Thursday, October 20, 2005


Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

GEOFFREY EDWARDS of Armagh , charged in December 1983 with the murder of Sinn Fein election worker Peter Corrigan , plus four attempted murders including that of Seamus Grew (subsequently shot dead by the RUC) .

MERVYN JOSEPH FALOON of Tandragree , sentenced to five years in February 1978 for shooting into Catholic Obins Street enclave in Portadown on the 'Twelvth' in 1977 .

SAMUEL FARRELL of Enniskillen , sentenced to 18 months in November 1977 for bombing a dance hall in Donegal in 1974 .

WILLIAM FERRIS of Belfast , suspended sentence in February 1974 for possessing a shotgun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

JAMES GALLAGHER of Belfast , six months suspended in February 1974 for possession of firearms in suspicious circumstances .

WILLIAM GALLAGHER of Belfast , sentenced to 10 years in April 1979 for five armed robberies . Known to be also a member of the UVF .

ROBERT JOSEPH GAMBLE of Belfast , sentenced to five years in February 1972 for bombing Lisburn Council offices . Fellow bomber killed in the operation . Known to be also a member of the UVF .



Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Republican intervention in the British electoral process in this century dates back to February 1917 ; a year had passed since the proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 , and many of the internees released before Christmas 1916 were back in Ireland . While they and other Republicans had differing political attitudes on future policy , the political climate during the eight months of their imprisonment had changed dramatically ; a number of factors had contributed to this change .

Foremost of these were the executions by the British government of the leaders of the Easter Rising and the loss of credibility by John Redmond's Irish Parliamentary Party among Nationalists . In 1914 a Home Rule Act for all Ireland , without any mention of a separate treatment for any Ulster county , had been passed by the British parliament and signed by the English King . That Act had then been suspended for 12 months or for the duration of the war , a war in which at the behest of John Redmond , many Irishmen had fought on the British side "...for the independence of small nations.. "

Now , with the war over , the British government's only response to such a sacrifice was to amend the Home Rule Act to exclude six of the Ulster Counties and to repudiate the basic nationalist idea of an undivided Ireland . In this climate , the actions of those who had gone out in the 1916 Rising , and the subsequent murders of their leaders was seen in sharp contrast to the collaborationist policies of the Irish Parliamentary Party , especially as such collaboration had achieved far less than had been promised .

Sinn Fein itself had changed ; while still without a coherent policy on social and economic matters and with no clear idea of how it could achieve independence , it at least had rejected partition .......



The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

John O' Grady heard strange voices conversing outside in the living room - the gardai were in the house , but he did'nt know it . Detective Martin O' Connor , the barber Gerry Wright and (gang member) Tony McNeill went downstairs to the living room where Detective Sergeant Henry Spring and (gang member) Fergal Toal were talking . The two Detectives , Spring and O' Connor , exchanged glances ; they did'nt need to say anything . O' Connor turned to Gerry Wright and asked what was going on - how it was that he was able to have lads lying around doing nothing in the middle of the day . Detective O' Connor then left the house to go to the patrol car ; Gerry Wright followed him . O' Connor asked Wright if he was paying tax on the money he got for rent from the lads in the house .

O' Connor sat sideways into the patrol car with his legs on the street , radioed base and asked for urgent plainclothes back-up at 260 Carnlough Road . Gerry Wright ran back into the house , shouting - " He's calling for reinforcements ! " Gang member Tony McNeill was standing with his back to Detective Spring : he turned around with a gun in his hand and shouted - " Get down you bastard ." Spring was forced to the ground at gunpoint ; Eddie Hogan jumped out from under the stairs . Spring was kicked repeatedly in the head and body , and was momentarily stunned . Hogan dragged John O' Grady out from under the stairs , and Tony McNeill ran out after Detective O' Connor , followed closely by Fergal Toal . Detective Spring , who was unarmed , escaped out the back door of the house and jumped over a back wall .

He ran up the neighbours garden to the house but , despite pleas that he was in danger of being shot , he was refused entry , so he smashed one of the windows to get in . Meanwhile , Tony McNeill came up to Detective O' Connor , who was still at the patrol car , and put a gun to his chest .

O' Connor's radio call had been picked up by two or three different patrol cars , and all were now racing towards Carnlough Road . Fergal Toal and Tony McNeill were now trying to disarm Detective O' Connor - he was struggling with McNeill over the gun and Toal was punching O' Connor in the face . He put his fingers into O' Connor's mouth and began twisting his lips and head . An ESB meter reader saw O' Connor's head bobbing up and down and approached the car - he was told " Fuck off and mind your own business . This man is trying to steal our car . " Eddie Hogan emerged out of the house with John O' Grady , and told McNeill and Toal to back off so that he could shoot O' Connor in the knees .......