On this day 1987, in an SAS ambush, eight volunteers of Óglaigh Na hÉireann and a civilian lost their lives outside the Loch gCál RUC barracks.
The eight Volunteers were all from the East Tyrone Brigade, Óglaigh Na hÉireann.
Óglach Declan Arthurs, Óglach Seamus Donnelly, Óglach Tony Gormley, Óglach Eugene Kelly, Óglach Patrick Kelly, Óglach Jim Lynagh, Óglach Padraig McKearney and Óglach Gerard O’ Callaghan.
With many thanks to: James Connolly.
Two Irish soldiers snatched from the ranks of Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) by their own personal battles.
The only fitting monument to both is to ensure their dream is erected as a reality.
Rest in Peace Óglaigh Henry McErlean agus Dermot McCoy
With many thanks to: RNU – Revolutionay Republicanism.
‘This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not – Sir Declan Morgan.
A DERRY man given a suspended jail sentence for being the masked flag bearer in a republican parade was never properly identified, the Court of Appeal has heard. Lawyers for Patrick John McDaid argued that experts in facial mapping and image comparison techniques were not certain he had been the man pictured in a balaclava.
McDaid is seeking to overturn his conviction for managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation. The 43-year-old, then of Beechwood Avenue in Derry, was sentenced in May to 16 months in prison, suspended for three years, after a judge decided he was ‘Man X’ carrying an Irish tricolour at the front of the march. A seven-strong, masked colour party had headed a parade close to republican graves in the City Cemetery in Derry on Easter Sunday 2011. The commemoration, organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32 CSM), involved a speech being made on behalf of the Real IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH).
As well as the photographs and facial mapping evidence, the judge in the non-jury trail in Belfast Crown Court heard how police later seized a document which purported to be minutes of a meeting to organise the march. It included the reference: ‘Colour party – McDaid to get people sorted’. But judges in the Court of Appeal were told on Tuesday that nothing more than a surname was found. Kieran Mallon QC, for McDaid, also challenged the strength of the evidence from an expert who noted striking similarities in the lips and eyes of his client and Man X. “It’s our contention there was not established any form of meaningful identification,” he said. “On balance he cannot say the accused and Mr X were one and the same person, primarily because there was no statistical database against which he could test an individual with that type of eye colour or lip shape.” Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan, sitting with Lords Justice Girvan and Coghlin, drew his attention to two other strands of the prosecution case: McDaids name being on the organising document and his participation in previous events. Mr Mallon accepted there would have been clear suspicions, but contended this fell short of proof. Sir Declan then alluded to McDaid’s failure to give any evidence at trial. “This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not,” he said. Judgment in the appeal was reserved.
With thanks to: The Irish News
- ‘Facial mappers’ ID man accused of being lead flag bearer in republican parade new Facial mappers used photograph comparison techniques to identify a masked man accused of being the lead flag bearer in a republican parade, a judge heard today. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Face mapping ‘identifies masked man’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Masked dissident and defendant the same, court is told (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Republican parade masked flag bearer never properly identified’ – court hears (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
Police urge public to review own photos.
A senior PSNI officer said detectives hunting the dissident republicans behind the Belfast city centre bombing had captured an image of a male following an extensive trawl through CCTV footage from the scene. However, despite originally saying the image would be made public, hours later a police spokesman said they were not ready to release it. There was speculation on Monday night that the image is not of the individual suspected of leaving the device on the footpath, but someone else potentially involved in the dissident operation. It is understood legal issues – one being the apparent young age of the male photographed – could prevent its release. Assistant chief constable Will Kerr, who made the announcement that an image of the suspect had been identified, said the male could also have been caught on other camera. He said that “active community information” was important to finding those responsible and urged the public to review any photographs or videos taken on Friday evening as they may have unwittingly taken a picture of those involved.”If they are in any doubt contact us and let detectives screen through the footage, let us have a look at it and see if it can help the investigations – it is very important that they do.”
The 60kg device was left outside Salt Bistro at St Anne’s Square and exploded less than an hour after the alarm had been raised. The bomb warning was rreceived by The Irish News from someone claiming to represent dissident republican group Oghlaigh na hEireann (ONH). Mr Kerr on Monday joined PSNI cheif constable Matt Baggott and Belfast lord mayor Martin O’Muilleoir on a walkabout in Belfast city centre, visiting the scene of Friday’s blast and touring the Continental Market at city hall. Speaking to the media at city hall, Mr Baggott said those responsible for the bomb were “clearly intent”, but added that they would not succeed in dragging Belfast and the North of Ireland back to the past. “These groups are simply reckless, their actions are despicable,” he said. “To bring a bomb into a city centre in the lead up to Christmas is beyond belief really, that is why we do need (public help) – any single piece of information could make a difference to us. “We are determined to bring these people to justice.” He added that police were doing everything they could to keep the city safe, but could not provide a total guarantee that there would not be another attack. There has been speculation that a group of senior police who were on a nighr out in Cathedral Quarter may have been the intended targets of the bomb. However, Mr Kerr on Monday night said “at this stage” there was “nothing to suggest” that was the case. He described the bomb as a “functional device that could have killed” and said while tests were still being carried out, initial examinations suggested it had exploded entirely.
With many thanks to: Suzanne McGonagle, The Irish News.
- Video: Police consider releasing CCTV image of dissident republican Belfast city centre bomb suspect (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Camera clue over city bomb attack (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- CCTV may have film of cathedral bomb suspect (newsletter.co.uk)
- Belfast Bag Bomb: Hunt For Man In Hooded Top (news.sky.com)
- Video: Police hunt suspect over dissident republican Belfast city centre bomb (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
Senior officers were targets of ONH device
THE rebel IRA were trying to murder cops with a fireball bomb carried into Belfast city centre on Friday night. The sports bag bomb, packed with inflammable material according to police on Saturday, was abandoned short of its target, according to our sources.
Sources in Belfast’s Ardoyne, where the incendiary device originated, say the bomb, which partially exploded, was meant to mimic the IRA fire bomb attack on the La Mon House Hotel in February 1978 which murdered 12 people. The Sunday World learned on Saturday that a posse of top police officers – up to a dozen strong, were out for their Christmas ‘do’ just 100 metres from where the lethal firebomb in a Slazenger sports bag was left.
One source said: “They got an emergency call just minutes before a squad of police rushed in to evacuate the whole of the St Anne’s Square pub/restaurant area in the heart of Cathedral Quarter, packed with pre-Christmas party revellers. “They immediately left the premises. But they were the targets. The dissident bombers knew who they were, and where they were.” In fact, the explosive sports bag was abandoned just 100 metres from where the police officers were sitting down for a meal and a drink. On Saturday, the PSNI staged a hastily convened press conference where it was stated that the bomb which partially exploded could have killed anyone nearby. Dissident republican group, Oglaigh na hEireann, later said they were responsible. Police said the explosion at Exchange Street West at about a quarter to seven on Friday night could have caused multiple deaths. The bomb went off as the area was being cleared. No-one was injured in the attack. Police said the bomb was fully functional and consisted of explosives and flammable liquid. It was in a sports bag and was left on a street about 150 metres away from the spot identified in a warning call made to a newspaper office. That was also just round the corner from where the off-duty police officers were having their Christmas party.
Even when they evacuated the restaurant they were in, they would have walked straight into the abandoned bomb. About 1,000 people were affected by the alert in Cathedral Quarter, which is one of the main entertainment venues in Belfast. On Saturday First Minister Peter Robinson said this was an “attack on democracy”. “We are witnessing the work of a mindless minority who are intent on taking the heart out of the city and wreaking havoc on the lives and businesses of the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland,” he said. Deputy First Minister (J116) Martin McGuinness (The Fisherman) said the bombers showed “a complete disregard for life”. “Their actions have done nothing to move our society forward but, instead, have caused distress to local residents, disruption to Christmas revellers and loss of revenue for surrounding businesses,” he said. At Saturday’s Press conference at the PSNI’s Brooklyn HQ in Belfast, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said: “This device was fully functional. It could have injured or killed members of the public and it has similarities to previous devices used by dissident republicans. “I would like to make a direct appeal to people who were in the area on Friday night and ask them did they see a male wearing a black hoidie carrying a black Slazenger bag in and around 6pm. “If they saw this person or anybody acting suspiciously I would appeal to them to come forward to detectives. “We are working very hard to keep Belfast safe and we will continue to do that but we need the community to be vigilant. We want them to go about their normal businness and support the premises in the town but be vigilant and if they see anything suspicious in the town don’t hesitate to lift the phone and tell us.” On Saturday and Saturday night it was ‘business as usual’ in Cathedral Quarter.
Dermot and Catherine Regan, owners of the Potted Hen restaurant close to the scene of the eexplosion said they were grateful for public support. “Thankfully no one was injured and there was no physical damage to the area. We are back to normal service from lunchtime on Sunday and will be contacting everyone who had booked for last night and whose evening entertainment was ruined,” they said. And Storming Shame Fein Sports and Culture Minister Caral Ni Chilin certainly voted with her feet. She visited the Cathedral Quarter in an unofficial capacity on Saturday evening, had a drink in a bar there, and when asked if she was giving a vote of confidence to the area after the Friday night bomb fright, said: “That’s why I’m here.”
- Bomb explosion in Belfast as Christmas revellers evacuated from city centre (theguardian.com)
- Belfast City Centre Bomb Fully Exploded, Say Police (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- PSNI hunt man after Belfast explosion (irishtimes.com)
- Video: Police hunt suspect over dissident republican Belfast city centre bomb (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Dissident republicans claim responsibility for Belfast bomb (upi.com)
GARDA commissioner Martin Calli an has warned paramilitary trappings will not be tolerated at any funerals in the Republic. He was speaking ahead of the funeral of Seamus McKenna (58) who died after falling from scaffolding while working on the roof of a property near Dundalk last week.
A member of Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), Mr McKenna, was one of five men sued by relatives of some of the 29 people killed by the 1998 Omagh bomb which was carried out by the now defunct Real IRA. OOriginally from Silver bridge in Co Armagh, he was sentenced to six years for constructing a bomb in Co Louth in 2003.
Although not speaking specifically about McKenna’s funeral, commissioner Callinan said no paramilitary displays will be tolerated. Garda came in for criticism last year when masked men fired a volley of shots over the coffin of murdered republican Alan Ryan in Dublin. Uniformed men also flanked a hearse carrying the 32-year-old’s remains through the city. McKenna’s funeral is to be held in Ravensdale, Co Louth tommorow.
With many thanks to : The Irish News.
- FAMILIES OF IRA MEN EXECUTED BY THE SAS IN DERRY,TODAY ACCUSE MARTIN McGUINNESS OF BETRAYAL (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Black flags fly as dissident accused of Omagh atrocity dies in scaffold fall (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Shatter says Cabinet has signed off on Garda recruitment (irishtimes.com)
- IRA tribute to be banned from McKenna funeral (talkofthetown.ie)
- Omagh bomb suspect McKenna dies after fall (talkofthetown.ie)
- Onh Gang Behind West Belfast Shootings (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Arms Seized in Searches (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Omagh Bomber Can ‘Rot in Hell’, Says Victim’s Dad (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Garda Commissioner expresses ‘regret’ at handling of abuse claims in Murphy report (irishtimes.com)
(Suzanne Breen, Sunday World)
Two of the most respected republican families in McGuinness’s native city say they’re disgusted that he has “disowned” IRA members who laid down their lives for the republican cause.
Martina Duffy, whose IRA father Patsy died in a hail of SAS bullets, said: “Martin McGuinness has abandoned the IRA and criminalised its members as he desperately tries to woo Southern voters in the presidential election.
“He says the Irish Army is the only Oglaigh na hEireann he supports. It’s a pity, he didn’t tell that years ago to the dozens of volunteers in another Oglaigh na hEireann who now lie dead in Derry city cemetery.
“They’re in their graves while he wants to live in luxury in Aras an Uachtarain.”
Duffy claimed IRA families in McGuinness’s own republican heartland in Derry were horrified at the “u-turns” he was doing during the election campaign.
She said McGuinness had “criminalised” her father and other IRA martyrs in a desperate attempt to get elected. “He should hang his head in shame for what he’s done,” she added.
Patsy Duffy (50) was shot dead by the SAS in 1978 as he checked an arms’ dump in a house in the Brandywell. “The SAS fired 36 bullets at him. He was shot in the back and the side. He was unarmed but our family never complained because, as an IRA volunteer, he knew the risks involved,” his daughter said.
Her father’s jacket, shirt, cardigan and trousers were riddled with bullet holes. Duffy washed the blood out of them but refused to part with the clothes. Today, they are lovingly stored in her Derry home. “I keep them to remind me what daddy went through for the IRA,” she said.
She told the Sunday World how McGuinness had attended her father’s wake and funeral. “He told us he was proud of IRA men like my daddy. He saw the Oglaigh na hEireann my father fought and died for as the one and only Oglaigh na hEireann. He didn’t even recognise, let alone, respect the Free State Army.
“Now he’s swearing allegiance to them and singing their praises. He’s got 40 faces – a different one for everybody he meets.” And Martina Duffy added: “Martin McGuinness has told voters he’s ashamed of some IRA actions and thinks they were murder.
“Well, genuine republicans in Derry are ashamed of him. He’s portraying himself as Ireland’s Nelson Mandela. He says he’s a man of peace and always was. Who does he think he’s kidding? It’s a joke, a sick joke.”
Accusing McGuinness of treachery, Duffy said: “For decades, he stood at the republican monument in Derry city cemetery giving orations as IRA men were buried and vowing the war would go on until there was a united Ireland.
“Hundreds of young men and women in this city believed him and ended up in graves themselves or the lucky ones were jailed. And those prisoners came out to wrecked marriages, children who grew up not knowing them, no jobs and no chance of a job.
“McGuinness has left us to cope with the wreckage of the war while he pursues power and position. All he’s out for is himself.”
Duffy’s mother struggled to cope after her husband’s death: “Mammy was left to rear six wee children on her own. I’m glad she’s dead now because it would have broken her heart to see Martin McGuinness do a u-turn and criminalise his old comrades.
“It’s not just IRA victims who are furious at McGuinness – republicans like my family are just as angry.” Duffy denounced the Sinn Féin presidential candidate for saying he’d meet Prince Charles, commander-in-chief of the parachute regiment which killed 14 civilians on Bloody Sunday. “It’s like a bad dream,” she said.
She added that she now respected John Hume far more than McGuinness: “People, including my mother, protested outside John Hume’s house years ago for saying a lot less anti-republican things than Martin McGuinness has since said.
“John Hume is a man of principle. I don’t agree with his politics but he stayed true to himself and his beliefs – he didn’t change them when it became opportune.”
Danny McBrearty, whose IRA brother George was killed in May 1981 by the SAS in Derry, said: “Martin McGuinness was at George’s funeral and wake. Had he said then that my brother was wrong and that the IRA wasn’t Oglaigh na hEireann, he’d have been thrown out of our house.”
George McBrearty is widely regarded as being one of the IRA’s most active members in Derry. He was responsible for killing several RUC men and British soldiers. “Martin McGuinness knew George very well army-wise,” said Danny McBrearty.
“He was fully aware of what George was capable of and he didn’t have a problem with it. Yet now he’s turning his back on men like my brother. George was 24-years-old when he was killed. He left behind three children – the youngest was only three weeks old.
“Republican families like ours are now asking what it was all for not just in terms of our own loss and sacrifice but on what we inflicted on our enemy. More than 3,500 people died in the war. As republicans, we thought we were fighting for Irish freedom. We certainly weren’t fighting to make Martin McGuinness head of the 26-county state.”
Danny McBrearty – himself jailed in Ireland, Britain and the US on IRA charges – has known McGuinness for over 40 years: “We worked together as young lads in Doherty’s butchers’ shop on the Strand Road.
“We were in the IRA together in the 1970s. We were very close. I always thought of Martin as a sound army man, totally committed to the struggle. Never in a million years did I think he’d end up where he is today. He’s a constitutional nationalist, not a republican now.”
McBrearty added: “People went to hell and back for the IRA in this city. Martin has turned his back on all that and he’s even trying to rewrite history and pretend he wasn’t part of it. The families of dead volunteers in Belfast, Tyrone and all over the North are very disillusioned at what’s happened. They feel hurt and abandoned.”
The Sinn Féin candidate has refused to rule out wearing a poppy on Remembrance Sunday if he’s elected President. “You wont find any republicans in Derry doing the same,” McBrearty said. “For us, the poppy isn’t a neutral symbol to honour the dead. It is, and always will be, a symbol of British oppression.”
The ex-IRA man said he personally knew no former comrades who supported McGuinness’s presidential bid. “The only ones backing it are MLAs and others who have well-paid positions in Sinn Féin or who belong to the party’s middle-management. The ordinary volunteers who put their lives on the line and fought the war are appalled.”
- OGLACH RAYMOND McCREESH 21 MAY 1981 R.I.P (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The Butcher Of The Bogside: Ulster’s Deputy First Minister And His Bloody Past. (ulsternews.wordpress.com)
- Outrage at “Provos hero” comment (newsletter.co.uk)
- Seven Dublin men charged with membership of illegal organisation (irishtimes.com)
- Threat of terrorism in Northern Ireland ‘will last for years’ (independent.co.uk)
- Cartoon: The Queen’s Historic Handshake (englishblog.com)