Paddy Woodworth

Staff journalist for the Irish Times from 1988 to 2002, currently working on three book projects – a novel set in Basque country; a comparison of the Northern Ireland and the Basque conflicts; as well as a book about images of migratory birds in human culture.


In the mid-1980s in Spain, the state-sponsored paramilitary group GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberacion) waged the so-called “Dirty War” against ETA and Basque refugees in the French Basque countries in order to combat terrorism committed by ETA: Once these actions became public they had wide repercussions on the young Spanish democracy, affecting not only subsequent governments but also the judiciary, the military and the Spanish public.
This interview with Paddy Woodworth, author of Dirty War, Clean Hands: ETA, the GAL and Spanish democracy outlines the political and psychological aftermath of the GAL operations on the Spanish state: Answering terrorism with state terrorism, Woodworth argues, erodes the moral fabric of the entire state and can therefore never be used as a legitimate means of defence.