after their deaths, these men spoke with astonishing openness about their turbulent, violent lives. Now their stories have been woven into a vivid narrative which provides compelling insight into a secret world and events long hidden from history.
Voices from the Grave is the inaugural publication. of the Boston College IRA/UVF Oral History Project of which Professor Thomas E. Hachey and Dr Robert O'Neill are the General Editors.