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 .

DAVID LAFFIN of Belfast , sent to Borstal in March 1976 for possession of sub-machine gun and 760 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances . The gun had been stolen from Portadown UDR armoury in 1973 .

NEIL LATTIMER , WILLIAM ROLESTON , DAVID IAN McMULLAN , JAMES HEGAN , WINSTON ALLEN , NOEL BELL and COLIN WARTON , charged in December 1983 with murder of Adrian Carroll . All based at Drumadd Barracks .

THOMAS LEONARD of County Tyrone , sentenced to life in October 1975 for machine-gun murder of James and Mary Devlin at Edenork in 1974 . He was later given concurrent sentences for a series of other offences . LEONARD , who was ‘born again’ while on remand , refused ‘Special Category’ status .

ALISTER ROGER LOCKHART of Armagh , jailed for 10 years in May 1975 for a car bombing in Armagh , illegal possession of firearms and other offences . A known member of the UVF .

SAMUEL JAMES LOGAN , appears to have been the first UDR man to appear on a charge in a court . From Derry , he was convicted in September 1971 for illegal possession of a pistol . Arrested by a UDR patrol while returning from a trip to Donegal .


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 .

The by-election in Longford was to be contested by Sinn Fein candidate Joe MacGuinness , at the time a prisoner serving penal servitude in Lewes Prison . His name went before the electorate with the simple slogan ‘ Put him in to get him out’ . MacGuinness , incidentally , had no wish to let his name go forward as he felt that to do so would compromise the traditional Republican attitude of contempt for ‘parliamentary methods’ ; the IRB , mindful of the need to retain a Republican influence over the new political movement , ignored MacGuinness’s reservations , with the result that , after a recount , he won by thirty eight votes over the Redmond candidate .

Redmond could clearly no longer afford to consider partition on any terms the prevailing mood in the country was determinedly against it . He rejected partition but agreed with Lloyd George to an ‘Irish Convention’ , a device clearly suited to British needs , not least because of American pressure , insofar as it ‘passed the buck’ from the British government to the Irish unionist and nationalist ‘factions’ .

While this appeared plausible in British terms , it was of course completely impractical and doomed to failure ; Sinn Fein declared its intention to boycott the proceedings and before the ‘Convention’ could get down to its deliberations , another Sinn Fein candidate , Eamonn De Valera , was returned as MP for East Clare with a majority of 2,975 over the Redmonite candidate , a popular local man named Lynch . By now released Republican prisoners were being greeted on their return to Ireland by enthusiastic crowds .

Against this background the re-organisation of the IRA continued with predictable counter-measures by the British government , who continued to ignore the open military organisation of the UVF in the North …….



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 had escaped from the kidnap gang and was hiding in the garden of a house on Kilkiernan Road in Cabra , Dublin : he heard the sounds of two men coming into the garden , and thought they were gang members . In fact they were two Detectives who had pursued O’ Grady who they suspected was a member of the kidnap gang – from their conversation , John O’ Grady realised that they were gardai , and raised his bandaged hands in the air and said ” I am John O’ Grady ! ”

Back at 260 Carnlough Road someone had called an ambulance for Detective Martin O’ Connor – he was on the ground calling for his wife Rosy and praying ; he thought he was dying . Gerry Wright had gone into the house and got a blanket to cover O’ Connor and had remained standing over him . Detective Sergeant Henry Spring had hoped to telephone for support in the house he had broken into , but there was no telephone . He made his way to 260 Carnlough Road to find his colleague Martin O’ Connor on the ground with gunshot wounds , and turned to Gerry Wright who was standing close by and said to him – ” You bastard , you walked us into this . ”

John O’ Grady was put into a garda car – he had read in the newspapers that his family had taken rooms in the Blackrock Clinic in anticipation of his release and he asked the gardai to take him there . The news of his release was broadcast on RTE radio within minutes ; Dessie O’ Hare was en route to Cork to supervise the payment of the ransom – O’ Hare was listening to the radio and , according to a passenger in the car who later made a statement to the gardai , he beat his fists on the dashboard in rage .

Meanwhile , the kidnap gang had escaped the gardai for a second time – Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal abandoned the Corporation lorry in Blackhorse Avenue and ordered a woman to drive them to Clondalkin , in Dublin South-West – there they called into a house owned by Una Dermody who was having coffee with a friend , Maria Hennessy : they demanded a change of clothes . One of the women cleaned the graze on Fergal Toal’s leg , and the gang then took the Saab car belonging to Una Dermody and the two women were taken as hostages – they headed for Limerick , using back roads .

On the way Hogan talked about art and paintings , and conversed with Fergal Toal in Irish ; the two women let them out at Mount St. Laurence cemetery , just outside Limerick – the women then reported what had happened to the first garda they met …….


About 11sixtynine

A mother of three and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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