FRIDAY , 21 OCTOBER 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 .

JOHN GAW of Greenisland , County Antrim , sentenced to 10 years in March 1977 for possession of arms and training UVF East Antrim members . Involved in 76-day UVF trial which ended in 27 men receiving a total of 700 years plus eight “Lifes” for UVF activity .

RONALD GIBSON , MARK MAM and KENNETH SPENCE , all of Newtonabbey , fined £50 each in February 1979 for breaking into local ‘Star of the Sea’ Roman Catholic Church and shitting on the altar .

JAMES GILLIES of Belfast , jailed for four years in May 1975 for illegal possession of firearm .

THOMAS GRUERS of Magherafelt , fined £50 in February 1981 for firing shots from a Walther pistol during the fracas – apparently between Nationalists and Loyalists – in Portrush .

LOUIS HATHAWAY of Gilford , County Down , fined £100 in August 1979 for possession of a loaded pistol while drunk during anti-internment protest .

RAYMOND HIGGINS of Belfast , jailed for two years in March 1981 for illegal possession of a firearm and attempted rape .

HENRY WILLIAM HUTCHINS of Limavady , jailed for five years in March 1975 for armed robbery . A known member of the UDA .


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 .

Among the ranks of Sinn Fein was a mixture of IRA Volunteers who had gone out at Easter 1916 , IRB men who were committed to an Irish Republic at all costs , and many exponents of the orthodox constitutional Sinn Fein doctrine of pre-war days as preached by Arthur Griffith . While a new mood was sweeping the country , Sinn Fein had virtually no organisation at all and nothing like a coherent political organisation needed to co-ordinate the new mood .

However , with the death of J.J. O’ Kelly , the MP for Roscommon and a by-election in that constituency scheduled for February 1917 , Sinn Fein had its first opportunity to oppose Redmond’s Party : Count Plunkett , father of Joseph Mary Plunkett and of two other imprisoned sons , stood against Redmond’s man . Plunkett faced a number of practical disadvantages – his opponent was a well known local man , and Plunkett’s ‘election machine’ was inexperienced . Much of the constituency was snow-bound and Plunkett himself remained in England , where he had been deported , ill , until a few days before polling .

On top of that he remained ambiguous on whether he would take his seat at Westminster if elected . Furthermore , Sinn Fein had contested and badly lost a North Leitrim by-election in 1908 , though it fought that election on Arthur Griffith’s dual-monarchy policy .

Now , however , the bulk of ‘dissident’ Nationalist voters were concerned about one thing only – that was , voting for a candidate who would not accept partition of Ireland in any form and against a party which had shown itself too easy or too willing to be duped into doing so . Count Plunkett won the election for Sinn Fein with a majority of almost twice as many votes as Redmond’s man …….


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 .

Detective Martin O’ Connor , dazed from the beating , stood up and gang member Eddie Hogan used his gun to wave him towards a wall ; O’ Connor put his hands on his face which was sore – he could feel blood . He was now about two feet from the barrel of Hogan’s gun . He was so uncomfortably close he could make out green masking tape around the stock of the gun – Hogan fired : the shot blew a hole the size of a fist in O’ Connor’s stomach . His bowel was peppered with gunshot pellets . He felt the tear in his stomach and a severe burning sensation – he staggered backwards , but refused to fall down . Instead , he pulled out his own gun and fired at one of the gang . Hogan shot him again , in the shoulder , shattering his collarbone . O’ Connor fell to the ground and crouched in a ball clutching his stomach . Eddie Hogan advanced on O’ Connor .

The wounded Detective asked that Hogan not shoot him again ; Hogan kicked him in the side and said ” Give me your gun , you pig . ” Hogan held O’ Connor’s gun aloft , head high .

At first it was almost an action replay of Midleton : a Hi-Ace van came down Carnlough Road and was stopped at gunpoint – John O’ Grady was pulled by one of the kidnap gang over towards the passenger door . At that moment the first of the patrol cars which had responded to the call was arriving . Detective Garda Gregory Sheehan had been in Phibsboro when he heard the call on the radio . He approached from the same direction in which the Hi-Ace van was travelling . Detective Sheehan got out of the car and shouted ” Armed gardai . Halt ! ” Immediately he heard the sounds of bullets whizzing over his head – he fired back : six shots from his Smith and Wesson . The gang member who had been ushering John O’ Grady into the Hi-Ace van dived for cover . O’ Grady took his one chance . He ran …….


About 11sixtynine

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