UDR’S ROTTEN APPLES…….
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 .
MALCOLM NESBITT of Belfast , sentenced to three years in October 1977 for armed robbery of a pub .
ALBERT MAURICE PARKHILL of Coleraine , suspended sentence in February 1978 for ‘robbery’ of six rifles from UDR armoury and membership of UVF . Pleaded conversion to Christianity and was suffering from multiple sclerosis .
WILLIAM RAMSEY of Belfast , five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of Catholics during the UWC strike .
BEN REDFERN , JOHN LITTLE , SAMUEL HUNTER DAVIDSON and GREGORY ALLEN , all from South Derry area , all sentenced to life with an 18-year minimum , in January 1979 , for sectarian murder . REDFERN for murder of John Bolton , James Chivers and Joseph McAuley , the others for murders of Bolton and McAuley . Other concurrent sentences for robbery , arson etc .
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 three by-election losses by Sinn Fein in early 1918 (Waterford , South Armagh and East Tyrone) showed that while Sinn Fein was still a very vital political force , its strength lay not in clear policies or organisation but in the enthusiasm , discipline and organisational abilities of the Republican volunteers . The extension , by the British Government , of the Conscription Act to Ireland on April 9th , 1918 , was to make things easier for Irish Republicans .
The Catholic Bishops in Ireland unanimously condemned conscription as did local public bodies all over Ireland and the ‘Irish Nationalist Party’ left the British House of Commons in a block and returned to Ireland .
Such an endorsement of abstentionism was obviously welcome to Sinn Fein and on April 18th , 1918 , an unprecedented conference representing all sections of nationalist opinion issued – in consultation with the Irish Catholic Hierarchy – a call for ” …all true Irishmen to resist [conscription] by the most effective means at their disposal . ” The Catholic Hierarchy , for their part , declared conscription to be “…an oppressive and inhuman law .. ” and stated that the Irish people had the right to resist it by all means consonant with the law of God …….
23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O’GRADY KIDNAPPING …….
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 .
24. ” T’was the luck of God I did’nt kill him … ”
Eddie Hogan was at liberty for less than twenty-four hours . Shortly after five o’clock gardai in Cahir Garda Station received a report that a suspicious person had been seen walking at Ballydrehid , four miles outside Cahir , Tipperary ; Detective Garda Ignatius Seery and Garda James Lynch drove out in their patrol car . Since his escape , Eddie Hogan had stuck to the fields and had only been on the road a few minutes when the gardai met him . They stopped the car and shouted at him – ” Gardai . We want to talk to you . ”
By this stage it was perfectly obvious that whatever Hogan wanted to do he did not want to talk to the gardai ; he broke into a run , but was caught by Garda James Lynch . Both gardai accompanied him back to their car , but Hogan tried to break free – a fierce fight followed , during which Hogan kicked Lynch and then head-butted him . There was a struggle in which all three men fell to the ground . Hogan struggled with Seery , trying to get possession of his gun , which went off twice within inches of killing someone .
Seery succeeded in releasing Eddie Hogan’s grip on the arm in which he held the gun ; at that point Hogan bit into Seery’s right thigh , cutting right through the mans trousers – Seery roared in agony . His legs were straddled over Hogan’s shoulders ; he began hitting Hogan on the head with the butt of his revolver and eventually Hogan stopped biting . Lynch and Seery got him lying on his chest and managed to handcuff him .
In custody , Hogan drank tea and smoked cigarettes – he assured the gardai there would be no allegations of brutality : ” It was either me or ye out there , ” he told them , and inquired about Detective Martin O’ Connor whom he had shot at Carnlough Road the previous day . He was relieved to hear that his condition was stable – ” T’was the luck of God I did’nt kill him . I’d have been gone for twenty-five years if I had . “ The gardai asked him about the cutting off of John O’Grady’s fingers . ” It’s war and everything is justified in war , ” they were told .
Both Fergal Toal and Eddie Hogan were questioned extensively about their involvement in the kidnapping of John O’ Grady . Neither man replied to any of the questions …….