Tag Archives: Provisional Irish Republican Army

10th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

10th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Tuesday 10 August 1971

During the 9 August 1971 and the early hours of the 10 August Northern Ireland experienced the worst violence since August 1969.

Over the following days thousands of people (estimated at 7,000), the majority of them Catholics, were forced to flee their homes. Many Catholic ‘refugees’ moved to the Republic of Ireland, and have never returned to Northern Ireland.

Saturday 10 August 1974

The body of Patrick Kelly (33), a Nationalist councillor, was discovered in Lough Eyes, near Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh. Kelly had disappeared on 24 July 1974 after leaving Trillick, County Tyrone, to travel home.

Sunday 10 August 1975

There was an outbreak of shooting between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British Army in west Belfast.

     

Siobhan McCabe, & Patrick Crawford,

Two Catholic children, aged 4 and 15 years, were killed in the crossfire during separate incidents and another eight people were injured.

[These incidents mark a further dilution of the IRA truce.]

Tuesday 10 August 1976

Peace People (Women’s Peace Movement) Established

A member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was shot dead, by a British Army mobile patrol, as he drove a car along Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

The car then went out of control and ploughed into the Maguire family who were walking on the pavement.

Three children were killed as a result of this incident, Joanne Maguire (9), John Maguire (3) and Andrew Maguire (6 weeks).

Two of the children died at the scene and the third died the following day. In the aftermath of these deaths there were a series of peace rallies held in Belfast and across Northern Ireland.

There were rallies on 12 August 1976, 14 August 1976, 21 August 1976, 28 August 1976 and in London on 27 November 1976.

Mairead Maguire, July 2009
Mairead Maguire

The rallies were organised by the children’s aunt, Mairead Corrigan, and another woman, Betty Williams (they were later joined by Ciaran McKeown).

Betty Williams.jpg
Betty Williams

Initially the group called itself the Women’s Peace Movement as the rallies were mainly attended by women from both the main communities. Later the name was changed to the Peace People.

The rallies were the first since ‘the Troubles’ began where large number of Catholics and Protestants joined forces on the streets of Northern Ireland to call for peace. On 10 October 1977 it was announced that Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams would receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their work. On 5 October 1978 the original leaders of the Peace People announced that they were stepping down from the leadership of the organisation.

Wednesday 10 August 1977

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted a small bomb in a garden on the campus of the New University of Ulster which was visited by the Queen as part of her jubilee celebrations. The bomb exploded after the Queen had left and it caused no injuries, nor was the Queen’s schedule affected. Members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) refused to attend a reception in her honour.

Monday 10 August 1981

Patrick Sheehan

Patrick Sheehan, then an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, joined the hunger strike.

Friday 10 August 1984

Francis Hand (Garda Siochana )

A member of the Garda Siochana (GS) was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in County Meath. A member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was accidentally killed as he tried to escape from the Maze Prison.

Monday 10 August 1992

UDA Banned

( See UDA Page for background & History )

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was to be proscribed (banned) as of from midnight.

The move was welcomed by Nationalist politicians who felt the decision was long overdue.

Many commentators felt that the timing of the move was related to the recent upsurge in Loyalist violence. During the first six months of the year the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had killed more people than the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Wednesday 10 August 1994

Harry O’Neill (60), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

He was killed while working as security man at a supermarket, Orby Link, Castlereagh, Belfast.

Saturday 10 August 1996

In a decision taken during the morning the Apprentice Boys of Derry organisation decided not to try to walk along the section of closed-off Derry walls. The main parade through the centre of the city went ahead as planned. Contentious parades in Newtownbutler and Roslea, County Fermanagh went ahead after compromises were reached with local residents. There was trouble in Dunloy, County Derry, when a large group of Apprentice Boys tried to parade through the village.

John Molloy (18), a Catholic man, was stabbed to death in Belfast.

Sunday 10 August 1997

The Sunday Times (a London newspaper) carried a claim by David Ervine, then a spokesperson for the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had tried to persuade Loyalist paramilitaries from calling a ceasefire in 1994. It was also claimed that the DUP had continued to try to undermine the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) ceasefire once it was in place.

[The DUP later responded to the claims by saying that Ervine was engaging in “fantasy politics”.]

Sinn Féin (SF) held a rally in Belfast and called on Unionists to join them at the talks in Stormont. While the rally was in progress the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) staged a publicity stunt involving armed members posing with weapons for a cameraman in west Belfast.

The INLA later released a statement that called the ceasefire by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) “bogus”.

Tuesday 10 August 1999

Two pipe-bombs were recovered after Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers stopped a car acting suspiciously in the Rathenraw estate in Antrim shortly after midnight. Two men were arrested and the devices were defused by British Army (BA) officers.

Thursday 10 August 2000

A pipe-bomb was discovered in Magherafelt, County Derry, and was diffused by the British army. The attack was carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. Loyalists also attacked 12 Catholic homes in Carrickhill and Ardoyne.

Friday 10 August 2001

Assembly Suspended For 1 Day

Two men were shot in separate paramilitary ‘punishment’ attacks in west Belfast. A 17-year-old youth was shot in both legs and arms in Andersonstown after he had been taken from his home. The second man was shot in both legs in Twinbrook.

John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that he was suspending the Northern Ireland Assembly, at midnight, for a short period and hoped the period of suspension would last just for the coming weekend.

[The suspension lasted just 24 hours. The effect of the suspension was to allow another period of six weeks (until 22 September 2001) in which the political parties would have a second opportunity to come to agreement and re-elect the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.]

There was a report in the Irish Times (a Republic of Ireland newspaper) on the scale of Loyalist paramilitary pipe-bomb attacks across Northern Ireland during 2001. Of the 134 pipe-bombs used during the year to date 50 had exploded and the rest were either defused or failed to explode. There had been 44 pipe-bomb attacks in Belfast; 19 in Coleraine; 12 in Ballymena; 6 in Larne; and 5 in Ballymoney.

Sam Kinkaid, then Assistant Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), said that the attacks have been carried out by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Omagh Bomb

Some of the relatives of those killed by the Omagh Bomb (15 August 1998) announced that they were beginning a civil action against the “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA).

[The legal action would involve the families sueing five men (alleged to be members of the rIRA) for compensation. This action was thought to be the first of its kind.]

See Omagh Bomb

See The IRA’s Deadliest Massacre of Civilians

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

17  people lost their lives on the 10th August between 1971 – 1994

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 10 August 1971

Norman Watson  (53)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA) Shot while driving along Irish Street, Armagh.

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10 August 1971

Paul Challoner

Paul Challoner,  (23) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Shot while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Bligh’s Lane, Creggan, Derry.

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 10 August 1971

Edwards Doherty,  (28)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA) Shot while walking along Whiterock Road, Ballymurphy, Belfast.

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 10 August 1973

Joseph Murphy

Joseph Murphy   (22)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY) Shot while walking along Kennedy Way, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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 10 August 1975

Siobhan McCabe

Siobhan McCabe,   (4)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Shot during gun battle between Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British Army (BA), McDonnell Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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 10 August 1975

Patrick Crawford

Patrick Crawford,  (15)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk) Shot during gun battle between Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British Army (BA), grounds of Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

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 10 August 1976

Daniel Lennon

Daniel Lennon,   (23)

Catholic

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA) Shot while driving car away from attempted ambush of British Army (BA) foot patrol, car went out of control and crashed into Maguire family, walking along Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

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 10 August 1976

John Maguire,   (3)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk) Died when hit by car, which went out of control and mounted pavement, after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) member driver had been shot by British Army (BA) patrol, Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

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10 August 1976

Joanne Maguire

Joanne Maguire,   (9)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk) Died when hit by car, which went out of control and mounted pavement, after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) member driver had been shot by British Army (BA) patrol, Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

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 10 August 1976

Andrew Maguire,  (0)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk) Died when hit by car, which went out of control and mounted pavement, after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) member driver had been shot by British Army (BA) patrol, Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

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 10 August 1979

Arthur McGraw,  (29)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Shot outside his home, Moneycarrie Road, Garvagh, County Derry. Mistaken for his Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) member brother.

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10 August 1984

Benjamin Redfern

Benjamin Redfern,  (32)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: not known (nk) Crushed to death in back of refuse lorry during attempted escape from Long Kesh / Maze Prison, County Down.

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 10 August 1984

Francis Hand

Francis Hand,   (26) nfNIRI

Status: Garda Siochana (GS),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Shot during attempted armed robbery at post office, Drumcree, County Meath.

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 10 August 1988

Samuel Patton,  (33)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) Found shot in field, off Ballyversal Road, near Coleraine, County Derry.

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 10 August 1988

James McPhilemy,   (20)

Catholic

Status: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA),

Killed by: British Army (BA) Shot while involved in attempted gun attack on permanent British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Clady, near Strabane, County Tyrone.

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10 August 1991

James Carson,   (33)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Loyalist Retaliation and Defence Group (LRDG) Shot at his shop, junction of Falls Road and Donegall Road, Falls, Belfast.

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10 August 1994

Harry O’Neill

Harry O’Neill,  (60)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) Security man. Shot while in security hut at supermarket, Orby Link, Castlereagh, Belfast.

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9th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

9th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Monday 9 August 1971

Internment

Operation Demetrius

Operation Demetrius was a British Army operation in Northern Ireland on 9–10 August 1971, during the Troubles. It involved the mass arrest and internment (imprisonment without trial) of 342 people suspected of being involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was waging a campaign against the state. It was proposed by the Northern Ireland Government and approved by the British Government. Armed soldiers launched dawn raids throughout Northern Ireland, sparking four days of violence in which 20 civilians, two IRA members and two British soldiers were killed. All of those arrested were Catholic Irish nationalists. Due to faulty intelligence, many had no links with the IRA. Ulster loyalist paramilitaries were also carrying out acts of violence, which were mainly directed against Catholics and Irish nationalists, but no loyalists were included in the sweep

See below for additional details on Internment

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Internment, 17 People Killed

In a series of raids across Northern Ireland, 342 people were arrested and taken to makeshift camps as Internment was re-introduced in Northern Ireland. There was an immediate upsurge of violence and 17 people were killed during the next 48 hours. Of these 10 were Catholic civilians who were shot dead by the British Army (BA).

Hugh Mullan (38) was the first Catholic priest to be killed in the conflict when he was shot dead by the British Army as he was giving the last rites to a wounded man.

Winston Donnell (22) became the first Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) solider to die in ‘the Troubles’ when he was shot by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) near Clady, County Tyrone.

[There were more arrests in the following days and months. Internment was to continue until 5 December 1975. During that time 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic / Republican, while 107 were Protestant / Loyalist. Internment had been proposed by Unionist politicians as the solution to the security situation in Northern Ireland but was to lead to a very high level of violence over the next few years and to increased support for the IRA. Even members of the security forces remarked on the drawbacks of internment.]

Wednesday 9 August 1972

There was widespread and severe rioting in Nationalist areas on the anniversary of the introduction of Internment.

Friday 9 August 1974

A report on the Dublin bombings investigation was completed by the Garda Síochána (the Irish police).

[A number of further inquiries were carried out by the Garda Síochána between 1974 and 1976 but nothing of consequence resulted.]

Tuesday 9 August 1977

The Queen began a two-day visit to Northern Ireland as part of her jubilee celebrations. It was the first visit by the Queen for 11 years.

Saturday 9 August 1980

Following protests on the ninth anniversary of Internment there was continuing violence and three people were killed and 18 injured in a number of incidents.

Sunday 9 August 1981

Liam Canning (19), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as he walked along Alliance Avenue, Ardoyne, Belfast.

Peter Maguinness (41), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by a plastic bullet fired by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) while he was outside his home on the Shore Road, Greencastle, Belfast.

There were continuing riots in Nationalist areas of Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 9 August 1983

In the run-up to the anniversary of the introduction of Internment in 1971 there was rioting in Nationalist areas of Belfast. A young Catholic man was shot dead by a British soldier following an altercation between local people and a British Army (BA) foot patrol on the Whiterock Road, Ballymurphy, Belfast.

Thursday 9 August 1984

Martin Galvin, then leader of NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), appeared at a rally in Derry despite being banned from the UK.

Galvin appeared at another rally in Belfast on 12 August 1984.

Wednesday 9 August 1989

Seamus Duffy (15) was killed by a plastic bullet fired by a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Friday 9 August 1991

Garry Lynch (28), who was an election worker with the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), was shot dead in an attack at his workplace in Derry.

Wednesday 9 August 1995

Albert Reynolds, the former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), said that the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons had not been highlighted in the talks leading to the Downing Street Declaration. He further stated that if the issue had been raised he would not have signed the Declaration.

Monday 19 August 1996

Jimmy Smith, one of those who had escaped from the Maze prison in 1983, was extradited from the United States of America.

Saturday 9 August 1997

The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) planted a hoax van bomb on Craigavon Bridge in Derry, prior to the start of the Apprentice Boys’ parade through the city. When the march got underway there were disturbances when Loyalist bandsmen broke ranks to attack Nationalist residents who were observing the parade. An Apprentice Boys’ parade through Dunloy, County Antrim, was rerouted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

The Royal Black Preceptory decided to cancel a parade in Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, because of protests by the Nationalist residents of the village.

Monday 9 August 1999

The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to press charges against Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers who were accused of assaulting David Adams, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member.

Adams had received £30,000 compensations for injuries, including a broken leg, inflicted upon him while being held in Castlereagh Holding Centre. Adams had been arrested in 1994 and later sentenced to 25 years for conspiracy to murder a senior RUC detective.

A man from north Belfast appeared in Belfast High Court and was charged with the murder of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999.

The Northern Ireland Parades Commission decided to allow an Apprentice Boys march down the lower Ormeau Road, Belfast, on 14 August 1999 despite the opposition of local Nationalist residents. Delegates from the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Bogside Residents’ Group met in an effort to reach a compromise on the arrangement for the forthcoming parade in Derry.

Thursday 9 August 2001

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement about its meetings with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), said the statement did not go far enough and his party wanted to see a beginning to actual decommissioning.

The UUP and Sinn Féin (SF), and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), held separate meetings with John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, at Hillsborough Castle, County Down. The UUP argued for a suspension of the institutions of devolved government, whereas SF favoured fresh elections to the Assembly.

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

.26 People lost their lives on the 9th August between 1971 – 1991

9th August

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09 August 1971
William Atwell,  (40)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Security man. Killed by nail bomb thrown into Mackie’s factory, Springfield Road, Belfast.

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09 August 1971
 Sarah Worthington,  (50)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot in her home, Velsheda Park, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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09 August 1971
Leo McGuigan,   (16)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while walking along Estoril Park, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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09 August 1971

Patrick McAdorey,   (24)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during gun battle, Alliance Avenue, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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09 August 1971
John Beattie,  (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot, from British Army (BA) observation post in Clonard Monastery, while driving van along Ashmore Street, Shankill, Belfast.

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09 August 1971

Francis Quinn,   (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during gun battle, Springfield Park, Ballymurphy, Belfast, by BA snipers from the nearby New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, while going to the aid of a wounded man.

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09 August 1971

Hugh Mullan,  (38)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Catholic Priest. Shot during gun battle, Springfield Park, Ballymurphy, Belfast, by BA snipers from the nearby New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, while going to the aid of a wounded man.

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09 August 1971
Francis McGuinness,   (17)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, Finaghy Road North, Belfast.

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09 August 1971

Desmond Healey, (14)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, Lenadoon Avenue, Belfast.

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09 August 1971

 Joan Connolly,   (50)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot as she stood opposite New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, Springfield Road, Belfast.

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09 August 1971
Daniel Teggart,  (44)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot as he stood opposite New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, Springfield Road, Belfast.

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09 August 1971
Noel Phillips,   (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot as he stood opposite New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, Springfield Road, Belfast.

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09 August 1971
 Joseph Murphy,  (41)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot as he stood opposite New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, Springfield Road, Belfast. He died on 22 August 1971.

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09 August 1971
Winston Donnell,  (22)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while at British Army (BA) Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Clady near Strabane, County Tyrone.

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09 August 1972

Colm Murtagh, (24)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion in garage, Dublin Road, Newry, County Down.

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09 August 1973

 Henry Cunningham,   (17) nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
From County Donegal. Shot during gun attack on his firm’s van, from bridge overlooking the M2 motorway, near Templepatrick, County Antrim.

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09 August 1977

Paul McWilliams,  (16)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army Youth Section (IRAF),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot from British Army (BA) observation post, in Corry’s Timber Yard, Springhill Avenue, Ballymurphy, Belfast

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09 August 1977
Loius Harrison (20) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while standing outside Henry Taggart British Army (BA) base, Springfield Road, Ballymurphy, Belfast.

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09 August 1980
James McCarren,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Shot during sniper attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Shaw’s Road, Andersonstown, Belfast.

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09 August 1980

Brien Brown,   (29) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Forkhill, County Armagh.

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09 August 1980

Michael Donnelly,  (21)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by plastic bullet at the junction of Leeson Street and Falls Road, Belfast.

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09 August 1981
Liam Canning,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot while walking along Alliance Avenue, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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09 August 1981

Peter McGuinness,  (41)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot by plastic bullet outside his home, Shore Road, Greencastle, Belfast.

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09 August 1983

Thomas Reilly,  (22)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during altercation between local people and British Army (BA) foot patrol, Whiterock Road, Ballymurphy, Belfast.

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09 August 1989

Seamus Duffy,   (15)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot by plastic bullet while walking along Dawson Street, New Lodge, Belfast

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09 August 1991

 Lynch, Gary (27)  

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Also Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) member. Shot at his workplace, Foyle Meats, Lisahally, Derry.

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Operation Demetrius

Internment

Operation Demetrius was a British Army operation in Northern Ireland on 9–10 August 1971, during the Troubles. It involved the mass arrest and internment (imprisonment without trial) of 342 people suspected of being involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was waging a campaign against the state. It was proposed by the Northern Ireland Government and approved by the British Government. Armed soldiers launched dawn raids throughout Northern Ireland, sparking four days of violence in which 20 civilians, two IRA members and two British soldiers were killed. All of those arrested were Catholic Irish nationalists. Due to faulty intelligence, many had no links with the IRA. Ulster loyalist paramilitaries were also carrying out acts of violence, which were mainly directed against Catholics and Irish nationalists, but no loyalists were included in the sweep.

The introduction of internment, the way the arrests were carried out, and the abuse of those arrested, led to mass protests and a sharp increase in violence. Amid the violence, about 7,000 people fled or were forced out of their homes. The interrogation techniques used on the internees were described by the European Commission of Human Rights in 1976 as torture, but the European Court of Human Rights ruled on appeal in 1978 that while the techniques were “inhuman and degrading”, they did not constitute torture.

It was later revealed that the British Government had withheld information from the ECHR and that a policy of torture had in fact been authorized by British Government ministers. In December 2014 the Irish government asked the European Court of Human Rights to revise its 1978 judgement.

The policy of internment was to last until December 1975 and during that time 1,981 people were interned;1,874 were Catholic/Irish republican, while 107 were Protestant/loyalist. The first Protestant/loyalist internees were detained in February 1973.

Background and planning

Internment had been used a number of times during Northern Ireland‘s (and the Republic of Ireland‘s) history, but had not yet been used during the Troubles, which began in the late 1960s. Ulster loyalist paramilitaries such as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) had been engaged in a low-level violent campaign since 1966. After the August 1969 riots, the British Army (BA) was deployed on the streets to bolster the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Up until this point the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had been largely inactive. However, as the violence and political situation worsened, the IRA was divided over how to deal with it. It split into two factions: the Provisional IRA and Official IRA. In 1970–71, the Provisionals launched an armed campaign against the British Army and the RUC. The Officials stated that their policy was one of defence.

During 1970–71 there were numerous clashes between state forces and the two wings of the IRA, and between the IRA and loyalists. Most loyalist attacks were directed against Catholic civilians and the Irish nationalist/republican community, but they also clashed with state forces on a number of occasions.

The idea of re-introducing internment for republican militants came from the unionist government of Northern Ireland, headed by Prime Minister Brian Faulkner. It was agreed to re-introduce internment at a meeting between Faulkner and UK Prime Minister Edward Heath on 5 August 1971. The British cabinet recommended “balancing action”, such as the arrest of loyalist militants, the calling in of weapons held by (generally unionist) rifle clubs in Northern Ireland and an indefinite ban on parades (most of which were held by unionist/loyalist groups). However, Faulkner argued that a ban on parades was unworkable, that the rifle clubs posed no security risk and that there was no evidence of loyalist terrorism

It was eventually agreed that there would be a six-month ban on parades but no targeting of loyalists and that internment would go ahead on 9 August, in an operation carried out by the British Army.

On the initial list of those to be arrested, which was drawn up by RUC Special Branch and MI5, there were 450 names, but only 350 of these were found. Key figures on the list, and many who never appeared on them, had got wind of the swoop before it began. The list included leaders of the non-violent civil rights movement such as Ivan Barr and Michael Farrell. But, as Tim Pat Coogan noted,

What they did not include was a single Loyalist. Although the UVF had begun the killing and bombing, this organisation was left untouched, as were other violent Loyalist satellite organisations such as Tara, the Shankill Defence Association and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers. It is known that Faulkner was urged by the British to include a few Protestants in the trawl but he refused.

In the case brought to the European Commission of Human Rights by the Irish government against the government of the United Kingdom, it was conceded that Operation Demetrius was planned and implemented from the highest levels of the British government and that specially trained personnel were sent to Northern Ireland to familiarize the local forces in what became known as the ‘five techniques‘, methods of interrogation described by opponents as “a euphemism for torture”.

Legal basis

The internments were initially carried out under Regulations 11 and 12 of 1956 and Regulation 10 of 1957 (the Special Powers Regulations), made under the authority of the Special Powers Act. The Detention of Terrorists Order of 7 November 1972, made under the authority of the Temporary Provisions Act, was used after direct rule was instituted.

Internees arrested without trial pursuant to Operation Demetrius could not complain to the European Commission of Human Rights about breaches of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because on 27 June 1957, the UK lodged a notice with the Council of Europe declaring that there was a “public emergency within the meaning of Article 15(1) of the Convention.”

The operation and immediate aftermath

The HMS Maidstone, a prison ship docked at Belfast where many internees were sent

Operation Demetrius began on Monday 9 August at about 4AM.

The operation was in two parts:

In the first wave of raids across Northern Ireland, 342 people were arrested. Many of those arrested reported that they and their families were assaulted, verbally abused and threatened by the soldiers. There were claims of soldiers smashing their way into houses without warning and firing baton rounds through doors and windows. Many of those arrested also reported being ill-treated during their three-day detention at the holding centres. They complained of being beaten, verbally abused, threatened, harassed by dogs, denied sleep, and starved.

Some reported being forced to run a gauntlet of baton-wielding soldiers, being forced to run an ‘obstacle course’, having their heads forcefully shaved, being kept naked, being burnt with cigarettes, having a sack placed over their heads for long periods, having a rope kept around their necks, having the barrel of a gun pressed against their heads, being dragged by the hair, being trailed behind armoured vehicles while barefoot, and being tied to armoured trucks as a human shield.[12][13] Some were hooded, beaten and then thrown from a helicopter. They were told they were hundreds of feet in the air, but were actually only a few feet from the ground.

The operation sparked an immediate upsurge of violence, which was said to be the worst since the August 1969 riots. The British Army came under sustained attack from Irish nationalist/republican rioters and gunmen, especially in Belfast. According to journalist Kevin Myers:

“Insanity seized the city. Hundreds of vehicles were hijacked and factories were burnt. Loyalist and IRA gunmen were everywhere”.

People blocked roads and streets with burning barricades to stop the British Army entering their neighbourhoods. In Derry, barricades were again erected around Free Derry and “for the next 11 months these areas effectively seceded from British control”.  Between 9 and 11 August, 24 people were killed or fatally wounded: 20 civilians (14 Catholics, 6 Protestants), two members of the Provisional IRA (shot dead by the British Army), and two members of the British Army (shot dead by the Provisional IRA).

A mural commemorating those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre during Operation Demetrius

 

Of the civilians killed, 17 were killed by the British Army and the other three were killed by unknown attackers. In West Belfast’s Ballymurphy housing estate, 11 Catholic civilians were killed by 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment between 9 and 11 August in an episode that has become known as the Ballymurphy Massacre. Another flashpoint was Ardoyne in North Belfast, where soldiers shot dead three people on 9 August.

Many Protestant families fled Ardoyne and about 200 burnt their homes as they left, lest they “fall into Catholic hands”.Protestant and Catholic families fled “to either side of a dividing line, which would provide the foundation for the permanent peaceline later built in the area”.  Catholic homes were burnt in Ardoyne and elsewhere too. About 7000 people, most of them Catholics, were left homeless.

About 2500 Catholic refugees fled south of the border, where new refugee camps were set up.

By 13 August, media reports indicated that the violence had begun to wane, seemingly due to exhaustion on the part of the IRA and security forces.

On 15 August, the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) announced that it was starting a campaign of civil disobedience in response to the introduction of internment. By 17 October, it was estimated that about 16,000 households were withholding rent and rates for council houses as part of the campaign of civil disobedience.

On 16 August, over 8000 workers went on strike in Derry in protest at internment. Joe Cahill, then Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA, held a press conference during which he claimed that only 30 Provisional IRA members had been intern

On 22 August, in protest against internment, about 130 non-Unionist councillors announced that they would no longer sit on district councils. The SDLP also withdrew its representatives from a number of public bodies. On 19 October, five Northern Ireland Members of Parliament (MPs) began a 48-hour hunger strike against internment. The protest took place near 10 Downing Street in London. Among those taking part were John Hume, Austin Currie, and Bernadette Devlin.

Protests would continue until internment was ended in December 1975.

Long-term effects

Anti-internment mural in the Bogside area of Derry

 

The backlash against internment contributed to the decision of the British Government under Prime Minister Edward Heath to suspend the Northern Ireland Government and replace it with direct rule from Westminster, under the authority of a British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. This took place in 1972.

Following the suspension of the Northern Ireland Government and Parliament, internment was continued by the direct rule administration until 5 December 1975. During this time a total of 1,981 people were interned: 1,874 were from a Catholic or Irish nationalist background, while 107 were from a Protestant or Ulster loyalist background.

Historians generally view the period of internment as inflaming sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, while failing in its goal of arresting key members of the IRA. Many of the people arrested had no links whatsoever with the IRA, but their names appeared on the list of those to be arrested through bungling and incompetence. The list’s lack of reliability and the arrests that followed, complemented by reports of internees being abused, led to more people identifying with the IRA in the Irish nationalist community and losing hope in other methods.

After Operation Demetrius, recruits came forward in huge numbers to join the Provisional and Official wings of the IRA. Internment also led to a sharp increase in violence. In the eight months before the operation, there were 34 conflict-related deaths in Northern Ireland. In the four months following it, 140 were killed.

A serving officer of the British Royal Marines declared:

It (internment) has, in fact, increased terrorist activity, perhaps boosted IRA recruitment, polarised further the Catholic and Protestant communities and reduced the ranks of the much needed Catholic moderates.

In terms of loss of life, 1972 was the most violent of the Troubles. The fatal march on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972) in Derry, when 14 unarmed civil rights protesters were shot dead by British paratroopers, was an anti-internment march.

Interrogation of internees

All of those arrested were interrogated by the British Army and RUC. However, twelve internees were then chosen for further “deep interrogation”, using sensory deprivation. This took place at a secret interrogation centre, which was later revealed to be Shackleton Barracks, outside Ballykelly. In October, a further two internees were chosen for deep interrogation. These fourteen became known as “the Hooded Men”, or “the Guineapigs”.

After undergoing the same treatment as the other internees, the men were hooded, handcuffed and flown to the base by helicopter. On the way, soldiers severely beat them and threatened to throw them from the helicopter. When they arrived they were stripped naked, photographed, and examined by a doctor.

For seven days, when not being interrogated, they were kept hooded and handcuffed in a cold cell and subjected to a continuous loud hissing noise. Here they were forced to stand in a stress position for many hours and were repeatedly beaten on all parts of their body. They were deprived of sleep, food and drink. Some of them also reported being kicked in the genitals, having their heads banged against walls, being shot at with blank rounds, and being threatened with injections. The result was severe physical and mental exhaustion, severe anxiety, depression, hallucinations, disorientation and repeated loss of consciousness.

The interrogation methods used on the men became known as the ‘five techniques‘. Training and advice regarding the five techniques came from senior intelligence officials in the British government. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) defined the five techniques as follows:

  • (a) wall-standing: forcing the detainees to remain for periods of some hours in a “stress position”, described by those who underwent it as being “spreadeagled against the wall, with their fingers put high above the head against the wall, the legs spread apart and the feet back, causing them to stand on their toes with the weight of the body mainly on the fingers”;
  • (b) hooding: putting a black or navy coloured bag over the detainees’ heads and, at least initially, keeping it there all the time except during interrogation;
  • (c) subjection to noise: pending their interrogations, holding the detainees in a room where there was a continuous loud and hissing noise;
  • (d) deprivation of sleep: pending their interrogations, depriving the detainees of sleep;
  • (e) deprivation of food and drink: subjecting the detainees to a reduced diet during their stay at the centre and pending interrogations.

The fourteen Hooded Men were the only internees subjected to the full five techniques. However, over the following months, some internees were subjected to at least one of the five techniques, as well as other interrogation methods. These allegedly included waterboarding,  electric shocks, burning with matches and candles, forcing internees to stand over hot electric fires while beating them, beating and squeezing of the genitals, inserting objects into the anus, injections, whipping the soles of the feet, and psychological abuse such as Russian roulette.

Parker Report

When the interrogation techniques used on the internees became known to the public, there was outrage at the British government, especially from Irish nationalists. In answer to the anger from the public and Members of Parliament, on 16 November 1971, the British government commissioned a committee of inquiry chaired by Lord Parker (the Lord Chief Justice of England) to look into the legal and moral aspects of the ‘five techniques’.

The “Parker Report” was published on 2 March 1972 and found the five techniques to be illegal under domestic law:

10. Domestic Law …(c) We have received both written and oral representations from many legal bodies and individual lawyers from both England and Northern Ireland. There has been no dissent from the view that the procedures are illegal alike by the law of England and the law of Northern Ireland. … (d) This being so, no Army Directive and no Minister could lawfully or validly have authorized the use of the procedures. Only Parliament can alter the law. The procedures were and are illegal.

On the same day (2 March 1972), United Kingdom Prime Minister Edward Heath stated in the House of Commons:

[The] Government, having reviewed the whole matter with great care and with reference to any future operations, have decided that the techniques … will not be used in future as an aid to interrogation… The statement that I have made covers all future circumstances.

As foreshadowed in the Prime Minister’s statement, directives expressly forbidding the use of the techniques, whether alone or together, were then issued to the security forces by the government.  While these are still legally in force and the use of such methods by UK security forces is not officially condoned by the government, the five techniques were still being used by the British Army in 2003.

European Commission of Human Rig

The Irish Government, on behalf of the men who had been subject to the five techniques, took a case to the European Commission on Human Rights (Ireland v. United Kingdom, 1976 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on Hum. Rts. 512, 748, 788-94 (Eur. Comm’n of Hum. Rts.)). The Commission stated that it

…unanimously considered the combined use of the five methods to amount to torture, on the grounds that (1) the intensity of the stress caused by techniques creating sensory deprivation “directly affects the personality physically and mentally”; and (2) “the systematic application of the techniques for the purpose of inducing a person to give information shows a clear resemblance to those methods of systematic torture which have been known over the ages…a modern system of torture falling into the same category as those systems applied in previous times as a means of obtaining information and confessions.

European Court of Human Rights

The Commissions findings were appealed. In 1978, in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) trial Ireland v. the United Kingdom (Case No. 5310/71), the court ruled:

167. … Although the five techniques, as applied in combination, undoubtedly amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, although their object was the extraction of confessions, the naming of others and/or information and although they were used systematically, they did not occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture as so understood. …168. The Court concludes that recourse to the five techniques amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, which practice was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights Article 3 (art. 3).

On 8 February 1977, in proceedings before the ECHR, and in line with the findings of the Parker Report and UK Government policy, the Attorney-General of the United Kingdom stated:

The Government of the United Kingdom have considered the question of the use of the ‘five techniques’ with very great care and with particular regard to Article 3 (art. 3) of the Convention. They now give this unqualified undertaking, that the ‘five techniques’ will not in any circumstances be reintroduced as an aid to interrogation.

Later developments

In 2013, declassified documents revealed the existence of the interrogation centre at Ballykelly. It had not been mentioned in any of the inquiries. Human rights group the Pat Finucane Centre accused the British Government of deliberately hiding it from the inquiries and the European Court of Human Rights.

In June 2014, an RTÉ documentary entitled The Torture Files uncovered a letter from the UK Home Secretary Merlyn Rees in 1977 to the then British Prime Minister James Callaghan. It confirmed that a policy of ‘torture’ had in fact been authorized by the British Government’s ministers—specifically the Secretary for Defence Peter Carrington—in 1971, contrary to the knowledge of the Irish government or the ECHR. The letter states:

“It is my view (confirmed by Brian Faulkner before his death) that the decision to use methods of torture in Northern Ireland in 1971/72 was taken by ministers – in particular Lord Carrington, then secretary of state for defence”.

Following the 2014 revelations, the President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, called on the Irish government to bring the case back to the ECHR because the British government, he said,

“lied to the European Court of Human Rights both on the severity of the methods used on the men, their long term physical and psychological consequences, on where these interrogations took place and who gave the political authority and clearance for it”.

On 2 December 2014 the Irish government announced that, having reviewed the new evidence and following requests from the survivors, it had decided to officially ask the ECHR to revise its 1978 judgement.

7th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

7th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Monday 7 August 1972

Seven people were killed in separate incidents across Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 7 August 1979

Eamon Ryan (32), a civilian in the Republic of Ireland, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during a bank robbery in Strand Street, Tramore, County Waterford.

Wednesday 7 August 1985

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Independent Television News (ITN) journalists went on strike over the decision by the British government and the BBC in Northern Ireland to ban the documentary ‘Real Lives: At The Edge Of The Union’.

What Happened Next – At The Edge Of The Union (Part 1)

The strike led to the BBC World Service going off the air for the first time.

Thursday 7 August 1986

DUP ‘Invade’ Republic

Peter Robinson took part in the incursion across the border in 1986.

Peter Robinson, then deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), marched with 500 Loyalists into the village of Clontibret, County Monaghan, in the Republic of Ireland.

The Loyalists entered the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) station in the village and physically assaulted two Garda officers.

[Robinson was later arrested and fined £17,500 in a Drogheda court because of the incident.]

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), announced that it was extending its list of ‘legitimate targets’.

[This was in response to Irish Republican Army (IRA) statements on 28 July 1986 and 5 August 1986.]

Sunday 7 August 1994

Kathleen O’Hagan (38), a Catholic civilian who was pregnant at the time, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at her home, Barony Road, Greencastle, near Omagh, County Tyrone.

A husband talks about the murder of his pregnant wife by loyalist paramilitaries

Wednesday 7 August 1996

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, ordered that the contentious part of the Derry walls, a section overlooking the Bogside area, be closed off for a month. This effectively banned the proposed march on 10 August 1996. Immediately after the decision the British Army moved to seal off the section of walls.

Gardí in the Republic of Ireland discover a rocket launcher and ammunition in the Fane River near Dundalk, County Louth.

Tuesday 7 August 2001

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) met for two hours to discuss the British and Irish government’s Implementation Plan (1 August 2001) and also the statement by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) (6 August 2001).

Following the meeting the UUP rejected both the Implementation Plan and the latest moves on the decommissioning of weapons held by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, stated that: “We have seen a step by republicans but of course it falls far short of what we need, which is to see decommissioning actually begin. We’re now heading towards a difficulty at the end of the week,”.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) responded positively to the Implementation Plan. John Hume, then leader of the SDLP, addressed a press conference in Belfast and said the party had made a detailed study of the proposals:

“We are responding with a very strong ‘Yes’, … We have some concerns, but that is totally natural,”

He also said: “We are fully committed to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement”.

——————-

————————————–

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

9 People lost their lives on the 7th August between 1971  – 1994

———————-

07 August 1971

Harry Thornton, (30)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while driving past Springfield Road Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) / British Army (BA) base, Belfast.

———————-

07 August 1972
Terence Hennebrey,  (17)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot in entry off Glenmachan Street, Village, Belfast.

———————-

 07 August 1972

David Wynne,   (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Forfey, near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

———————-

07 August 1972

Errol Gordon,  (22) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Forfey, near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

———————-

07 August 1972

 William Creighton,   (27)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside his home, Drumrainey, Magheraveely, near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh

———————-

 07 August 1972


Geoffrey Knipe,   (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Killed when British Army (BA) Armoured Personnel Carrier crashed after coming under missile attack thrown from crowd, Drumarg, Armagh.

———————-

 07 August 1974

Patrick McElhone,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot shortly after being taken from his home by British Army (BA) patrol, Limehill, near Pomeroy, County Tyrone.

———————-

 07 August 1979
Eamon Ryan,   (32) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during bank robbery, Strand Street, Tramore, County

———————-

 07 August 1994


Kathleen O’Hagan,   (38)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot, at her home, Barony Road, Greencastle, near Omagh, County Tyrone

———————-

6th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

6th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Wednesday 6 August 1980

The British government announced an extra public spending package of £48 million for Northern Ireland to try to alleviate the high level of unemployment in the region which stood at 14.7 per cent.

This announcement came after a meeting between the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTUs) and Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister.

Wednesday 6 August 1997

Loyalist paramilitaries carried out a ‘punishment’ attack on an 18 year old man in Rathcoole, north Belfast.

A taxi driver was shot in the legs in a ‘punishment’ style attack in Grosvenor Road, Belfast.

The attack was alleged to have been carried out by the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA).

A hoax bomb was sent to the office of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) on the Shankill Road.

It was believed that Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible.

There was an arson attack on an Orange Order hall near Caledon, County Tyrone.

Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), together with other SF representatives in Stormont.

Thursday 6 August 1998

Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that she believed that the “war is over”. [This was said in response to Unionist demands that Sinn Féin (SF) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) should state publicly that the conflict had ended.]

Thomas McMahon, who had been convicted of the murder of Lord Mountbatten and three other people in 1979, was released from jail in the Republic of Ireland.

The release drew criticism from Unionists in Northern Ireland.

Friday 6 August 1999

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement in which the organisation denied that it have been behind an attempt to smuggle arms from the USA into Ireland; the IRA “Army Council has not sanctioned any arms importation operation”.

In relation to the speculation around the killing of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999 the IRA said “there had been no breaches of the IRA cessation”.

Monday 6 August 2001

The date set as the deadline for the political parties to give their response to the British and Irish governments’ Implementation Plan for the Good Friday Agreement.

A statement was issued by John de Chastelain (Gen.), then head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), in which he announced that an Irish Republican Army (IRA) representative had proposed a method for putting weapons completely and verifiably beyond use.

De Chastelain told the British and Irish governments that the proposal met with the Commission’s remit in accordance with the governments’ scheme and regulations. De Chastelain said in the statement:

“Based on our discussions with the IRA representative, we believe that this proposal initiates a process that will put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use.”

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), declared the statement as a “hugely historical breakthrough”.
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) office board consisting of 14 members met on Monday evening to consider its response to the Implementation Plan (1 August 2001) and also the statement by the IICD.

————————————–

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

1 Person lost their lives on the 6th  August  1985

——————————-

06 August 1985

Charles English  (21)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died when grenade exploded prematurely, during attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, William Street, Derry.

————————————————————–

5th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

5th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Thursday 5 August 1971

There was a debate at Westminster on the situation in Northern Ireland. Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, and Harry Tuzo, then General Officer Commanding the British Army (BA), in London to discuss the security situation.

5th August 1969

The UVF planted their first bomb in the Republic of Ireland , damaging the RTE Television Centre in Dublin

 

Sunday 5 August 1973

        

Francis & Bernadette Mullen

A Catholic husband and wife, Francis Mullan (59) and Bernadette Mullan (39), were found shot dead at their farmhouse near Moy, County Tyrone.

They had been killed by an unidentified Loyalist paramilitary group.

Friday 5 August 1977

There was a series of fire bomb attacks in Belfast and Lisburn, County Antrim.

Wednesday 5 August 1981

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a series of car bomb and incendiary bomb attacks in seven areas of Northern Ireland including Belfast, Derry and Lisburn. The attacks caused serious damage to property and minor injuries to a number of people.

Friday 5 August 1983

The ‘supergrass’ trial of 38 alleged members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ended in Belfast. The trial had lasted 120 days with most of the evidence being offered by IRA supergrass Christopher Black.

I.R.A supergrass Christopher Black

The judge jailed 22 of the accused to sentences totalling more that 4,000 years. Four people were acquitted and others received suspended sentences.

In 1986, 18 of the 22 who received prison sentences had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Tuesday 5 August 1986

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued another warning that contractors who were carrying out work for the security services in Northern Ireland would be considered ‘part of the war machine’ and would be ‘treated as collaborators’.

Monday 5 August 1996

A meeting between the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Bogside Residents Association ended without agreement about the march due to take place on 10 August 1996. A series of meetings between the two groups had been chaired by the local Member of Parliament John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Tuesday 5 August 1997

A Catholic taxi driver survived an attempt to kill him when the gun being used by a Loyalist paramilitary jammed.

The attack occurred in the Parkmore estate in Lurgan.

The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) later claimed responsibility for the attack.

A hoax bomb was sent to Sammy Wilson, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor, at Belfast City Hall.

Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held her first meeting with Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), since the Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced its renewed ceasefire.

The Irish Times carried a report that John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was considering accepting the position of President of the Republic of Ireland as an agreed all-party candidate. Hume did not comment on the story.

The Bogside Residents Group (BRG) gave agreement to the planned Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) march in the city on 9 August 1997. This followed the news that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) would reroute a number of ABD ‘feeder’ parades in other Nationalist areas of Northern Ireland.

Thursday 5 August 1999

Two pipe-bombs were discovered by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in a hedge in Glengormley, County Antrim. Police made the discovery at 2.45am during a search carried out at the junction between Elmfield Crescent and Elmfield Road in the town.

A report of the Victims’ Commission, established by the Irish government, into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings recommended the appointment of a former Supreme Court judge to inquire privately into events surrounding the bombings which killed 33 people and injured over 400.

Although it was intended that the findings would eventually be made public, the families of the victims wanted the immediate establishment of a public tribunal of Inquiry.

Other recommendations of the report were that a similar Inquiry be established into the killing of Seamus Ludlow on 2 May 1976, and that the Irish government should make a £10,000 payment to the 150 families affected by the bombings.

——————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

5  People lost their lives on the 5th August   between 1973 – 1994

——————————————

 05 August 1973

Francis Mullen,   (59)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Found shot at his farmhouse, Gorestown, near Moy, County Tyrone.

————————————————————–

 05 August 1973

Bernadette Mullen,   (39)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Found shot at her farmhouse, Gorestown, near Moy, County Tyrone.

————————————————————–

 05 August 1974

Martha Lavery,   (67)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while in her home during gun battle between Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British Army (BA), Jamaica Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

————————————————————–

 05 August 1991

Eric Boyd,  (42)

Protestant
Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot shortly after leaving his workplace, while driving along Altmore Road, Cappagh, County Tyrone.

————————————————————–

 05 August 1994

David Thompson,  (48)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Found shot, Ballyhill Lane, Nutts Corner, near Crumlin, County Antrim.

3rd August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

3rd  August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Tuesday 3 August 1976

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a series of six bomb attacks on Portrush, County Antrim.

Monday 3 August 1981

 Liam McCloskey, then an Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoner, joined the hunger strike.

Sunday 3 August 1997

Nationalist residents of Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, protested against a Royal Black Preceptory march in the village.

The parade was escorted by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in riot gear. Six people were injured in disturbances.

The Claudy Bombing

The 25th anniversary of the bombing of Claudy, County Derry was marked in the village when approximately 1,500 people attended an open air service

See Claudy Bombing

Although no group claimed responsibility for the explosions it was widely believed that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had planted the three car bombs in the village which resulted in the deaths of nine people. Inadequate warnings were given about the bombs.

Monday 3 August 1998

In the first break-through of its kind, Nationalists and Loyalists in Derry reached an agreement over the Apprentice Boys march in the city planned for 8 August 1999.

The agreement came after three days of shuttle (indirect) negotiations between the parties. [However, there were some minor disturbances following the march.]

Tuesday 3 August 1999

Security sources confirmed that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was considered responsible for the death of Charles Bennett on 30 July 1999.

Republican sources claimed he was killed to pacify hardliners over decommissioning and the lack of political progress.

Friday 3 August 2001

The Ardchomhairle of Sinn Féin held a meeting to consider the party’s response to the British and Irish governments’ Implementation Plan. The meeting took place in County Louth, Republic of Ireland.

The Ardchomhairle is comprised of 41 members, including Gerry Adams, then President of SF, Mitchel McLaughlin, then Chairman, Pat Doherty, then Vice-President, and Martin McGuinness.

Sinn Féin rejected Monday’s deadline and said that the party needed to see the detail and guarantees on policing reform and demilitarisation.

In the days following the meeting SF said it needed to see more detail on policing, demilitarisation and criminal justice before it could support the package.

 3rd August   2010

Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for detonating a 200 lb car bomb outside Strand Road PSNI station in Derry.

——————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

10  People lost their lives on the 3rd of August between 1972  – 1992

————————————————————–

03 August 1972

William Clark,   (34) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed attempting to defuse bomb discovered by side of road, Urney, near Clady, County Tyrone.

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03 August 1972

Robert McCrudden,   (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during gun battle, Hooker Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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03 August 1973
James Farrell,  (50) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot, during armed robbery, while delivering wages to British Leyland factory, Cashel Road, Crumlin, Dublin.

————————————————————–

 03 August 1974

Martin Skillen, (21)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot from British Army (BA) undercover observation post in Clonard cinema building, Falls Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

 03 August 1974
Charles McKnight,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb when he entered the cab of his employer’s lorry, parked outside house, Ballycraigy, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

————————————————————–

 03 August 1976
Alan Watkins,   (20) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Dungiven, County Derry.

————————————————————–

03 August 1979
Whilliam Whitten  (65)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died six weeks after being injured in bomb attack on Marine Hotel, Ballycastle, County Antrim. He was wounded on 19 June 1979. Inadequate warning given.

————————————————————–

 03 August 1980
William Clarke, (59)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while travelling in his car along laneway, Gortnessy, near Pettigoe, County Donegal.

————————————————————–

 03 August 1988

Raymond McNicholl,  (30)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot by sniper, while driving his car to work, Desertcreat Road, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

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03 August 1992
Damian Shackleton,   (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Duncairn Avenue, New Lodge, Belfast.

————————————————————–

2nd August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

2nd August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

 

Monday 2 August 1976

Cornelius Neeson (49), a Catholic civilian, was killed with an axe as he walked home along the Cliftonville Road, Belfast. Members of he Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang known as the ‘Shankill Butchers’ were responsible for the killing.

See Shankilll Butchers Documentary

2 August 1978

Roy Mason, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that a sports car factory would be built in West Belfast and would mean 2,000 new jobs. The new factory was seen as a breakthrough in securing American investment in Northern Ireland.

 

However the DeLorean factory required a British investment of £56 million out of a total of £65 million. At the time a number of commentators expressed reservations about the potential success of the venture and indeed the business did fail with the loss of substantial public funds.

Thursday 2 August 1979

Two British soldiers were killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in a landmine attack at Cathedral Road, Armagh.

These deaths brought the total number of British Army soldiers killed in Northern Ireland since 1969 to 301.

A Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer was shot dead by the IRA in Belfast.

Sunday 2 August 1981

Eighth Hunger Striker Died

Kieran Doherty (25) died after 73 days on hunger strike. Doherty was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and had been elected as a Teachta Dáil (TD) during the general election in the Republic of Ireland on 11 June 1981.

   

John Smyth & Andrew Wood

Two Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed in a landmine attack carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Loughmacrory, near Omagh, County Tyrone.

Sunday 2 August 1992

Two bombs, each estimated at 200 pounds, exploded in Bedford Street, Belfast. Extensive damage was done to buildings in the area.

Hugh Annesley, Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), issued a statement on the Channel 4 programme entitled ‘The Committee’ broadcast on 2 October 1991. Annesley stated that there was no truth to the allegations.

Tuesday 2 August 1994

According to a report in the Irish Press (a Dublin based newspaper) on 8 August 1994 a meeting took place on 2 August between representatives of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and those of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

At that meeting it was decided that Loyalist paramilitaries would continue with their campaigns of attacking Catholics irrespective of any future Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire.

Friday 2 August 1996

U.V.F Logo

In a statement the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) announced that the Portadown unit of the Mid-Ulster Brigade was to disband. The statement also said that activities of the Portadown unit would be investigated.

Sinn Féin (SF) denied organising boycotts of Protestant businesses in rural areas of Northern Ireland.

Since the stand-off at Drumcree some nationalists had been boycotting Protestant businesses in Armagh, Castlederg, Lisnaskea, Omagh and Pomery.

Nationalists claimed that the business people had taken part in Orange roadblocks during the stand-off.

Thursday 2 August 2001

Amateur footage of the explosion

Bomb Explosion in London

Republican paramilitaries carried out a car bomb attack in the Ealing area of London. The explosion occurred just before midnight and caused six injuries and some damage to property. A telephone warning was received at 11.33pm (2333BST) but the area was still being cleared when the explosion happened.

The bomb (estimated at 40 kilograms of home-made explosives) was thought to have been planted by the “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA).

Police in London criticised the warning as being imprecise as to the location; the warning referred to ‘Ealing Broadway Road’ instead of ‘The Broadway, Ealing’ .

 

Edward_Daly_Bloody_Sunday

Former soldiers who were involved in the shootings in Derry on ‘Bloody Sunday’, 30 January 1972, announced that they would seek a judical review of a ruling by the Inquiry that they must give their evidence in Derry rather than in Britain.

The soldiers had won an earlier ruling allowing them to retain anonymity when giving evidence.

See Bloody Sunday

—————————-

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

11 People lost their lives on the 2nd August  between 1975 – 1988

——————————-

02 August 1975

George McCall, (22)

Protestant

Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Shot while walking near his home, Moy, County Tyrone.

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02 August 1976

Cornelius Neeson,  (49)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Died a short time after being found badly beaten, at the junction of Manor Street and Cliftonville Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

02 August 1978

John Lamont, (21)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Shot from passing car, while on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol, George Street, Ballymena, County Antrim.

————————————————————–

02 August 1979

Paul Reece, Paul (18) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Cathedral Road, Armagh.

————————————————————–

02 August 1979

Richard Furminger , (19) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Cathedral Road, Armagh.

————————————————————–

02 August 1979

Derek Davidson, (26)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Shot by sniper when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol lured to scene of bogus robbery, Clondara Street, Falls, Belfast.

————————————————————–

02 August 1981

Kieran Dohert (25)

Catholic

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: not known (nk)

Also Teachta Dala. Died on the 73rd day of hunger strike, Long Kesh / Maze Prison, County Down.

————————————————————–

02 August 1981

John Smyth , (34)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in land mine attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Loughmacrory, near Omagh, County Tyrone.

————————————————————–

02 August 1981

Andrew Wood, (50)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in land mine attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Loughmacrory, near Omagh, County Tyrone

————————————————————–

02 August 1988

John Warnock, (45)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed by booby trap bomb attached to his car outside Lisburn Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base, County Antrim.

————————————————————–

02 August 1988

  Roy  Butler (29)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Off duty. Shot while in Park Shopping Centre, Donegall Road, Belfast.

The Claudy Bombing – IRA Priest Murders 9 Innocent People With Bomb In Claudy

The Claudy Bombing

The Claudy bombing occurred on 31 July 1972, when three car bombs exploded mid-morning on the Main Street of Claudy in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The attack killed nine civilians, and became known as “Bloody Monday”.[1] Those who planted the bombs had attempted to send a warning before the explosions took place. The warning was delayed, however, because the telephones were out of order due to an earlier bomb attack.[2] The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued an immediate denial of responsibility,[2][3] and later claimed that “an internal court of inquiry” had found that its local unit did not carry out the attack.[4]

claudy news paper headline

Claudy Bomb IRA Victims

On 24 August 2010, following an eight-year investigation, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland published a report into the bombing, which stated that the Royal Ulster Constabulary believed in the early 1970s that Father James Chesney, a local Roman Catholic priest, was the IRA’s quartermaster and Director of Operations of the South Derry Brigade.[5] The report found that the possibility of his involvement in activities including the Claudy bombing was covered up by senior police officers, government ministers and the Roman Catholic hierarchy.[6]

On the 40th anniversary of the bombing, former Provisional IRA leader Martin McGuinness described the events of that day as “appalling and indefensible” and “inflicted on totally innocent people”[7]

On 31 July 1972 at about 4:00 am,[8] the British Army had begun Operation Motorman. This was an operation to regain control of the “no-go areas” (areas controlled by Irish republican paramilitaries) that had been established in Belfast[9] and Derry. The bombing of Claudy may have been a response to this operation.[2]

Shortly before 10:00 am, three car bombs were placed in the centre of the village, which was busy with shoppers at the time. Initial police investigations found that a car was seen travelling from Claudy at 10:00. It had stopped at the nearby village of Feeny, where a passenger tried to use the public telephone box, which was out-of-order. The car then travelled to Dungiven where it stopped on the Main Street. Two men got out and went into separate shops to use the telephones, which were also out of order following a bomb attack at the local telephone exchange. The men then asked the shop assistants to tell the police at Dungiven that there were three bombs in Claudy, but by this time the first bomb had already detonated.[10]

The first bomb, hidden inside a stolen Ford Cortina, exploded at 10:15 outside McElhinney’s bar and store on Main Street.[10] Six people were killed by this bomb; among the dead were an eight-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy.[11] A second bomb, hidden inside a stolen Morris Mini Van parked outside the post office on Main Street,[10] was spotted by a police officer, who then began directing people away from the area towards Church Street. At 10:30, a bomb hidden inside a stolen Mini Van detonated outside the Beaufort Hotel on Church Street.[10] The bomb outside the post office exploded almost simultaneously, killing three people, including a 16-year-old boy injured in the first blast.[11]

Victims

Elizabeth McElhinney

Elizabeth was serving petrol at a pump outside McElhinney’s pub on Main Street when the first car bomb exploded nearby.

The 59-year-old nurse was killed instantly.

————————————————————————————

Joseph McCloskey

Joseph McCluskey

Joseph, 39, was also killed instantly in the first explosion.

A father of seven, he had taken his four-year-old son into the village to buy a newspaper.

His son survived the explosion

————————————————————————————

Kathryn Eakin

Kathryn Eakin

Eight-year-old Kathryn was cleaning the windows of her family’s shop when the first bomb went off. She died instantly.

Her mother, Merle, saw a bomber leave what would be the second bomb beside their shop, not knowing what horror it would bring to her family.

“When he stepped out of that car, he saw Kathryn standing at that window,” she said.

“He should have shouted at her. But he didn’t, he just walked away.”

————————————————————————————

Rose McLaughlin

Rose McLaughlin

Rose was injured in the first explosion. The 52-year-old mother of eight died three days later on 3 August.

She owned a shop on Main Street and was hit by shrapnel while talking to a customer.

————————————————————————————

Joseph  ( Patrick ) Connolly

Fifteen-year-old Patrick, who was in Rose McLaughlin’s shop, was injured by flying metal from the first explosion.

He was flown to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, but died eight days later on 8 August.

————————————————————————————

Arthur Hone

Arthur Hone

Arthur was the final person to die as a result of the first bomb. The 38-year-old father of two died from his injuries on 13 August.

A keen musician who worked in Londonderry, he had stayed at home that day.

He was hit by shrapnel as he stood in Elizabeth McElhinney’s shop.

————————————————————————————

David Miller

David Miller

David died when the third bomb outside the Beaufort Hotel exploded. He was 60-years-old.

He had helped the injured after the first explosion, but when the second device was discovered by police he, along with many others, was directed into the path of the third explosion.

————————————————————————————

James McClelland

Sixty-five-year-old James was also instantly killed as the third bomb exploded. He too had been helping the injured aftert he first explosion

————————————————————————————

William Temple

William Temple

William, 16, had travelled to Claudy from Donemana in County Tyrone. He was a milkman’s helper and his round included the village.

He had been injured by the first explosion, but was killed instantly in the third.

————————————————————————————

Investigations

RUC investigation

The Derry Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army denied involvement at the time of the attack.[2] Derry politician Ivan Cooper (of the Social Democratic and Labour Party), however, claimed in 2002 that the IRA and Father James Chesney (a Catholic priest from the nearby parish of Desertmartin) were involved in the attack. Cooper stated:

Within a couple of days, a man lurked like a scared rabbit outside one of my constituency offices. He told me the IRA was behind the bomb and I had every reason to believe him. He gave no names and I asked no names. That is the way it was then. It was dangerous to know too much. But several months later, I became aware of the identities and I have absolutely no doubt that Father Jim Chesney was involved.[2]

The type and colour of car used by those who gave the bomb warning were rare in Northern Ireland at that time. In the first week of August 1972, the RUC arrested a suspect (called “Man A”) who owned a similar car. He provided an alibi, however, that he had been at Chesney’s home in Bellaghy at the time. Chesney and another person corroborated the man’s alibi and he was released after being questioned. According to the Ombudsman’s report, when Chesney was stopped at a police checkpoint in September 1972, a sniffer dog found traces of explosives in his car. The police officers involved in the original police investigation suspected the following:

  • that the alibi had been prepared beforehand;
  • that “Man A” was an IRA member and had played a key role in the bombing; and
  • that Chesney was the quartermaster and “director of operations” for the South Derry IRA and had also been involved in the bombing.

In October 1972, police intelligence alleged that Chesney had formed an “independent group of the IRA”.

Some time after the bombing, Chesney was questioned by the then Bishop of Derry Neil Farren, and later again by Farren’s successor Bishop Edward Daly. At both times, Chesney denied any involvement. Chesney served in the parish of Cullion from July 1972 until November 1972. He was then hospitalised and spent a period of recovery in County Donegal. In December 1973, he was transferred to the parish of Convoy in County Donegal. Although he often crossed the border into Northern Ireland, he was never arrested and never faced a police interview.

A 2004 loyalist mural on Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast making reference to the bombing. It shows a priest wearing a balaclava and holding a bomb.

[12]

PSNI investigation

No person was arrested for the bombings at the time, but following calls for a new inquiry, a fresh investigation was started by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in 2002. As part of the investigation, the police uncovered documents showing that the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Willie Whitelaw discussed Chesney’s involvement with Cardinal William Conway. The actions of two other Catholic priests, Patrick Fell and John Burns, were also examined.[13]

On 30 November 2005, the PSNI detained four people in connection with the bombing.[14] They were, however, released without charge the next day and denied involvement.[15] Among those arrested was the then Sinn Féin MLA Francie Brolly,[16] who subsequently secured an out-of-court settlement in a legal action against the police.

Police Ombudsman report

On 24 August 2010, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland published a report into the bombing which concluded that the British government and the Roman Catholic Church had conspired to cover up Chesney’s alleged involvement.[17] The report stated:

The arrest of a priest in connection with such an emotive atrocity at a time when sectarian killings in Northern Ireland were out of control and the province stood on the brink of civil war was feared, by senior politicians, as likely to destabilise the security situation even further. A deal was therefore arranged behind closed doors to remove Fr Chesney from the province without provoking sectarian fury.[17]

According to the report by Al Hutchinson, the Police Ombudsman,

The RUC’s decision to ask the government to resolve the matter with the Church and then accept the outcome, was wrong. The decision failed those who were murdered, injured and bereaved in the bombing. The police officers who were working on the investigation were also undermined. I accept that 1972 was one of the worst years of the Troubles and that the arrest of a priest might well have aggravated the security situation. Equally, I consider that the police failure to investigate someone they suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism could, in itself, have had serious consequences.[18]

The report found the following:

  • Detectives believed Father Chesney was the IRA’s director of operations in southern County Londonderry and was a prime suspect in the Claudy attack and other paramilitary incidents.[18]
  • A detective’s request to arrest Chesney was refused by an Assistant Chief Constable of RUC Special Branch who instead said that “matters are in hand”.[18]
  • The same senior officer wrote to the government about what action could be taken to “render harmless a dangerous priest” and asked if the matter could be raised with the Church’s hierarchy.[18]
  • In December 1972, William Whitelaw met the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal William Conway, to discuss the issue. According to a Northern Ireland Office official, “the Cardinal said he knew the priest was ‘a very bad man’ and would see what could be done”. The church leader mentioned “the possibility of transferring him to Donegal”. In response to this memo, RUC Chief Constable Sir Graham Shillington noted: “I would prefer transfer to Tipperary.”[18]
  • An entry in Cardinal Conway’s diary on 4 December 1972 confirmed that a meeting with Whitelaw had taken place and stated that there had been “a rather disturbing tete-a-tete at the end about C”.[18]
  • In another diary entry two months later, the Cardinal noted that he had discussed the issue with Father Chesney’s superior and that the superior “had given him orders to stay where he was, on sick leave, until further notice”.[18]

Whitelaw died in 1999, Cardinal Conway in 1977, Sir Graham in 2001 and Father Chesney (aged 46) in 1980.[18]

Memorial

Claudy bombing memorial statue by Elizabeth McLaughlin

A memorial to those killed and injured by the bombing was erected on Claudy’s Main Street in 2000, consisting of a bronze figure of a kneeling girl, created by sculptor Elizabeth McLaughlin, mounted on a stone plinth. A number of plaques commemorating the victims are affixed to the wall enclosing the statue.[19] The statue was damaged on 20 October 2006 when vandals knocked it from the plinth.[20

Robert Nairac – Undercover Soldier & Hero His Capture & Death

Robert Nairac
Robert Nairac.jpg
Robert Nairac
Robert Nairac in his Grenadier Guards uniform
Born (1948-08-31)31 August 1948
Mauritius
Died 15 May 1977(1977-05-15) (aged 28)
Republic of Ireland
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svgBritish Army
Years of service 1972 – 1977
Rank Captain
Unit Grenadier Guards
Battles/wars Operation Banner
Awards George Cross

The views and opinions expressed in this page and  documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

BBC Panorama – Bandit Country, South Armagh

Captain Robert Laurence Nairac

31 August 1948 –15 May 1977

Captain Robert Laurence Nairac GC (31 August 1948 –15 May 1977) was a British Army officer who was abducted from a pub in Dromintee, south County Armagh, during an undercover operation and killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on his fourth tour of duty in Northern Ireland as a Military Intelligence Liaison Officer. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1979.

A number of claims have been made about both Nairac’s involvement in the killing of an IRA member and his collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, although he was never charged.[1]

Whilst several men have been imprisoned for his death, the whereabouts of his body remains unknown.

Background

Nairac was born in Mauritius to English parents. His family – long settled in Gloucestershire – had ancestors from the south of Ireland.[2] His family name originates from the Gironde area of France. His father was an eye surgeon who worked first in the north of England and then in Gloucester. He was the youngest of four children, with two sisters and a brother.[3]

Nairac, aged 10, attended prep school at Gilling Castle, a feeder school for the Roman Catholic public school Ampleforth College which he attended a year later. He gained nine O levels and three A levels, was head of his house and played rugby for the school. He became friends with the sons of Lord Killanin and went to stay with the family in Dublin and Spiddal in County Galway.[4]

He read medieval and military history at Lincoln College, Oxford, and excelled in sport; he played for the Oxford rugby 2nd XV and revived the Oxford boxing club where he won four blues in bouts with Cambridge. He was also a falconer, keeping a bird in his room which was used in the film Kes.[5

]

He left Oxford in 1971 to enter Royal Military Academy Sandhurst under the sponsorship of the Grenadier Guards and was commissioned with them upon graduation.[6][7][8] After Sandhurst he undertook post-graduate studies at the University of Dublin, before joining his regiment.[9]

Nairac has been described by former army colleagues as “a committed Roman Catholic”[10] and as having “a strong Catholic belief”.[11]

Military career in Northern Ireland

Nairac’s first tour of duty in Northern Ireland was with No.1 Company, the Second Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. The Battalion was stationed in Belfast from 5 July 1973 to 31 October 1973. The Grenadiers were given responsibility first for the Protestant Shankill Road area and then the predominantly Catholic Ardoyne area. This was a time of high tension and regular contacts with paramilitaries. Ostensibly, the battalion’s two main objectives were to search for weapons and to find paramilitaries. Nairac was frequently involved in such activity on the streets of Belfast. He was also a volunteer in community relations activities in the Ardoyne sports club. The battalion’s tour was adjudged a success with 58 weapons, 9,000 rounds of ammunition and 693 lbs of explosive taken and 104 men jailed.

The battalion took no casualties and had no occasion to shoot anyone. After his tour had ended he stayed on as liaison officer for the replacement battalion, the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The new battalion suffered a baptism of fire with Nairac narrowly avoiding death on their first patrol when a car bomb exploded on the Crumlin Road.[12]

Rather than returning to his battalion, which was due for rotation to Hong Kong, Nairac volunteered for military intelligence duties in Northern Ireland. Following completion of several training courses, he returned to Northern Ireland in 1974 attached to 4 Field Survey Troop, Royal Engineers, one of the three sub-units of a Special Duties unit known as 14 Intelligence Company (14 Int). Posted to South County Armagh, 4 Field Survey Troop was given the task of performing surveillance duties. Nairac was the liaison officer among the unit, the local British Army brigade, and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.[13]

He also took on duties which were outside his official jurisdiction as a liaison officer – working undercover, for example. He apparently claimed to have visited pubs in republican strongholds and sung Irish rebel songs and acquired the nickname “Danny Boy”. He was often driven to pubs by former Conservative[14] MP Patrick Mercer, who was then an Army officer.[15] Former SAS Warrant Officer Ken Connor, who was involved in the creation of 14 Int, wrote of him in his book, Ghost Force, p. 263:

Had he been an SAS member, he would not have been allowed to operate in the way he did. Before his death we had been very concerned at the lack of checks on his activities. No one seemed to know who his boss was, and he appeared to have been allowed to get out of control, deciding himself what tasks he would do.

Nairac finished his tour with 14th Int in mid-1975 and returned to his regiment in London. Nairac was promoted to captain on 4 September 1975.[16] Following a rise in violence culminating in the Kingsmill massacre, British Army troop levels were increased and Nairac accepted a post again as a liaison officer back in Northern Ireland.

Nairac on his fourth tour was a liaison officer to the units based at Bessbrook Mill. It was during this time that he was abducted and killed.

Shot by the Provisional IRA

On the evening of 14 May 1977, Nairac arrived at The Three Steps pub in Dromintee, South Armagh, by car, alone. He is said to have told regulars of the pub that his name was Danny McErlaine, a motor mechanic and member of the Official IRA from the republican Ardoyne area in north Belfast. The real McErlaine, on the run since 1974, was killed by the Provisional IRA in June 1978 after stealing arms from the organisation.[17]

Witnesses say that Nairac got up and sang a republican folk songThe Broad Black Brimmer” with the band who were playing that night. At around 11.45 p.m., he was abducted following a struggle in the pub’s car park and taken across the border into the Republic of Ireland to a field in the Ravensdale Woods in County Louth. Following a violent interrogation during which Nairac was allegedly punched, kicked, pistol-whipped and hit with a wooden post, he was shot dead.[18]

He did not admit to his true identity. Terry McCormick, one of Nairac’s abductors, posed as a priest in order to try to elicit information by way of Nairac’s confession. Nairac’s last words according to McCormick were: ‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned’.[19]

His disappearance sparked a huge search effort throughout Ireland. The hunt in Northern Ireland was led by Major H. Jones, who as a colonel in the Parachute Regiment was to be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross in the Falklands War. Jones was Brigade Major at HQ 3rd Infantry Brigade. Nairac and Jones had become friends and would sometimes go to the Jones household for supper. After a four-day search, the Garda Síochána confirmed to the Royal Ulster Constabulary that they had reliable evidence of Nairac’s killing.[20]

An edition of Spotlight broadcast on 19 June 2007, claimed that his body was not destroyed in a meat grinder, as alleged by an unnamed IRA source.[21] McCormick, who has been on the run in the United States for thirty years because of his involvement in the killing (including being the first to attack Nairac in the car park), was told by a senior IRA commander that it was buried on farmland, unearthed by animals, and reburied elsewhere. The location of the body’s resting place remains a mystery.[22] Nairac is one of nine IRA victims, whose graves have never been revealed and who are collectively known as ‘The Disappeared’. The cases are under review by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains.

In May 2000 allegations were made claiming that Nairac had married, and fathered a child with a woman named Nel Lister, also known as Oonagh Flynn or Oonagh Lister. In 2001, her son sought DNA testing himself and revealed the allegations to be a hoax.[23][24]

Criminal prosecutions

In November 1977, Liam Townson, a 24-year-old IRA member from the village of Meigh outside Newry, was convicted of Nairac’s murder. Townson was the son of an Englishman who had married a County Meath woman. He confessed to killing Nairac and implicated other members of the unit involved. Townson made two admissible confessions to Garda officers. The first was made around the time of his arrest, it started with

“I shot the British captain. He never told us anything. He was a great soldier.”

The second statement was made at Dundalk police station after Townson had consulted a solicitor. He had become hysterical and distressed and screamed a confession to the officer in charge of the investigation.[25]

Townson was convicted in Dublin’s Special Criminal Court of Nairac’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 13 years in prison and was released in 1990. He was part of Conor Murphy‘s 1998 election campaign team and as of 2000 he was living in St. Moninna Park, in Meigh.[26]

In 1978, the RUC arrested five men from the South Armagh area. Three of them – Gerard Fearon, 21, Thomas Morgan, 18, and Daniel O’Rourke, 33 -were charged with Nairac’s murder. Michael McCoy, 20, was charged with kidnapping, and Owen Rocks, 22, was accused of withholding information. Fearon and Morgan were convicted of Nairac’s murder. O’Rourke was acquitted but found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for ten years. McCoy was jailed for five years and Rocks for two. Morgan died in a road accident in 1987, a year after his release. O’Rourke became a prominent Sinn Féin member in Drumintee.

Two other men, Terry McCormick and Pat Maguire, wanted in connection with this incident remain on the run.[27] Maguire has been reported as living in New Jersey in the US.[28]

————————

Man charged with murder of undercover British Army officer in 1977

A man has been charged with the murder of Robert Nairac, an undercover British Army officer, in Northern Ireland more than 30 years ago

Kevin Crilly: Man charged with murder of undercover British Army officer in 1977

Crilly was interviewed by detectives in the weeks after the incident but left for the United States before officers could arrest him on suspicion of murder Photo: PA

Kevin Crilly, 59, from Lower Foughill Road, Jonesborough, Co Armagh, is already facing charges of kidnapping and falsely imprisoning the 29-year-old Grenadier Guardsman near the Irish border in 1977.

The captain, originally from Gloucestershire, was interrogated, tortured and then shot dead by the IRA after being snatched from a pub car park near Jonesborough and driven to a field at Ravensdale, Co Louth. His body has never been found.

Prosecutors laid the murder charge before Crilly as he appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court for a routine bail hearing on the two lesser counts, with which he was charged last year.

District Judge Austin Kennedy granted Crilly bail; however, he ordered him to remain in custody after Crown lawyers indicated that they may seek to appeal against the decision in the High Court in Belfast.

In the years after Capt Nairac’s disappearance, three men were convicted of his murder, but police have always said they were looking for more suspects.

Crilly was interviewed by detectives in the weeks after the incident but left for the United States before officers could arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Judge Kennedy was told today that the suspect had remained in the US for almost 30 years.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Barry Graham said that, when he returned, he took another name, explaining that Crilly was adopted as a child and had assumed his birth name of Declan Parr.

“The only reason he returned to Northern Ireland was because he was in a long-term relationship in America and that relationship had broken down,” he said.

The officer told the judge that he could connect Crilly with the murder charge and the two other counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Crilly, dressed in a black leather jacket, white check shirt and blue jeans, spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the charges that he was facing.

His defence team objected that the prosecution had given them no prior warning that the murder charge would be put to their client or that they would be objecting to his bail.

Noting that Crilly had complied with all bail requirements since his original arrest 18 months ago and pointing out that, at that point, the defendant was aware that the Public Prosecution Service was examining whether there were grounds for charging him with murder, Judge Kennedy rejected the prosecution objection to bail.

The magistrate said any appeal against his decision would have to be lodged within two hours. He ordered that Crilly was held in the cells until the PPS signalled its intentions.

————————

On 20 May 2008, 57-year-old IRA veteran Kevin Crilly of Jonesborough, County Armagh, was arrested at his home by officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). He had been on the run in the United States but had returned to Northern Ireland under an alias after the 1998 Belfast Agreement. He was charged the following day with the kidnapping and false imprisonment of Nairac.[29] In November 2009, Crilly was also charged with the murder of Robert Nairac at Newry magistrates’ court during a bail hearing on the two counts on which he had been charged in 2008.[30] Crilly was cleared on all counts in April 2011 as the Judge considered that the prosecution failed to prove intention or prior knowledge on the part of Crilly.[31]

Nairac’s killing is one of those under investigation by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET).[32]

George Cross award

On 13 February 1979 Nairac was posthumously awarded the George Cross.

Captain Nairac’s posthumous George Cross citation reads, in part:[33]

[…]On his fourth tour Captain Nairac was a Liaison Officer at Headquarters 3 Infantry Brigade. His task was connected with surveillance operations.

On the night of 14/15 May 1977 Captain Nairac was abducted from a village in South Armagh by at least seven men. Despite his fierce resistance he was overpowered and taken across the border into the nearby Republic of Ireland where he was subjected to a succession of exceptionally savage assaults in an attempt to extract information which would have put other lives and future operations at serious risk. These efforts to break Captain Nairac’s will failed entirely. Weakened as he was in strength – though not in spirit – by the brutality, he yet made repeated and spirited attempts to escape, but on each occasion was eventually overpowered by the weight of the numbers against him. After several hours in the hands of his captors Captain Nairac was callously murdered by a gunman of the Provisional Irish Republican Army who had been summoned to the scene. His assassin subsequently said ‘He never told us anything’.

Captain Nairac’s exceptional courage and acts of the greatest heroism in circumstances of extreme peril showed devotion to duty and personal courage second to none.

Collusion allegations

Claims have been made abouts Nairac’s involvement in the killing of an IRA member in the Republic of Ireland and his relationship with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries.

Hidden Hand documentary

Dublin Monaghan Bombings 1974 – First Tuesday -1993

Allegations were made concerning Nairac in a 1993 Yorkshire Television documentary about the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1974 entitled Hidden Hand. The narrator of Hidden Hand states:

We have evidence from police, military and loyalist sources which confirms the links between Nairac and the Portadown loyalist paramilitaries. And also that in May 1974, he was meeting with these paramilitaries, supplying them with arms and helping them plan acts of terrorism against republican targets. In particular, the three prime Dublin suspects, Robert McConnell, Harris Boyle and the man called ‘The Jackal’ (Robin Jackson, Ulster Volunteer Force [UVF] member from Lurgan), were run before and after the Dublin bombings by Captain Nairac.

According to the documentary, support for this allegation was said to have come from various sources:

They include officers from RUC Special Branch, CID and Special Patrol Group; officers from the Gardaí Special Branch; and key senior loyalists who were in charge of the County Armagh paramilitaries of the day….

Holroyd

It was alleged by a former Secret Intelligence Service operative, Captain Fred Holroyd, that Nairac admitted involvement in the assassination of IRA member John Francis Green on 10 January 1975 to him. Holroyd claimed in a New Statesman article written by Duncan Campbell that Nairac had boasted about Green’s death and showed him a colour Polaroid photograph of Green’s corpse taken directly after his assassination.[34]

These claims were given prominence when, in 1987, Ken Livingstone MP told the House of Commons that Nairac was quite likely to have been the person who organised the killing of three Miami Showband musicians.[35]

The Barron Report stated that:

The evidence before the Inquiry that the polaroid photograph allegedly taken by the killers after the murder was actually taken by a Garda officer on the following morning seriously undermines the evidence that Nairac himself had been involved in the shooting.

Holroyd’s evidence was also questioned by Barron in the following terms:

The picture derived from this is of a man increasingly frustrated with the failure of the British Authorities to take his claims seriously; who saw the threat to reveal a crossborder SAS assassination as perhaps his only remaining weapon in the fight to secure a proper review of his own case. His allegations concerning Nairac must be read with that in mind.[36]

Barron report

Nairac was mentioned in Justice Henry’ Barron’s inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings when it examined the claims made by the Hidden Hand documentary, Holroyd and Colin Wallace

Former RUC Special Patrol Group member John Weir, who was also a UVF member, claimed he had received information from an informant that Nairac was involved in the killing of Green:[37]

The men who did that shooting were Robert McConnell, Robin Jackson and I would be almost certain, Harris Boyle who was killed in the Miami attack. What I am absolutely certain of is that Robert McConnell, Robert McConnell knew that area really, really well. Robin Jackson was with him. I was later told that Nairac was with them. I was told by… a UVF man, he was very close to Jackson and operated with him. Jackson told [him] that Nairac was with them.

In addition, “Surviving Miami Showband members Steve Travers and Des McAlee testified in court that an Army officer with a crisp English accent oversaw the Miami attack” (see Miami Showband killings), the implication being that this was Nairac.[38] Fred Holroyd and John Weir also linked Nairac to the Green and Miami Showband killings. Martin Dillon, however, in his book The Dirty War maintained that Nairac was not involved in either attack.[39]

Colin Wallace, in describing Nairac as a Military Intelligence Liaison Officer (MILO) said “his duties did not involve agent handling”. Nevertheless, Nairac “seems to have had close links with the Mid-Ulster UVF, including Robin Jackson and Harris Boyle”. According to Wallace, “he could not have carried out this open association without official approval, because otherwise he would have been transferred immediately from Northern Ireland” [40] Wallace wrote in 1975; Nairac was on his fourth tour of duty in 1977.

Robin Jackson was implicated in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974, and Harris Boyle was blown up by his own bomb during the Miami Showband massacre.

The Barron Inquiry found a chain of ballistic history linking weapons and killings under the control of a group of UVF and security force members, including RUC Special Patrol Group members John Weir and Billy McCaughey, that is connected to those alleged to have carried out the bombings. This group was known as the “Glenanne gang“. Incidents they were responsible for “included, in 1975, three murders at Donnelly’s bar in Silverbridge, the murders of two men at a fake Ulster Defence Regiment checkpoint, the murder of IRA man John Francis Green in the Republic, the murders of members of the Miami showband and the murder of Dorothy Trainor in Portadown in 1976, they included the murders of three members of the Reavey family, and the attack on the Rock Bar in Tassagh.”[41] According to Weir, members of the gang began to suspect that Nairac was playing republican and loyalist paramilitaries off against each other, by feeding them information about murders carried out by the “other side” with the intention of “provoking revenge attacks”.[42]

The Pat Finucane Centre stated when investigating allegations of collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, that although Nairac has been linked to many attacks, “caution has to be taken when dealing with Nairac as attacks are sometimes attributed to him purely because of his reputation”.[43]

See Forkhil – Bandit Country

See The Disappeared

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Ulster Defence Association ( U.D.A )

The views and opinions expressed in this page and  documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

Ulster Defence Association ( U.D.A )

Men of the UDA

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) is the largest[5][6] Ulster loyalist paramilitary and vigilante[7] group in Northern Ireland. It was formed in September 1971 and undertook a campaign of almost twenty-four years during The Troubles. Within the UDA was a group tasked with launching paramilitary attacks; it used the covername Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) so that the UDA would not be outlawed. The United Kingdom outlawed the “UFF” in November 1973, but the UDA itself was not classified as a terrorist group until 10 August 1992.[8] The UDA/UFF is also classified as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department.[9]

The UDA were responsible for Approximately 260 deaths during The Troubles.

There are a further 250 loyalist killings where it is not yet certain which group was responsible

Loyalists in Northern Ireland – Full Documentary

The UDA’s/UFF’s declared goal was to defend Ulster Protestant loyalist areas[10] and to combat Irish republicanism, particularly the Provisional IRA. However, most of its victims were unarmed civilians.[11] The majority of them were Irish Catholics,[12][13] killed in what the group called retaliation for IRA actions or attacks on Protestants.[14][15] High-profile attacks carried out by the group include the Milltown massacre, the Sean Graham bookmakers’ shooting, the Castlerock killings and the Greysteel massacre. The vast majority of its attacks were in Northern Ireland, but from 1972 onward it also carried out bombings in the Republic of Ireland. The UDA/UFF declared a ceasefire in 1994, although sporadic attacks continued until it officially ended its armed campaign in November 2007.[16]

The Very British Terrorists – Full

The UDA were often referred to by their Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) rivals as the “Wombles”,[17] derived from the furry fictional creatures, The Wombles, or “Japs”,[18] owing to their mass rallies and marches in combat clothing. Its motto is Quis Separabit, Latin for “Who will separate [us]?”.

History

Beginning

The Ulster Defence Association emerged from a series of meetings during the summer of 1971 of loyalistvigilante” groups called “defence associations”.[19] The largest of these were the Shankill and Woodvale Defence Associations,[20] with other groups based in East Belfast, the Hammer and Roden Street.[21] The first meeting was chaired by Billy Hull, with Alan Moon as its vice-chair. Moon was quickly replaced by Jim Anderson and had left the organisation by the time of its formal launch in September.[22]

By this point, Charles Harding Smith had become the group’s leader, with former British soldier Davy Fogel as his second-in-command, who trained the new recruits in military tactics, the use of guns, and unarmed combat. Its most prominent early spokesperson was Tommy Herron,[19] however Andy Tyrie would emerge as leader soon after.[23] Its original motto was Cedenta Arma Togae (“Law before violence”) and it was a legal organisation until it was banned by the British Government on 10 August 1992.[19]

UDA members marching through Belfast city centre in a massive show of strength, summer 1972

At its peak of strength it held around forty thousand members, mostly part-time.[24][25] During this period of legality, the UDA committed a large number of attacks using the name Ulster Freedom Fighters,[26][27] including the assassination of Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) politician Paddy Wilson in 1973.[28] The UDA was involved in the successful Ulster Workers Council Strike in 1974, which brought down the Sunningdale Agreement—an agreement which some unionists thought conceded too much to nationalist demands. The UDA enforced this general strike through widespread intimidation across Northern Ireland. The strike was led by VUPP Assemblyman and UDA member, Glenn Barr.[29]

The UDA were often referred to as “Wombles” by their rivals, mainly the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The name is derived from the furry fictional creatures The Wombles, and was given to the UDA because many of its members wore fur-trimmed parkas.[17] Its headquarters is in Gawn Street, off the Newtownards Road in east Belfast,[30] and its current motto is Quis Separabit, which is Latin for “Who will separate us?”

Women’s units

The UDA had several women’s units, which acted independent of each other.[31][32] Although they occasionally helped man roadblocks, the women’s units were typically involved in local community work and responsible for the assembly and delivery of food parcels to UDA prisoners. This was a source of pride for the UDA.[33] The first women’s unit was founded on the Shankill Road by Wendy “Bucket” Millar, whose sons Herbie and James “Sham” Millar would later become prominent UDA members.[34] The UDA women’s department was headed by Jean Moore, who also came from the Shankill Road. She had also served as the president of the women’s auxiliary of the Loyalist Association of Workers. Her brother Ingram “Jock” Beckett, one of the UDA’s founding members, had been killed in March 1972 by a rival UDA faction in an internal dispute.[35] Moore was succeeded by Hester Dunn of east Belfast, who also ran the public relations and administration section at the UDA headquarters.[36] Wendy Millar’s Shankill Road group was a particularly active women’s unit, and another was based in Sandy Row, south Belfast, a traditional UDA stronghold. The latter was commanded by Elizabeth “Lily” Douglas.[37] Her teenaged daughter, Elizabeth was one of the members.[38]

The Sandy Row women’s UDA unit was disbanded after it carried out a vicious “romper room” punishment beating on 24 July 1974 which left 32-year-old Ann Ogilby dead. The body of Ogilby, a Protestant single mother who had an affair with the husband of one of the unit’s members, was found in a ditch five days later.[39] The day of the fatal beating Ogilby was abducted and forced upstairs to the first floor of a disused bakery in Sandy Row that had been converted into a UDA club. Two teenage girls, Henrietta Cowan and Christine Smith,[40] acting under Elizabeth Douglas’ orders to give Ogilby a “good rompering”,[41] punched, kicked, then battered her to death with bricks and sticks; the autopsy later revealed that Ogilby had suffered 24 blows to the head and body. The killing, which was carried out within earshot of Ogilby’s six-year-old daughter, caused widespread revulsion throughout Northern Ireland and was condemned by the UDA prisoners serving inside the Maze Prison. None of the other UDA women’s units had consented to or been aware of the fatal punishment beating until it was reported in the news.[32] Douglas, Cowan, and Smith were convicted of the murder and sentenced to imprisonment at Armagh Women’s Jail. Seven other members of the women’s unit and a UDA man were also convicted for their part in the murder.[41][38] The UDA “romper rooms”, named after the children’s television programme, were places where victims were beaten and tortured prior to being killed. This was known as a “rompering”. The “romper rooms” were normally located in disused buildings, lock-up garages, warehouses, and rooms above pubs and drinking clubs.[42] The use of the “romper rooms” was a more common practise among male members of the UDA than their female counterparts.[32]

Paramilitary campaign

Masked and armed UDA/UFF members at a show of strength in Belfast

The flag of the “Ulster Freedom Fighters” with a clenched fist representing the Red Hand of Ulster and the Latin motto Feriens tego, meaning “striking I defend”

Throughout the majority of its period of legality, the UDA’s attacks were carried out under the name “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF). The UDA’s campaign of violence began in 1972. In May of that year, the UDA’s pressured leader Tommy Herron decided that responsibility for acts of violence committed by the UDA would be claimed by the “UFF”. Its first public statements came one month later.[43]

The UDA’s official position during the Troubles was that if the Provisional Irish Republican Army (Provisional IRA) called off its campaign of violence, then it would do the same. However, if the British government announced that it was withdrawing from Northern Ireland, then the UDA would act as “the IRA in reverse.”[44]

Ulster Defence Association – Hunting The IRA (Documentary)

Active throughout the Troubles, its armed campaign gained prominence in the early 1990s through Johnny Adair‘s ruthless leadership of the Lower Shankill 2nd Battalion, C. Company, which resulted in a greater degree of tactical independence for the UFF.[45] C. Company’s hit squad, led by Stephen McKeag, became notorious for a campaign of random murders of Catholic civilians in the first half of the 1990s.[46]

They benefited, along with the Ulster Volunteer Force, and a group called Ulster Resistance (set up by the Democratic Unionist Party), from a shipment of arms imported from Lebanon in 1988.[47] The weapons landed included rocket launchers, 200 rifles, 90 pistols and over 400 grenades.[48] Although almost two–thirds of these weapons were later recovered by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), they enabled the UDA to launch an assassination campaign against their perceived enemies.

A UFF mural in the Kilcooley estate near Bangor

A UFF mural in the Sandy Row area of South Belfast

North Belfast UDA brigadier Davy Payne was arrested after his “scout” car had been stopped at a RUC checkpoint and large caches of the weaponry were discovered in the boots of his associates’ cars. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

In 1992 Brian Nelson, a prominent UDA member convicted of sectarian killings, revealed that he was also a British Army agent. This led to allegations that the British Army and RUC were helping the UDA to target Irish republican activists. UDA members have since confirmed that they received intelligence files on republicans from British Army and RUC intelligence sources.[49]

One of the most high profile UDA attacks came in October 1993, when three masked men attacked a restaurant called the Rising Sun in the predominantly Catholic village of Greysteel, County Londonderry, where two hundred people were celebrating Halloween. The two men entered and opened fire. Eight people, including six Catholics and two Protestants were killed and nineteen wounded in what became known as the Greysteel massacre. The UFF claimed the attack was in retaliation to the IRA’s Shankill Road bombing which killed nine, seven days earlier.

The Shankill Bombing

The Greysteel shootings

According to the Sutton database of deaths at the University of Ulster‘s CAIN project,[50] the UDA/UFF was responsible for 259 killings during the Troubles. 208 of its victims were civilians (predominantly Catholics), 12 were civilian political activists (mainly members of Sinn Fein), 37 were other loyalist paramilitaries (including 30 of its own members), three were members of the security forces and 11 were republican paramilitaries. A number of these attacks were carried out with the assistance or complicity of the British Army, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, or both, according to the Stevens Enquiry, although the exact number of people killed as a result of collusion has not been revealed. The preferred modus operandi of the UDA was individual killings of select civilian targets in nationalist areas, rather than large-scale bomb or mortar attacks.

The UDA employed various codewords whenever they claimed their attacks. These included: “The Crucible”, “Titanic”, and “Ulster Troubles”. The UFF used the codename of “Captain Black”.

Post-ceasefire activities

Its ceasefire was welcomed by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Paul Murphy and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Hugh Orde.

A UDA/UFF mural in Belfast

A UFF flag in Finvoy,a rural area of County Antrim

Since the ceasefire, the UDA has been accused of taking vigilante action against alleged drug dealers, including tarring and feathering a man on the Taughmonagh estate in south Belfast.[51][52] It has also been involved in several feuds with the UVF, which led to many killings. The UDA has also been riddled by its own internecine warfare, with self-styled “brigadiers” and former figures of power and influence, such as Johnny Adair and Jim Gray (themselves bitter rivals), falling rapidly in and out of favour with the rest of the leadership. Gray and John Gregg are amongst those to have been killed during the internal strife. On 22 February 2003, the UDA announced a “12-month period of military inactivity”.[53] It said it would review its ceasefire every three months. The UPRG’s Frankie Gallagher has since taken a leading role in ending the association between the UDA and drug dealing.[54]

Following an August 2005 Sunday World article that poked fun at the gambling losses of one of its leaders, the UDA banned the sale of the newspaper from shops in areas it controls. Shops that defy the ban have suffered arson attacks, and at least one newsagent was threatened with death.[55] The Police Service of Northern Ireland began accompanying the paper’s delivery vans.[56][57] The UDA was also considered to have played an instrumental role in loyalist riots in Belfast in September 2005.[58]

On 13 November 2005 the UDA announced that it would “consider its future”, in the wake of the standing down of the Provisional IRA and Loyalist Volunteer Force.[59]

In February 2006, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported UDA involvement in organised crime, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, extortion, money laundering and robbery.[60]

A UDA/UFF mural in Bangor

On 20 June 2006, the UDA expelled Andre Shoukri and his brother Ihab, two of its senior members who were heavily involved in crime. Some see this as a sign that the UDA is slowly coming away from crime.[61] The move did see the southeast Antrim brigade of the UDA, which had been at loggerheads with the leadership for some time, support Shoukri and break away under former UPRG spokesman Tommy Kirkham.[62] Other senior members met with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for talks on 13 July in the same year.[63]

On 11 November 2007 the UDA announced that the Ulster Freedom Fighters would be stood down from midnight of the same day,[64] with its weapons “being put beyond use” although it stressed that these would not be decommissioned.[65]

Although the group expressed a willingness to move from criminal activity to “community development,” the IMC said it saw little evidence of this move because of the views of its members and the lack of coherence in the group’s leadership as a result of a loose structure. While the report indicated the leadership intends to follow on its stated goals, factionalism hindered this change. Factionalism was, in fact, said to be the strongest hindrance to progress. The report also said the main non-splintered faction remained active, though it was considerably smaller than the resulting party. Individuals within the group, however, took their own initiative to criminal activity. Although loyalist actions were curtailed, most of the loyalist activity did come from the UDA.

The IMC report concluded that the leadership’s willingness to change has resulted in community tension and the group would continue to be monitored, although “the mainstream UDA still has some way to go.” Furthermore, the IMC warned the group to “recognise that the organisation’s time as a paramilitary group has passed and that decommissioning is inevitable.” Decommissioning was said to be the “biggest outstanding issue for loyalist leaders, although not the only one.”[66]

A UDA/UFF South-East Antrim Brigade mural in Newtownabbey

On 6 January 2010, the UDA announced that it had put its weapons “verifiably beyond use”.[67] The decommissioning was completed five weeks before a government amnesty deadline beyond which any weapons found could have been used as evidence for a prosecution.[67] The decommissioning was confirmed by Canadian General John de Chastelain, chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, as well as Lord Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh and Sir George Quigley, former top civil servant.[68]

Chastelain stated that the decommissioning included arms, ammunition, explosives and explosive devices and the UDA stated that the arms “constitute the totality of those under their control”.[67] Following the decommissioning the Ulster Political Research Group, the UDA’s political representatives, stated that the “Ulster Defence Association was formed to defend our communities; we state quite clearly and categorically that this responsibility now rests with the Government and its institutions where legitimacy resides”.[68] UDA representative Frankie Gallagher also stated that the group now regretted being responsible for the killing of more than 400 people.[69]

Shaun Woodward, the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that this “is a major act of leadership by the UDA and further comprehensive evidence of the success of politics over violence in Northern Ireland” and the act was also welcomed by Sinn Féin and DUP politicians.[70] The President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary McAleese, described the decommissioning as “a very positive milestone on the journey of peace”.[71] US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also welcomed the move as a step towards lasting peace in Northern Ireland.[72]

South East Antrim breakaway group

The breakaway faction continues to use the “UDA” title in its name, although it too expressed willingness to move towards “community development.” Though serious crime is not prevalent among the members, some who were arrested for drug peddling and extortion were exiled by the Brigade. Although a clear distinction between the factions was not available in the 20th IMC report, as this was the first report to differentiate between the two, future reports would tackle the differences.[66]

Politics

Some UDA leaders supported an independent Northern Ireland in the mid–late 1970s

In the 1970s the group favoured Northern Ireland independence, but they have retreated from this position.[73]

The New Ulster Political Research Group (NUPRG) was initially the political wing of the UDA, founded in 1978, which then evolved into the Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party in 1981 under the leadership of John McMichael, a prominent UDA member killed by the IRA in 1987, amid suspicion that he was set up to be killed by some of his UDA colleagues.

Funeral of John McMichael

In 1987, the UDA’s deputy commander John McMichael (who was then the leader of the UFF) promoted a document titled “Common Sense”, which promoted a consensual end to the conflict in Northern Ireland, while maintaining the Union. The document advocated a power sharing assembly, involving both Nationalists and Unionists, an agreed constitution and new Bill of Rights. It is not clear however, whether this programme was adopted by the UDA as their official policy.[48] However the killing of McMichael that same year and the subsequent removal of Tyrie from the leadership and his replacement with an Inner Council saw the UDA concentrate on stockpiling weapons rather than political ideas.[74]

In 1989, the ULDP changed its name to the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) and finally dissolved itself in 2001 following very limited electoral success. Gary McMichael, son of John McMichael, was the last leader of the UDP, which supported the signing of the Good Friday Agreement but had poor electoral success and internal difficulties. The Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) was subsequently formed to give political analysis to the UDA and act as community workers in loyalist areas. It is currently represented on the Belfast City Council.

In early January 1994, the UDA released a document calling for ethnic cleansing and repartition, with the goal of making Northern Ireland wholly Protestant.[75] The plan was to be implemented should the British Army withdraw from Northern Ireland. The vastly Catholic and nationalist areas would be handed over to the Republic, and those left stranded in the “Protestant state” would be “expelled, nullified, or interned”.[75] The story was printed in The Sunday Independent newspaper on 16 January.[76] The “doomsday plan” was based on the work of Dr Liam Kennedy, a lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.[75] In 1986 he had published a book called Two Ulsters: A Case for Repartition; though it did not call for ethnic cleansing. The UDP’s Raymond Smallwoods said “I wasn’t consulted but the scenario set out is a perfectly plausible one”.[75] The DUP’s Sammy Wilson stated that the plan “shows that some loyalist paramilitaries are looking ahead and contemplating what needs to be done to maintain our separate Ulster identity”.[75]

Links with other groups

In his book Black Sun, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke claimed that the UDA had links with Neo-Nazi groups in Britain—specifically Combat 18[77] (formed in 1991) and the British National Socialist Movement[78] (formed in 1985). He claims that members of these groups helped to smuggle weapons for the UDA/UFF. Ian S Wood‘s book Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA claims that the UDA has received backing from Combat 18, the British National Front and the British National Party.[79] In 2006, the BBC also reported that the group has links with Combat 18.[80] It is unknown whether these links still exist. The links may not have been politically motivated, but mutually beneficial arms deals. On one occasion the UDA sent Louis Scott, one of a few black members of the UDA, to make the transaction.[81]

The Red Hand Defenders is a cover name used by breakaway factions of the UDA/UFF and the LVF.[1] The term was originally coined in 1997 when members of the LVF carried out attacks on behalf of Johnny Adair‘s “UFF 2nd Battalion, ‘C’ Company (Shankill Road)” and vice versa.[1] The relationship between the UDA/UFF (specifically Adair’s unit, not the wider leadership of the UDA) was initially formed after the death of Billy Wright, the previous leader of the LVF, and Adair’s personal friendship with Mark ‘Swinger’ Fulton, the organisations new chief.

The necessity for a cover name resulted from the need to avoid tensions between the UDA and the UVF, the organisation from which the LVF had broken away. It was perceived that any open co-operation between the UDA and the LVF would anger the UVF, something which proved to be the case in following years and resulted in the infamous ‘Loyalist Feud’.[1] There has been debate as to whether or not the Red Hand Defenders have become an entity in their own right[82] made up of dissident factions from both the UDA and the LVF (both of which have now declared ceasefires whilst the RHD has not), though much intelligence has been based on the claims of responsibility which, as has been suggested,[1] are frequently misleading.

Structure and leadership

The UDA is made up of:

  • the Inner Council
  • the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)—whose role was to carry out attacks on republican and nationalist targets. However, many regard the UFF as merely a covername used when the UDA wished to claim responsibility for attacks.[83]
  • the Ulster Defence Force (UDF)—whose role was to give “specialist military training” to a select group of UDA members. The UDF was initiated by John McMichael[84] (the then UDA/UFF commander) in 1985 as a response to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The UDF operated training camps in rural parts of Northern Ireland that young loyalists such as Johnny Adair claim to have attended.[84] One reported ‘survival’ training technique was to leave trainees stranded in Dublin with only £1.[84] Some of the training was given by former British Army soldiers and officers. It was described by the UDA as “the nucleus of a new loyalist army at the ready”.[85]
  • the Ulster Young Militants (UYM)—the “youth wing” of the group. Formed in 1973.[86]
  • the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG)—the UDA’s “political advisory body”. Formed in 1978.[87]

The UDA operated a devolved structure of leadership, each with a brigadier representing one of its six “brigade areas”.[84] Currently, it is not entirely clear whether or not this structure has been maintained in the UDA’s post cease-fire state. The UDA’s six “brigade areas” were:

  • North Belfast
  • East Belfast
  • South Belfast, the UDA’s largest brigade area, covering all of South Belfast down to Lisburn and operating as far away as South County Down, Lurgan and Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh.[88]
  • West Belfast
  • Southeast [County] Antrim
  • North County Antrim & County Londonderry

A wall sign in Dervock showing support for the North Antrim and Londonderry brigade.

In addition to these six core brigades two others may have existed. A seventh Mid-Ulster Brigade is mentioned by Steve Bruce as having existed for part of the UDA’s history[89] although Henry McDonald and Jim Cusack characterise this as a “battalion” rather than a brigade and suggest that its rural location prevented it from fully developing.[90] In the late 1970s a Scottish Brigade was established under the command of Roddy McDonald but this proved short-lived. The security forces infiltrated this brigade almost immediately and in 1979 arrested almost its entire membership, ninety people in all. Six members received particularly lengthy prison sentences for their involvement in UDA activities in Perth and the Scottish Brigade quietly disappeared.[91]

Some of the notable past brigadiers include:

Jackie McDonald

South Belfast (~1980s-present)[92] Resident of the Taughmonagh estate in South Belfast.[92] McDonald was a cautious supporter of the UDA’s ceasefire and a harsh critic of Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair during his final years of membership of the organisation.[92] McDonald remains the only brigadier who did not have a commonly used nickname.

Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair—West Belfast (1990–2002)[84] An active figure in the UDA/UFF, Adair rose to notoriety in the early 1990s when he led the 2nd Battalion, C Company unit in West Belfast which was responsible for one of the bloodiest killing sprees of the Troubles.[84]

Jim ‘Doris Day’ Gray

East Belfast (1992–2005)[84][93] An unlikely figure in Northern Ireland loyalism, the openly bi-sexual[84] Gray was a controversial figure in the organisation until his death on 4 October 2005. Always flamboyantly dressed, Gray was a key figure in the UDA’s negotiations with Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid. It is widely believed that Gray received his nickname from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Special Branch.[84]

Jimbo ‘Bacardi Brigadier’ Simpson—North Belfast (Unknown–2002)[84] Simpson is believed to have been an alcoholic, hence his nickname. He was leader of the UDA in the volatile North Belfast area, an interface between Catholics and Protestants in the New Lodge and Tiger’s Bay neighbourhoods.[84]

Billy ‘The Mexican’ McFarland—North Antrim and Londonderry (Unknown–2013)[84] He Earned his nickname because of his moustache and swarthy appearance, and had overall command of the UDA’s North Antrim and Derry brigade at the time of the Good Friday Agreement. He supported the leadership against Johnny Adair and has been associated with the magazine ‘Warrior’, which makes the case for Ulster Independence

Andre ‘The Egyptian’ Shoukri[84]

North Belfast (2002–2005)[84] Initially a close ally of Johnny Adair, Shoukri and his brother Ihab became involved with the UDA in his native North Belfast. The son of an Egyptian father and a Northern Irish mother, he was expelled from the UDA in 2005 following allegations of criminality.

John ‘Grug’ Gregg

South East Antrim (c.1993[94]–2003) John ‘Grug’ Gregg was a man with a fearsome reputation within the loyalist movement, known as a “Hawk” in loyalist circles, and controlled the streets of south east Antrim. On 14 March 1984, he severely wounded Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in an assassination attempt for which he was jailed. When asked by the BBC in prison if he regretted anything about the shooting, his reply was “only that I didn’t succeed.” He was killed on Belfast’s Nelson Street, along with another UDA member (Rab Carson), while travelling in a taxi from the docks in 2003, and the murder was blamed on supporters of Johnny Adair, who had recently been expelled from the UDA in 2002.

Deaths as a result of activity

UDA South Belfast Brigade memorial plaque in Sandy Row

According to Malcolm Sutton’s Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland (part of the CAIN database), the UDA/UFF was responsible for at least 260 killings during the Troubles, between 1969 and 2001. There are a further 250 loyalist killings where it is not yet certain which group was responsible.[95]

Of those killed by the UDA/UFF:[11]

  • 209 (~80%) were civilians, 12 of whom were civilian political activists
  • 11 (~4%) were members or former members of republican paramilitary groups
  • 37 (~14%) were members or former members of loyalist paramilitary groups
  • 3 (~1%) were members of the British security forces

There were also 91 UDA members and four former members killed in the conflict.[96]

See also