Northern Ireland news

Impact of abuse on Hooded Men still felt today

Hooded man Pat Shivers died in 1985 aged 54
Connla Young

The disturbing case of the Hooded Men continues to cause controversy almost 50 years after the events.

The systematic ill treatment suffered by the 14 Catholic men sent shockwaves throughout the nationalist community in 1971.

What has become known as the ‘five techniques' were used against the men while they were detained without charge or trial.

The abuse included being hooded, made to stand spread-eagled in a stress position against a wall and beaten if they fell, forced to listen to constant loud static noise, and deprived of sleep, food and water.

The full impact of the experience is felt to this day, with one of the victims continuing to be treated for post traumatic stress disorder.

In the past one of the men has told of collapsing and being punched in the stomach to revive him.

Read More
Hooded Men to challenge Euro court torture ruling
Key questions after European Court refuses to revise 'Hooded Men' torture ruling

He said he was against a wall for three days and subjected to kicks or beatings every time he dropped to the ground or fell asleep.

The court was later told how he suffered hallucinations and prayed for death.

Another member of the group recounted how he was bitten by a British army dog and was forced to drink from the same dish as the animal.

Four of the men have since died including father-of-five Pat Shivers who passed away in 1985 from stomach cancer aged in his early 50s.

He told Fr Raymond Murray, who highlighted the men's case, how he was hooded, denied food and water, was beaten repeatedly and passed out during interrogation.

He said at one point he imagined he had died.

Michael Montgomery died in December 1984 after suffering a heart attack.

Lawyers for the daughter of one of the men, Sean McKenna, have argued that the interrogation techniques "ruined" him and worsened a heart condition which led his death in 1975 at the age of 45.

Another of the group, Gerry McKerr, died in 2015 aged 71.

Case co-ordinator Jim McImurray said: “I know these men personally and I have been with many of them at five in the evening and I have been with many of them at five in the morning and believe me the long term effects are very much present.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Northern Ireland news

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: