On Easter Sunday morning, 1978, seven Donegal Provo recruits crossed the border to Derry City ; they had been chosen to form the Colour Party for the Easter Commemoration ceremony that afternoon, leading the Easter Parade through the Creggan and Bogside where Dáithí Ó Conaill delivered the oration.

After the event, the Colour Party members went into the Rossville Street flats, stripped off their paramilitary clothes and dark glasses and got into casual clothes. The back road from Creggan to the border had been checked and cleared, they were assured. Some of the seven men wanted to go for a few pints and then take the bus home but, under protest, they all piled into the one car and were driven off. The joint British Army/RUC patrol which intercepted them minutes later already had photographs of all seven men taken from a helicopter during the Easter Parade. IRA membership would be easy to prove.

Two of the seven men detained were from Letterkenny in County Donegal ; Patrick McIntyre of Ard O’Donnell and his colleague, Jim Clarke (pictured). Patrick McIntyre is the fifth of a family of nine, who did his ‘Leaving Certificate’ (school examination) in 1976 and, after taking a six months AnCo (state work-training) course, started working on a building site in Letterkenny. As a youth, Patrick was, as friends describe him, a ‘withdrawn kind of a lad’. His involvement with the IRA was to surprise the entire family. But he had been impressed by the 1916 plaque in Saint Eunan’s College, by the sight of Derry refugees taking shelter in Letterkenny, of the (Free State) Army on stand-by near the border, by emotive speeches by politicians and by the ‘Arms Trial’. He mixed with Official Sinn Fein members in the early 1970’s : they held meetings in a room over a pub in Letterkenny where local issues were discussed. But he always stayed clear of public displays and not a word was said at home.

However – the IRA Colour Party had now been detained by the British ‘security forces’ and, after 14 months on remand in the North, Patrick McIntyre came before a judge ; he was in deep trouble, as he had signed a statement admitting involvement in the attempted ‘murder’ of a UDR member (‘Ulster[sic] Defence Regiment’, a pro-British militia) near Castlederg in County Tyrone, in late 1977. McIntyre refused to recognise the court, was convicted and given a fifteen year jail sentence ; Jim Clarke was also jailed for the Castlederg attack – he got eighteen years. The first part of their detention was spent in Crumlin Road Prison and the two men were then transferred to the Kesh at a time when the campaign for retention of political status was intensifying ; they took part in the Blanket Protest and were still there during the 1981 Hunger-Strike. They were two of the 38 inmates who escaped from the prison in September 1983. Patrick McIntyre managed to stay loose for two days ; cameramen were alerted to film him and another escaper, Joe Corey, being recaptured near Castlewellan, County Down.

Re-captured within two days after the September 1983 jail-break, Patrick McIntyre (pictured) had to wait three years and three months to get a second chance ; with less than six months of his original sentence left, he was due three days ‘rehabilitation parole’ as Christmas 1986 approached. The prison authorities opposed his release because the trial of the Maze escapers was pending, but McIntyre defeated their objections before the courts. The Provisionals approved his absconding – they believed the recently introduced ‘rehabilitation’ gimmick was geared to cause divisions in their structures within the prisons. By December 20th, 1986, the RUC were looking for him but he was over the border, in Donegal, getting his hair tinted!

On the twisty main road between Killybegs and Kilcar, in West Donegal, there is a white flat-roofed dwelling in the townland of Cashlings ; some Gardai consider it ‘a safe house’. Raymond ‘The Rooster’ McLaughlin, a well-known IRA activist, was suspected of stopping off there not long before he drowned, accidentally, in a pool, in County Clare, in 1985. Shortly after eight o’clock on the morning of 6th January 1987 – 34 years ago on this date – Aiden Murray and other armed Free State detectives raided the house.

They roused a young man from his sleep – he was wearing pants only and, when asked his name, he hesitated before telling them he was ‘Colm McGuire’. He requested to see a doctor and solicitor and refused to answer any further questions. Detective Aiden Murray promptly arrested ‘McGuire’ on suspicion of being a member of the IRA. The Gardai were back at base in Ballyshannon with their prisoner soon after nine o’ clock ; they still had no official identity for him and, in accordance with his wishes, a local solicitor, John Murray, was sent for ; he arrived and, after consulting with the man in the cell, he told gardai during a casual conversation that the prisoner was Patrick McIntyre of Ard O’Donnell, Letterkenny. The gardai say that minutes afterwards they received information which possibly linked McIntyre to a robbery in Ballyshannon before Christmas and that they began questioning him about this crime. By mid-morning the word was out in Donegal : Paddy McIntyre had been collared and the prospect of extradition loomed. By that afternoon, a Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, was contacting a colleague in Dublin.

The legal defence was prepared in the tiny rooms over a swop-shop along Ormond Quay, near the Four Courts, in Dublin, where solicitor Anne Rowland, a native of Ballina, County Mayo, set up her own firm. Her penchant is for the cut and thrust of criminal cases. On accepting the McIntyre brief, she immediately sought out barrister Patrick Gageby – they had worked together before ; Evelyn Glenholmes and Gerard Tuite were among those they had represented. Rowland and Gageby immediately agreed that their defence case would focus on the circumstances of McIntyre’s arrest and detention. They were told that an extradition application would come before District Justice Liam McMenamin at Ballyshannon District Court on January 7th (1987). Before leaving for County Donegal, Rowland put the state on notice that she would require in court the garda who performed the Section 30 arrest and the Garda Officer who signed the order extending Patrick McIntyre’s detention for a second 24 hour period.

About one hundred Sinn Féin protestors had gathered outside the court as Patrick McIntyre was escorted from a prison vehicle ; in the melee, nobody noticed three plainclothes detectives sliding another man past – RUC member Robert Herron. He was needed to identify Patrick McIntyre. As he rose to speak, Sinn Féin members immediately headed for the exits but gardai told them the doors would have to be kept closed. Then, his identity unknown to those outside, the RUC man was discreetly and safely brought past the crowds before the hearing ended. Chief Superintendent Patrick Murphy was in the witness box – a stranger to the area, he had been transferred from Limerick to Letterkenny, in Donegal, on promotion the previous October.

Murphy gave evidence of signing the Section 30 Extension Order for a second 24 hour period. State Solicitor Ciaran McLoughlin asked him nothing further. District Justice McMenamin had no questions, and Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby kept quiet. Chief Superintendent Patrick Murphy left the witness box ; defence counsel Patrick Gageby didn’t even attempt to smile ; but he did believe that ‘the door had been left ajar’. Early last year Patrick Gageby and Anne Rowland had unsuccessfully appealed the three convictions of County Louth men in the Drumree Post Office murder trial – Garda Frank Hand had been killed in an armed robbery. In the Court of Criminal Appeal, however, Gageby had spotted one sentence and quietly filed it away. He now suggested that Chief Superintendent Murphy had not informed the court of his state of mind when signing the extension order ; it had not been proven that the garda officer had the requisite mental element to justify the detention. State Solicitor Ciaran McLoughlin was quickly on his feet trying to answer the point ; District Justice McMenamin adjourned the hearing to consider this and other legal matters raised.

When the case came before District Justice mcMenamin again in Donegal town on January 14th (1987), he again heard Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby question the validity of the Section 30 extension ; but Judge McMenamin dismissed the arguments and granted the extradition order. An appeal was immediately lodged in the High Court.

McIntyre’s case was becoming something of a cause celebre ; on March 10th (1987), when Leinster House met to elect a leader (‘Taoiseach’), Independent Donegal Leinster House member, Neil Blaney (pictured), demanded that the extradition arrangements between Britain and Ireland “be repealed so that in the interim a young county man of mine, by name McIntyre, be not extradited.” But when the case came before Mr Justice Gannon in the High Court in May 1987, Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby had further ‘ammunition’ – as well as the ruling in the McShane, McPhilips, Eccles (Drumree) case which included this phrase in relation to the person issuing extension orders –“is bona fide suspected by him of being involved in the offence for which he was arrested.”

Gageby had the additional support of a Supreme Court ruling of April 3rd (1987) which confirmed that a Chief Superintendent must give evidence of his suspicions when he is issuing an extension order ; it is not sufficient to confirm that he issues the order, he must say why. Patrick McEntee SC had been added to the defence team – McIntyre’s supporters were confident of victory. On the afternoon of 7th May 1987, Patrick McIntyre was freed, courtesy of a legal loophole which has since been closed ; the Provisionals had a motorbike waiting outside the courtroom and he was driven off at high speed and was within seconds in city centre traffic. Garda had eighteen further warrants in relation to Patrick McIntyre ; his extradition was still being sought by the British, but he was then on the run.

OTR Patrick McIntyre net with a journalist in a nondescript suburban room. His physical appearance has not altered since the Donegal court hearings – maybe he is a little less fidgety, but he speaks in a soft voice which frequently quivers. The sentiments are resolute. He was sleeping when the gardai came to the house in south Donegal, he says : “I gave the surname of the people who own the house but they didn’t believe me. They said I was Patrick McIntyre.” Yet the evidence given by gardai in court suggested that the prisoner was not positively identified until solicitor John Murray named him in Ballyshannon garda station. It was also stated that the detectives went to Kilcar after a ‘tip-off’ that an armed man or men had been seen in the area. It appears the gardai were not aware they would find Patrick McIntyre in the house. It has not been possible to establish whether they knew him by sight ; they seem to have ‘struck lucky’ – and then got the procedure wrong. As Patrick McIntyre says – “The situation I’m in now prevents me from walking around in this country. I am not wanted for anything in this jurisdiction ; I am being sought for things related to the British administration. If the Birmingham Six were in the 26 Counties now, they could and would be extradited. If the British issue warrants for any person’s extradition, the request will come before the Irish courts and the person opposing it must pay his own costs.”

The free legal aid scheme does not apply to extradition cases ; costs in the Patrick McIntyre case, expected to run into several thousand pounds, will be paid by Sinn Féin. Asked about his family and his future, Patrick McIntyre stares at the floor – “They let me out for three days to attend my mother’s funeral in March. I was told the best I could expect was to go there escorted, in handcuffs, but I fought the case for compassionate bail in the High Court and won. Then there was a rumour that the decision might be appealed by the state and I was thinking about that all the way during the journey from Dublin to Donegal. That was a shattering experience.

I tried to spend the three days with my family. There were thousands of people at the funeral and at the house. It was the first time that we had the family together for a long time, and we had photographs taken. I met a lot of people that I grew up with. Just before I left, my sister gave me a Saint Patrick’s Day card that my mother had written, to me, in Saint Luke’s Hospital…”

A knock comes to the door – it is time for him to go. What does he intend to do now?, I ask – “Make it third time lucky. Or at least stay out longer than the past two times…”, he replies.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

‘Letter to the Editor’, from The Secretary, Sinn Féin, Glasgow ;

‘Congratulations on your splendid fight in the Six Counties. Over 152,000 votes is a great achievement in such a short time and you fought in areas that had been shamefully neglected in the past. Mo ghoirm thú.

Go forward to the fight! Ireland surely could lose no more in battle than is pouring from her into the industrial slums of Britain, there to be lost forever to her, mentally and physically’.

Signed ‘Irish Exile’.

(END of ‘Splendid Fight’; NEXT – ‘In Memoriam’, from the same source.)


On the 6th January 1940 – 81 years ago on this date – the then Free State President, Douglas Hyde (pictured) stated that it was his intention to convene his ‘Council of State’ (this was the first such meeting ever of said body) to discuss a bill he was asked to sign, concerning an amendment to the heavy-handed ‘Offences Against the State Act 1939’, which would have allowed the Leinster House administration to intern Irish-born citizens in a move said to be necessary in the Free State’s fight against the IRA.

It should be noted that those who wanted that power fully intended to use it against men and women that they had fought side-by-side with only twenty years previously.

Two days later (ie on the 8th January 1940) the ‘Council’ held a meeting in a Free State residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park (behind closed doors, minutes not made public) following which Hyde announced that he was going to refer the proposed amendment/legislation to the Free State ‘Supreme Court’, stating that he also intended to seek a judgement on the ‘Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill 1940’ in its entirety. The ‘Supreme Court’ replied that, in its opinion, it was within the power and the authority ‘of the Oireachtas, consistent with the Constitution, to enact such legislation’. Hyde then signed the necessary paperwork, no doubt having convinced himself that he had done all in his power to prevent further injury to the republicans he would have associated with during his years as a member of the ‘Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language’, the ‘Gaelic League’ and the ‘Gaelic Journal’.

But easing your conscience isn’t the same as cleansing it.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

The Garda ‘Witnesses’ And The People They Accused :

Garda witnesses against the McBreartys included garda informer, William Doherty, who is well known to the gardai and has a long line of convictions for assault, larceny and other crimes. He was subsequently involved in making allegations that there was a bomb-making factory on the farm of elderly Donegal farmer, Alfie Gallagher and his family.

In 1997, 40 armed gardai and 200 (State) soldiers raided the farm and stayed there for three days and nights. Alfie Gallagher, recovering from a heart by-pass at the time, told ‘Magill’ – “They tore up over 200 young trees, turned the house upside down, and the helicopter frightened the ewes ; they were pregnant at the time and they ran into barbed wire and did a lot of damage to themselves. Most of them aborted. The raiders wouldn’t say what they were looking for. They put a machine-gun in my ribs when I went to feed the stock.”

Nothing was found at the Gallagher’s farm, and the family are adamant they had never been involved in political or criminal activities. In fact, Mrs Gallagher, a retired teacher, said her father was himself a member of the Garda Siochana. The Gallaghers are currently taking a case against the State. ‘Magill’ understands that the warrants authorising the search of the Gallaghers’ farm have gone missing… (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Two of the men arrested in connection with the Omagh Raid – Paddy Kearney and Eamon Boyce – are conductors on the CIE buses in Dublin and, immediately on hearing the news of their arrest, workers in the garages to which they were attached decided that they would make regular weekly collections in order to provide for the dependents of the two men. Both Mrs Boyce and Mrs Kearney, the mothers of the lads, are widows, and they greatly appreciate the kind offer of the busmen.

The Republican Aid Committee also wish to express publicly their real appreciation of the wonderful spirit of these workers and the very practical way in which they have come to the help of the dependants, thereby considerably easing the burden on An Cumann Cabrac.

(END of ‘Fellow-Workers Generous Gesture’ ; NEXT -‘Anti-Mau Officer Led British Army Search’, from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) was held in Dublin on Christmas Day last, albeit in a ‘bare bones’ format : we sadly and badly missed the usual craic and banter, the flag, banners, the music, the sing-songs, the ‘soup’, the Christmas crackers, the tables full of ‘goodies’, the silly hats etc etc, but the main attraction – the swim in the icy waters of the Grand Canal – did take place. And that was the main objective!

The lads and a much-reduced back-up team sampled sea-water for Cabhair on St Stephen’s Day in Wexford, for their 10th such sponsored swim ; a very ‘Well Done!’ to both sets of swimmers, and we know that both groups are hoping and looking forward to getting back to their usual formats this coming December. Ye all done Cabhair proud – GRMA!

Dublin, 25th December, 2020.

Wexford, 26th December, 2020.


Beannachtaí ar Lá Nollag na mBan!

January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or ‘Women’s Little Christmas’ : in celebration of the feast of the Epiphany in Ireland, January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or ‘Women’s Little Christmas’. On this day it is the tradition in Ireland for the women to get together and enjoy their own Christmas, while the men folk stay at home and handle all the chores. It is also common for children to buy their mothers and grandmothers presents on this day, though this custom is gradually being overtaken by ‘Mothers Day’.

I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.(Oscar Wilde)
Happy Nollaig na mBan to all our readers, especially the Ladies!


…we won’t be posting our usual contribution, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 9th/10th January 2021) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the ‘autopsy’ into same which will take place on Monday evening, 11th, via conference calls, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we’ll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday, 20th January 2021 and, in the meantime, you might read a few paragraphs from us here. See ye then!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

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