Women welcome sex abuser’s prison term

Abuse occurred in Ardoyne area in 70s and 80s

SENTENCED: Francis McDonnell was given a 12-year term at Downpatrick Crown Court for sexually abusing two children



Two women who were sexually molested as children yesterday welcomed a 12-year sentence handed to their abuser declaring “we’ve finally got our justice”.

Francis McDonnell was jailed for what Judge Geoffrey Millar QC described as a “very serious case of pre-meditated abuse of young children, sustained over a period of several years”.

The 63-year old, originally from North Belfast and with an address of Ardowen in Craigavon, Co Armagh faced two trials last year and was convicted by a jury of offences against both complainants.

As the grandfather-of-16 was being led into custody from the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court in handcuffs, he turned to both his victims and said ‘you may hope I die in jail’.

Before handing McDonnell the sentence, which will be divided between six years behind bars followed by six years on licence, Judge Miller said that despite being convicted by a jury following two trials, he continues to maintain his innocence.

McDonnell claimed that whilst one of the complainants had a vendetta against him, he couldn’t actually remember the other complainant.

He targeted and sexually abused both complainants in the Ardoyne area of Belfast in the late 70s and early 80s, the court heard. Although both women want to remain anonymous, they wanted McDonnell to be named for the first time and the public made aware of the crimes he committed against them as children.

One of the victims, who is now 47, was first targeted by McDonnell when she was four and was abused until she was 11. The abuse ended for a period but he targeted her again when she was aged 14/15 when he raped her in his home.

Reacting to the sentence, she said: “He always told me nobody would believe me, but the truth came out and he’s in jail now. He still gives me the same feeling now as he did when I was a child. I still freeze, I’m still afraid of him. I can’t believe he threatened us, even now.

“He took my childhood away from me and to this day what he did affects me. I don’t hug people, I don’t like anyone touching me. I’m glad he’s in prison now.”

The second complainant was first abused when she was three, and his campaign continue until her family moved from the area when she was seven. She is now 43.

She said: “I moved away from Belfast because of what happened to me for a long time, and I thought it would be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but it wasn’t.

“He ruined my life, he took my childhood away from me and I came back with the sole reason to get him for what he did. I went to Nexus in 2016 and now he’s locked up.

“He told us in court ‘you may hope I die in jail.’ Well, I hope he does.”

Peter Irvine QC, for the Crown, noted ten aggravating factors which included the vulnerability of both of McDonnell’s victims due to their young age, the “protracted” period of time the abuse occurred and also “the gap of four or five years before the offence of rape occurred”.

Mr Irvine also spoke of the lasting impact McDonnell’s actions have had on both women, and revealed McDonnell had previous convictions for abusing a five-year old and an eight-year old in the mid 80s.

Niall Hunt QC, representing McDonnell, said that since leaving school at 15, his client had a steady work record which included employment with the DoE.

He also told Judge Millar his client “is not in great health” which includes very poor eyesight.

Saying his client’s offending ended in the 80s, Mr Hunt added: “There are no further offences in the pipeline and no-one has suggested there is anything else hanging over him or waiting to come out.”

During yesterday’s sentencing, Judge Millar noted McDonnell’s continued denials and a lack of remorse. The Judge also said: “There can be no doubt that both complainants suffered trauma which has impacted on their development, childhood and into adulthood.”

Judge Millar handed McDonnell a 12-year sentence which he said was “justified and necessary” for the protection of the public. He also placed McDonnell on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period, and made him the subject of a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

With many thanks to: Belfast Live and Ashleigh McDonald for the original story 

Follow this link to find out more: https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/north-belfast-women-finally-justice-17673194

RUC/PSNI officer and member of the public hit by car at parade

Car hits police officer and member of public at parade

The incident happened on the Drumcree Road in Portadown, Co Armagh. Credit: Pacemaker


A police officer and a member of the public have been hit by a car at a parade at Drumcree Road in Portadown, Co Armagh.

The vehicle – a silver Seat Alhambra – made off without stopping after the incident shortly after 1pm on Sunday.

It comes after reports of the same car being driven dangerously through the town earlier in the day.

It was later found abandoned at Churchill Park and witnesses reported seeing three men making off on foot.

PSNI Inspector Brian Mills said: “Thankfully, the officer and member of the public were not seriously injured, but this incident could have been much worse.

“We are working to establish the identity of the driver of the car and I would ask anyone who can assist us with our enquiries to contact officers at Lurgan on 101.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

With many thanks to: UTV Live for the original story 

Tomorrow Wednesday 8th May, marks the 32nd anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs, when eight IRA volunteers gave their lives in the cause for Irish freedom. They were executed as the took on the British SAS in one to one combat in the village of Loughgall, Co Armagh.

The IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade was active mainly in eastern Co Tyrone and neighbouring parts of County Armagh

By the mid-1980s it had become one of the IRA’s most effective and professional Active Service Units. Members of the unit, such as Jim Lynagh and Pádraig McKearney, advocated a strategy of destroying bases and preventing them being rebuilt or repaired, thus “denying ground” to forces of the occupation.

In 1985, Patrick Joseph Kelly became its commander and began implementing the strategy. In the subsequent years it carried out two major attacks on RUC bases often described as “spectaculars”.

The first was an attack on the RUC barracks in Ballygawley on 7 December 1985, in which two RUC personnel were executed. The second was an attack on an RUC base at The Birches on 11 August 1986. In both attacks, the bases were raked with heavy gunfire and then wiped out with a bomb. In the attack at The Birches, they had breached the base’s perimeter fence with a digger that had a bomb in its bucket. The operation being a huge success, they planned to use the same tactic in an attack on the lightly-manned Loughgall base.

The IRA’s attack involved two teams. One team would drive a digger with a bomb in its bucket through the base’s perimeter fence and set it to detonate. At the same time, the other team would arrive in a van and lay down heavy fire on the base, with the goal of wiping out the base and any occupation forces inside.

Both teams would then disengage and leave the area in the van. To avoid security checkpoints, the bomb was ferried by boat across Lough Neagh, from Ardboe to Maghery. The van and digger that would be used were hijacked in the hours leading up to the attack. The van, a blue Toyota HiAce, was stolen by masked men from a business in Dungannon. The digger was taken from a farm at Lislasly Road, about two miles west of Loughgall. Two IRA members stayed at the farm to stop the owners raising the alarm. IRA Volunteer Declan Arthurs drove the digger, while two others drove ahead of him in a scout car. The rest of the unit travelled in the van from another location, presumably also with a scout car.

The IRA unit arrived in Loughgall from the northeast shortly after 7PM. All were heavily armed, carrying H&K G3 rifles, one FN FAL rifle, two FN FNC rifles, a Franchi SPAS-12T shotgun and a Ruger Security-Six revolver. Wearing bulletproof vests, boilersuits, gloves and balaclavas, the digger drove past the police station, turned and drove back again with the Toyota van doing the same, ostensibly to check if the coast was clear. Members of the unit felt that something was amiss, and debated whether to continue, but decided to go ahead with the attack. Tony Gormley and Gerard O’Callaghan got out of the van and joined Declan Arthurs on the digger, supposedly “literally riding shotgun”, with weapons in one hand and a lighter in the other.

At about 7:15, Declan Arthurs drove the digger towards the base. In the front bucket was 200–400 lb of semtex inside an oil drum, partially hidden by rubble and wired to two 40-second fuses. The rest of the unit followed in the van with Eugene Kelly driving, unit commander Patrick Kelly in the passenger seat whilst in the rear were Jim Lynagh, Pádraig McKearney, and Seamus Donnelly. The digger crashed through the fence and the fuses were lit. The van stopped a short distance ahead and the team jumped out and began laying down fire on the building. At the same time, the bomb detonated, destroying the digger along with much of the building, and injuring three members of the occupation forces.

Within seconds, the SAS returned fire from hidden ambush positions in and around the station. 600 spent cartridge cases from the SAS were recovered with approximately 125 bullet holes in the bodywork of the van. The IRA Active Service Unit returned fire, commencing a heavy gun battle.

The eight IRA Volunteers were cut down in the hail of gunfire; all had multiple wounds and were shot in the head. Declan Arthurs was shot in a laneway opposite Loughgall Football Club premises unarmed without a firearm in his vicinity except for a cigarette lighter close to his right hand. A number of the wounded IRA members were shot dead as they lay on the ground after the gun battle. The IRA members in the scout cars escaped.

Two civilians travelling in a car were also shot by the SAS. The two brothers, Anthony and Oliver Hughes, were driving home in a white Citroen. About 130 yards from the base, SAS members opened fire on them from behind, killing Anthony and badly wounding Oliver. The Citroen had approximately 34 bullet holes.

The villagers had not been told of the British operation and no attempt had been made to evacuate anyone, or to seal off the ambush zone, as this might have alerted the IRA.

The Loughgall Martyrs were galant and brave heroes, who did not shirk from their responsibilites when it came to opposing the occupation. We remember them with pride.

With many thanks to: Irnc/Irpc Tyrone for the original story 

Troubles inquests which could be affected by RUC/PSNI disclosure revelations

Henry Thornton (29) was shot dead by a British soldier in West Belfast in August 1971

COMPLETED inquests which could be impacted by the revelation the PSNI did not disclose military intelligence material in its possession since 2007.

Henry Thornton (29), from Silverbridge, Co Armagh, was working in west Belfast in August 1971 when he was shot dead by a solider close to Springfield Road RUC station after the van he was driving backfired.
The British army issued a statement claiming that two shots had been fired from the van, and the original inquest returned an open verdict.

Following a fresh inquest coroner Brian Sherrard found in June 2016 that the shooting of the father-of-six was not “necessary, reasonable or proportionate”. His widow Mary welcomed the findings.

Mary Thornton (widow) and Damian Thornton (son) of Henry Thornton
Barney Watt (28) was shot dead during rioting in Ardoyne in February 1971, with British soldiers claiming he was throwing a device at military personel.

In April 2017 coroner Joe McCrisken said he was “satisfied, based upon the evidence available to me at inquest, that Barney Watt was not the man described by the soldiers holding the explosive device”. Mr Watt’s widow Teresa said at the time she was glad to have her husband’s name cleared.

Joseph Parker (25) was fatally shot in the thighs after a patrol of soldiers entered a dance at Toby’s Hall in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in December 1971. He had an 18-month-old daughter and his wife was heavily pregnant at the time.
In November last year coroner Joseph McCrisken said he was “satisfied that the force used against Joseph Parker was not justified since he posed no threat to members of the patrol”. His wife Dorothy died before the inquest was completed.

Toby’s Hall

Joseph Parker was shot dead at Toby’s dance hall (pictured above) in Ardoyne in north Belfast in 1971
Marian Brown (17) was shot in the neck moments after kissing her boyfriend goodnight at Roden Street in Belfast in June 1972. The teen, who was pregnant at the time, was struck by a stray bullet amid an alleged exchange of gunfire between an army patrol and at least one paramilitary gunman.
Following a fresh inquest, Judge David McFarland is due to deliver his findings in the case later this year.

17-year-old Marian Brown was shot dead in West Belfast in 1972

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story

Irish Republican’s early release license revoked

THE Department of Justice has revoked the early release license of a Co Armagh republican freed from prison in August.

Gabriel Mackie Internerned at ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ for no other reason than having republican belief’s. Internment is alive and well today in the ‘Occupied Six Counties’ in the ‘North of Ireland’.

Gabrel Mackle was detained at his South Armagh home on Thursday evening.

It is understood he was later transferred to Maghaberry Prison. Originally from Tandragee, Co Armagh, he was jailed for eight years in April 2014 after pleading guilty to two charges of possessing explosive substances and possession of ammunition with intent.

The 44-year-old took part in a Republican Sinn Féin-organised commeration at Edentubber in Co Louth last weekend, during which he delivered an oration. In March this year Mackie was placed in ‘solatairey confinement’ at Maghaberry Goal after a dispute with other republican inmates with prison staff inside Maghaberry.

His solicitor Fearhal Shiels said his client intends to fight his detention. “He is strenuously denies having breached any conditions of his license and his return to custody shall be vigorously challenged through the courts,” he said.

Des Dalton President of Republican Sinn Féin

Republican Sinn Féin President Does Dalton (pictured above), described Mackle’s detention as “Internment”. “Gabriel Mackie is being interned for no other reason than his adherence to his republican beliefs,” he said. A spokesman for the Department of Justice (DoJ) said: “We do not comment on individual cases. “Requests to revoke a license are independently reviewed by a Parole Commissioner, who will submit a recommendation to revoke/not revoke the license to the Department of Justice.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story.

RUC/PSNI make first loyalist arrests under terrorism laws on crackdown on the UDA in West Belfast.

Storm Ophelia exsposes the face of UDA recruits

UDA searches: Four men arrested and ammunition and drugs seized. 

The men, aged 24, 32, 34 and 36, were arrested in the north of the city on suspicion of being UDA members.

Paramilitary uniforms, drugs, a gun holster and ammunition were seized during a two-day operation which included 13 searches in north Belfast, Holywood, Co Down, and Portadown, Co Armagh.
UDA ties, badges and flags were also seized, along with steroids, cannabis, mobile phones and tablets.
Two of the men, aged 34 and 36, have been released pending a report to prosecutors over UDA membership. The 36-year-old man will also be reported for supplying class C drugs.
The 24-year-old man and the 32-year-old man remained in custody last night.
Detective Inspector Heather Whoriskey appealed to anyone with information about paramilitaries to contact police.
“I understand that people feel afraid to speak out against these paramilitaries, but police need information from local people – as we will act on information we receive,” she said. “It may not always be visible and immediate but please be assured that every piece of information is assessed and acted on.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News. 

Today marks the 26th Anniversary Eileen, Katrina and Brian murdered by loyalists.

Today marks the 26th Anniversary of the mobile shop shooting in Craigavon, Co Armagh

3 young innocent people were murdered by loyalists.

Eileen Duffy 19-years-old

Katrina Rennie 16-years-old.

Brian Frizzell 29-years-old.

Ireland Will never forget them.

With many thanks to: Shane Ryan O’Hanley – Irish and Palestinian Internationalist Solidarity.


Saturday 14th November 2015, Cardinal Ó Fiaich Library & Archive, 15 Moy Road, Co Armagh.



http:// https://m.facebook.com/298089060237150/photos/a.298830516829671.66854.298089060237150/945028322209884/?type=3&source=57&ref=m_notif&notif_t=like

With many thanks to: The History Festival of Ireland: –
http:// https://m.facebook.com/The-History-Festival-of-Ireland-298089060237150/?ref=m_notif&notif_t=like

The Sworn Statement of Kevin Geard Barry, 28th October 1920.

I, Kevin Barry, of 58 South Circular Road, in the County of Dublin, Medical Student, aged 18 years and upwards solemnly and sincerely declare as follows:

Kevin Gerard Barry 20/01/1902 - Executed 01/11/1920. Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann - RIP


With many thanks to: Thomas Harte Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin Co Armagh:
http:// https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=921832141239680&id=100002387094442&set=a.107591679330401.15719.100002387094442&source=57#!/thomasharte.cumann

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