Photograph: Sean Nethercott
Mr. Shay Nethercott
Sean Nethercott was a politican in the 1920s. The spring of 1922 brought intense disorder and bloodshed, several prominent Unionists were kidnapped by the I.R.A, and one sectarian atrocity followed another, particularly in Belfast. The very survival of Northern Ireland was threatened. A Special Powers act was passed on April 7th (Civil Authorities Act) allowing suspects to be detained without trial and courts to be set up with powers to impose sentences such as whipping, penal servitude and capital punishment. On foot of this Act and following the murder of a member of the N.I. parliament on 22 May, two hundred men, all Catholics, were arrested and interned. They included political as well as militant opponents to the new state. About fifty suspects were from Fermanagh including the Nationalist leader Cahir Healy and a prominent Nationalist spokesman from Enniskillen, Sean Nethercott. A month later most of these were interned on the Argenta, an old ship moored in Belfast Lough.