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 .

RICHARD LONG of Comber , County Down , sentenced to life in May 1977 for conspiracy to kill Catholics .

TREVOR LYLE , jailed for one month (suspensed for two years) for illegal possession of firearms in June 1976 . Charge reduced from attempted murder .

JEFFREY LYNN of Tobermore , County Derry , jailed for six months in September 1976 for handling stolen property . Originally charged with September 1975 armed robbery of Knockloughrim Post Office – prosecution witness , William Millar , subsequently murdered by fellow members of LYNN’S ‘5th Batt. UDR’ .

WILLIAM McCLANAGHAN of South Derry , sentenced to eight years in May 1978 for bombing a Catholic-owned shop in Draperstown .

WILLIAM McCOMB of Banbridge , jailed for 10 years in November 1976 for possession with intent and armed robbery on behalf 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 .

The election of another Sinn Fein candidate , William Cosgrove , in Kilkenny , by a two-to-one majority , led to more repression from the British ; arrests increased and during a period when some political commentators were noting that the lack of really positive Sinn Fein policies was giving rise to serious second thoughts among nationalist voters , the British governments ill-treatment of those arrested became known .

Over forty Irish Republican prisoners were being force-fed in an effort by the British to break a hunger-strike by the prisoners in pursuance of political status . The Republican prisoners , as part of their campaign , were refusing to work or to wear prison clothes – they had smashed their cell windows , demanded segregation from ordinary prisoners and were generally refusing to co-operate with the prisom regime .

Thomas Ashe died after force-feeding and the brutal details of that force-feeding plus the conditions in which the prisoners were being held were read by an outraged public ; Thomas Ashe was buried on September 30th , 1917 , following a funeral attended by some 40,000 people and marked by a day of mourning throughout nationalist Ireland .

All commentators agreed that a new and much needed stimulus had been given to the Sinn Fein Movement ; the British ‘establishment’ , and it’s supporters in the London media , were startled by this turn of events …….


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 .

Having escaped to Limerick , Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal hired a taxi to take them to Tipperary ; they passed through three or four garda roadblocks without incident . Just outside Tipperary the taxi passed another roadblock manned by Garda John Conway – they were waved on but Conway became suspicious and contacted a garda patrol car which then followed the taxi into Tipperary town ; that patrol car was manned by Garda Liam Walsh , Garda Tom Neville and Garda Dan Collins . In Tipperary , the gardai instructed the taxi driver to pull in . Garda Liam Walsh loaded his sub-machine gun .

The description that the Tipperary gardai had of Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal did not match the two men in the taxi – both were searched and found to be un-armed . However , Toal was speaking with a fake Cork accent and traces of his northern accent were coming through ; both men were polite and co-operative but , because of the suspicions of the gardai and ‘the state of the country at the time’ , it was decided to take them to the garda station for questioning . The patrol car stopped forty feet from the station entrance ; as they were walking in , Eddie Hogan bolted ; Garda Neville threw his garda cap on the ground and ran after him . Gardai Walsh and Collins rushed Fergal Toal into the station and handed him over to the station orderly team , Garda Andrew Moriarty and Garda Fallon , in the presence of Garda Sergeant Patrick Merrigan .

Walsh and Collins shouted ” Hold him ! Another man has escaped … ” : then they ran off to help Garda Neville to find Eddie Hogan , who had run down the road into the Clanwilliam Rugby Club – he ran the length of the pitch and crossed the goal line with Garda Neville in pursuit ; it was a ‘good try’ by Neville but Eddie Hogan had already disappeared behind the cover of trees beside the pavilion . He escaped over a wall and was gone . The Clanwilliam Rugby Team , who were training , formed an impromptu search party but without success .

Fergal Toal was now in Garda custody – but not for long …….


About 11sixtynine

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