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 .

SAMUEL COOKEY of Belfast , sentenced to life in March 1977 for possession of home-made machine gun , sawn-off shotgun , 10 short-arms , a SLR and 3,089 rounds of ammunition . Member of UVF .

BASIL CORBETT of Fermanagh , sentenced to two years in March 1983 for 15 sectarian offences including issuing death threats to local Catholics .

GEORGE HENDERSON CORRY of Portadown , fined £50 in June 1975 for being drunk in charge of a gun .

TREVOR CRAIG of Antrim , suspended sentence in June 1978 for attempted armed robbery .

RAYMOND CRAINEY of Armagh , jailed for six months in March 1973 for illegal possession of a pistol and firing it while drunk .

THOMAS CROSSEY of The Maze area , jailed for 18 months in June 1973 for possessing a loaded pistol in suspicious circumstances .

IVAN DALGLEISH and THOMAS CANAVAN of Belfast , each jailed for nine years in March 1974 for bombing a Catholic pub in County Down .

MICHAEL DOHERTY of Belfast , sentenced to four years in February 1984 for illegal possession of three rifles , a silencer , six magazines and 101 rounds of ammunition .


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 .

Essentially , Charles Stewart Parnell was not a Republican . That such opposite positions governed the land agitation issue and that the entire Fenian leadership was not in agreement on the land issue is a key to the national question and speaks volumes on how it was possible for such a compromise to be forced upon the radical Republican activists .

The inevitable result was the integration of many ex-Fenians into conventional Parnellism . Involvement with constitutionalism had badly divided the IRB and when Parnell’s party itself split in 1887 , the IRB split too . Up to this time regardless of the official IRB attitude there had been a considerable Fenian involvement in constitutional politics – in fact , 21 out of 83 listed Parnellite MP’s are believed to have been Fenians , 4 were believed to be Fenian supporters and 2 were regarded as ex-Fenians .

The conditions for a withdrawal from Westminster of Irish MP’s to set up an Irish Parliament with massive ‘peasant’ support had been removed when Gladstone defused the land movement with his ‘Land Act’ , which had detached a sufficient number of Land Leagues to make the project impossible and anyway Charles Stewart Parnell had never embraced such a policy .

For many prominent Fenians the failure of even partial ‘New Departure’ policies was taken as an endorsement of their total reliance on a purely physical force strategy – there had been a number of significant physical force actions during the period covered here and left the Fenians facing yet another bout of Irish/American factionalism as well as on-going problems about finances and war materials . But , as stated earlier , the whole period was to serve as a school of sedition for the next generation .

Republican intervention in the British electoral process in this century dates back to February 1917 …….


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 .

Dessie O’ Hare had made it abundantly clear to Dr. Austin Darragh that John O’ Grady would suffer further if Darragh informed the gardai about the ransom demand ; now it was all over the front page of ‘The Irish Independent’ newspaper .

Back in the patrol car the two Detectives made small talk with Gerry Wright about boxing and scuba diving , both sports in which Wright had a passionate interest . Gerry Wright was hoping against hope that the gang would have left when they reached his house .

At the house , Gerry Wright made a point of rattling the keys in the lock when opening the door ; as he had walked from the patrol car to the house Wright started to change the original story he had given to the gardai in Parkgate Street – he told them there were a couple of people staying in the house but they would be out on an AnCO course . The rattling of the keys gave the gang the briefest of notice of the gardai arriving . They were forewarned and forearmed .

Eddie Hogan grabbed his shotgun and ran in under the stairs beside John O’ Grady ; Tony McNeill ran upstairs and jumped into bed , fully clothed . Fergal Toal went to the rear of the house . Gerry Wright led the Detectives into the living room , spread his hands out and said – “See , there is nothing here .” The Detectives looked around the room – there was a two-bar electric fire on as well as a fire in the grate , and the television was on . On one of the chairs there was what looked like a walkie-talkie . At that moment Fergal Toal walked into the room .

Gerry Wright told him the two men with him were Detectives , who were looking around , and asked him why he was’nt at his AnCO course . At this point , Detective Martin O’ Connor went upstairs with Wright ; Detective Henry Spring asked Fergal Toal what AnCO course he was doing – “Labouring , ” , came the reply . Detective O’ Connor found Tony McNeill in bed , and asked Wright who he was while shaking the bed . “This is one of the lads from AnCO . He must not have gone to school .” O’ Connor asked Tony McNeill to get up . He noticed that McNeill was fully clothed – he felt the bed and noted there was no heat from the bedclothes .

John O’ Grady was still unaware the gardai were in the house immediately after the rattling of the door Eddie Hogan had landed in beside him . Hogan was armed and was breathing heavily …….


About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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