Monday, October 24, 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 .

THOMAS IRVINE of Belfast , jailed for five years in February 1976 for illegal possession of a firearm . Known member of the UDA .

ALEXANDER IRWIN of Armagh , jailed for three years in November 1975 for possession of bomb-making equipment . Known member of the UVF .

GLYNN JONES of Belfast , sentenced to six months in February 1973 for illegal possession of ammunition .

DEREK KENNEDY of Armagh , jailed for 18 months (suspended) in November 1976 for setting fire to a Catholic school and a Methodist church .

WILLIAM FREDERICK KENNEDY of Belfast , fined £50 in January 1977 for being drunk in charge of a loaded pistol . He had wounded a companion while toying with the weapon in a pub .

DEREK HUGH KINKAID of Belfast , jailed for eight years in December 1974 for armed robbery of post office . Known to have UDA connections .



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 .

After he won the February 1917 North Roscommon by-election for Sinn Fein , Count Plunkett declared that he had been considering whether or not to represent the people of Roscommon in "...a foreign parliament .. " but had decided that his place was beside his own people in their own country , "...for it is in Ireland that the battle of Irish Liberty is to be fought .. " .

While the press speculated that the writing was on the wall for John Redmond's party , there was still no proper organisation to oppose him . In an effort to remedy this , ten days after Easter 1917 , over 1,200 delegates attended an 'Irish Assembly' , convened in Dublin's Mansion House by Count Plunkett . Sixty eight public bodies were represented and forty one Sinn Fein cumainn . The only practical step agreed upon was that an organising committee be formed to establish some form of organisation for the next general election .

At the same time there was an affirmation proclaiming Ireland a separate nation and asserting her right to freedom from all foreign control and denying the ' authority' of any foreign parliament in Ireland . The acceptance of such an affirmation was evidence of the continuing hardening of Nationalist thinking which was now taking its national demand far beyond the Home Rule Act on the statute book .

At the same time Count Plunkett had declared that a policy of abstention from Westminster was an indispensable committment for all members of such a new organisation as might form his committee , which , with another by-election pending at Longford , now had the opportunity of a further electoral test .......



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 .

In the confusion caused by the shoot-out , John O' Grady had decided to make a run for it . All it needed was for one garda patrol car to arrive from the other end of Carnlough Road and the gang's escape route was blocked . One of the kidnappers , Tony McNeill , hi-jacked a car at gunpoint and calmy drove up Carnlough Road and turned left out of sight .

Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal also hi-jacked a car about fifty yards up the road ; they were just getting into the car when the second patrol car , manned by Detective Gardai Dick Fahey and Brian Coade appeared - there was an exchange of gunfire . Hogan and Toal reversed the car back up towards Kilkiernan Road and immediately crashed into a bus . The two of them got out and proceeded up Kilkiernan Road on foot . They retreated military style , one giving covering fire while the other ran a few yards and vice versa .

Detectives Fahey and Coade returned fire , and Fergal Toal was hit on the knee - Hogan and the injured Toal then hi-jacked a Dublin Corporation roadsweeper van . The two Detectives , Fahey and Coade , had by now been joined by two more colleagues . Once again the gardai on foot were powerless to do anything ; they commandeered a civilian car but by then the kidnap gang had disappeared .

21. " I AM JOHN O' GRADY . "
John O' Grady had followed the same route as the kidnappers . He had removed his blacked-out glasses and ran up Carnlough Road to the junction where it meets Kilkiernan Road - at the corner he saw a man and a woman at a hall door , and asked them if he could come in but the couple closed the door in his face , so he ran down Kilkiernan Road . He saw a house with a plywood gate at the side , and jumped over the gate . The garden was overgrown . He got down on his hands and knees and climbed into a space in the middle of a patch of brambles . A few minutes later he heard two men come into the garden .......