Liam O’Flaherty’s novel The Informer recounts the story of protagonist Gypo Nolan and his guilty conscience after informing on his friend Frankie McPhillip to the Black and Tans during the Irish war for independence in the 1920s. Nolan does this because he is poor and desperate for the cash reward the Black and Tans are offering in exchange for information. Afterward, Nolan’s increasingly suspicious behaviors tip off the IRA until he finds himself in trouble.
At the end of the novel, members of the IRA shoot Nolan as he flees for his life. Mortally wounded, he stumbles into a church to find McPhillip’s mother praying. Knowing that he is about to die and seeing this as a last attempt at redemption, Nolan confesses that he is the informant who turned over her son. Mrs. McPhillip says she forgives Nolan because he did not understand what he was doing.
This alludes to Luke 23:24 when Jesus says the following:
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (KJV).
Jesus says this from the cross as the spectators mock him. Although he is suffering, Jesus prays for those who delight in his agony. This shows his infinite mercy for mankind.
In The Informer, Mrs. McPhillip shows a similar mercy for Nolan, who is the cause of her suffering over the loss of her son Frankie. This allows Nolan to die peacefully.