Convicted IRA bomber charged with historic child sex offences

Woman abused as child by stepmother praised for role in changing ‘unfair’ redress law

A CHILD victim of horrific abuse has been praised for her part in changing the law on compensation payments.

Mary Meehan who was abused by her stepmother Briege McLaughlin – holds a family picture,
Mary Meehan was abused as a child by her stepmother Briege McLaughlin. She was originally refused compensation because of the ‘same house-hold’ rule. Under legislation dating back to 1969, payouts were not made in cases where the abuser and perpetrator lived in the same home. The law was changed in 1988 but not backdated. This was successfully challenged in the High Court by Ms Meehan in 2018. Justice Minister Naomi Long on Tuesday June 9th announced the removal of the ‘same household’ rule. This now allows fresh applications for criminal injuries compensation for victims of abuse and violent crime who were previously excluded. 

“I recognise the impact this had on all victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker”
Naomi Long


“The same household rule was unfair and I recognise the impact on all victims whose applications were refused simply because they lived with their attacker,” the Alliance minister said. Amending the law will bring the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (NICICS) into line with Britain. Applications for retrospective payments should be made within two years. “The payment can never fully compensate for the injuries suffered, but it is recognition of the pain and suffering of victims who experienced abuse and violence perpetrated by members of their own household,” Mrs Long said.

Follow this link to find out more about Breige McLaughlin (Meehan) -:

Ms Meehan waived her right to anonymity in The Irish News back in 2009, having made a complaint to the PSNI/RUC the previous year about her stepmother. A daughter of prominent republican Martin Meehan, who died suddenly in 2007, she had been subjected to around 15 months of almost constant daily physical and mental abuse at the hands of McLaughlin (Meehan) from the age of nine. She was eventually taken into care in 1980, underweight, covered in bruises and with patches of hair missing. The former Newtownabby Sinn Féin councillor pleaded guilty to two assaults and child cruelty and neglect between July 1979 and October 1980. Seven counts of alleged sexual abuse were left on the books.

ABUSE: Above Left, former Sinn Fein councillor leaves Belfast Crown Court yesterday after she was given a suspended sentente for child cruelty and assault against her stepdaughter Mary. Above left, Martin Meehan. Above right, Kevin Meehan speaks outside Belfast Crown Court yesterday on behalf of his sister Mary.

She was given a suspended sentence on the basis of her age, guilty pleasure and perceived low risk to the public. Ms Meehan would have been entitled to a criminal injury payment had she not lived with her abuser. However, the antiquated ‘same roof’ policy led to her being refused compensation. That was overturned on appeal by Lord Justice Treacy in November 2018 when he said: “We can think of no reasonable foundation for a decision to maintain in being an arbitrary exclusion of this proven victim of criminal injuries from a compensation scheme which is specifically designed to compensate such victims.”

Victim Support NI chief executive Geraldine Hanna on Tuesday June 9th praised the actions of Mary Meehan in pursuing the change to the law. “I am delighted that this discriminatory clause in the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme has finally been removed. “It has caused unimaginable hurt and pain to the victims of childhood abuse. Children do not have a choice over where they live – they cannot remove themselves from the home and live independently in order to escape the abuse. “By remaining in the household they are not consenting to the abuse they experienced – they simply had no other choice. This abuse will have affected them throughout their lives. 

“We would encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for this compensation to contact us for independent information and support. “We thank all those who have long campaigned for this change, in particular the victims whose successful legal challenges in 2018 led to the abolition of this rule.” Speaking to The Irish News, Ms Meehan said: “I am delighted that the law has been changed and no-one else will have to through what I have. It’s been a very long journey and a stressful time. “I hope that other victims, who were maybe afraid to come forward, will see this new law and know that things have changed, hopefully for the better.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Allison Morris for the original story 


Boris Johnson should not bully Dublin over Brexit because the Irish Government has information which could damage the Royal Family


Lord Louis Mountbatton

It is a near certainty that the Irish Government has files which show that Joseph Mains, the Warden of Kincora, brought a number of boys to Lord Louis Mountbatten’s castle in the Republic of Ireland for sexual abuse. One of the boys killed himself a few months later.

Last December Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had to slap down Priti Patel, now serving as Britain’s Home Secretary, when she threatened the Republic with food shortages if the Irish Government did not drop demands for the Irish backstop. Varadkar reminded Patel of the starvation that had engulfed Ireland in the 19th century and said he hoped she would think more carefully about what she said in the future.

The coalface of Brexit negotiations: Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar

If Britain tries to bully the Republic over Brexit, or deploy dirty tricks, Dublin could retaliate by releasing damaging information which its police force holds about Lord Mountbatten.

If Britain does not get what it wants out of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations with the EU, Anglo-Irish relations could deteriorate again. However, the Irish Government may hold a file which could be used to severely embarrass the British Establishment if Johnson decides to play a heavy hand, e.g. by deploying the army of dirty trick experts in MI5 and MI6 at his disposal.

Starving the Irish into submission: Priti Patel who wanted to threaten Ireland with starvation

Boris Johnson deems her a suitable person to serve as Home Secretary. As such, she is now in political control of MI5.


Last August Village published an article revealing that a boy abused by Lord Louis Mountbatten in August of 1977 committed suicide a few months later. He had been taken by car to Classiebawn, Mountbatten’s castle in the Republic of Ireland from Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast. The man responsible for trafficking him was Joseph Mains, the Warden of Kincora, also a paedophile.

Mains was a British agent and an asset of both MI5 (Home Office) and MI6 (Foreign Office). Mains had to cross the Irish Border to get to Classiebawn.


Village also revealed that the British historian Andrew Lownie had sought the Garda file on the assassination of Mountbatten in August of 1979 while preparing a book on the Mountbattens. Lownie was rebuffed politely. His book has since become an international bestseller and was listed by the Daily Mail as one of the best biographies of 2019.

Lownie’s book contained interviews with two other boys who were abused by Mountbatten.

Since the publication of his book, Lownie has asked the Gardaí to release the logs they made of the vehicles which visited Classiebawn

They emailed Lownie on 7 October 2019 stating that files ‘generated during the course of a criminal investigation’ are considered confidential and hence they would not be releasing them. It is significant that they did not deny that the logs still exist.

Garda Email to Andrew Lownie dated 7th October 2019

Lownie responded by pointing out that the logs he was looking for related to August 1977, i.e. two years prior to Mountbatten’s assassination. There could not have been an investigation of a ‘criminal’ nature in 1977 into an assassination that did not take place until 1979.

The Gardai did not – and clearly have no intention of – releasing the logs.

Dogged researcher: Andrew Lownie


The Mains’ log (or indeed logs) are political dynamite, even forty years on, especially with the Royal Family reeling from the Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

Prince Andrew with with convicted Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Boris Johnson should be told in no uncertain terms that MI5 and MI6 are despised in the Republic and it would be folly to unleash them to spy on, bully or coerce the Irish government during Brexit negotiations; most particularly, they should not use their influence in the media – on either side of the Irish Sea – to besmirch Irish politicians. Village has evidence that one of the most senior media figures in Ireland was an ally of MI6. That particular individual (who gave money to Dr Martin O’Donoghue which the latter used to attempt to bribe two Cabinet ministers – Sean Doherty and Ray MacSharry in the 1980s) has faded from the scene but it is unlikely he was not replaced. Village has referred to him in the past as the ‘Paymaster’.

Bribery and corruption: Dr Martin O’Donoghue (left) who offered bribes to Fianna Fail ministers Ray MacSharry (centre) and Sean Doherty (right) to oust Charles Haughey as Taoiseach in 1982

The money was to be made available by ‘The Paymaster’, an MI6 asset in the Republic if the two ministers agreed. Both men rejected the inducement. A copy of the transcript of the attempt by O’Donoghue to bribe MacSharry emerged in 1983. It ended O’Donoghue’s political career save for some work he did for Des O’Malley’s Progressive Democrats.
British spies and their agents are also blamed by all and sundry in Ireland for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 which led to the death of 33 people; the atrocious Miami Showband massacre; the egregious assassination of the solicitor Patrick Finucane in 1989; and a multitude of other acts of violence and dirty tricks.


The Irish Government has traditionally viewed the British Embassy as a ‘nest of spies’. The most senior of politicians have never doubted that MI5 and MI6 recruited a host of treacherous agents inside the Gardai and the Irish civil service to let London know what they were doing.

Taoiseach Jack Lynch was convinced his administration was being betrayed by a traitor to PM Edward Heath’s government and asked Chief Superintendent John Fleming of the Special Branch to root out what he – Lynch – described as a ‘spy in the camp’. Lynch later alluded to the possibility British agents bombed Dublin in 1972 (a separate attack to the Dublin and Monaghan massacre).

A matter of trust: Liam Cosgrave who didn’t ‘trust the Brits’ and Garret Fitzgerald who was too trusting

Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave once told one of his ministers ‘Never trust the Brits’ before he set off to an EEC meeting.

Taoiseach Charles Haughey was utterly convinced MI5 and MI6 plotted to topple him

There is a mountain of evidence that they did. Also view organisations such as The British-Irish Association as an MI5/6 intelligence gathering operation.

Brit spies out: Bertie Ahern, Charles Haughey and Albert Reynolds

Haughey forbade his ministers from attending the British-Irish Association, an institution he believed was an MI5/6 intelligence gathering operation.
Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, told British PM John Major not to listen to MI5 whom he distrusted and that he – Reynolds – would keep him straight about what was really happening in Ireland.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was angered at Britain’s refusal to release the files it held on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Meanwhile, GCHQ intrudes upon the privacy of Irish politicians and senior civil servants on a daily basis by tapping phones and intercepting emails and texts.

No such thing as a moment of privacy: GCHQ monitors the private lives of Irish politicians

Even Garret FitzGerald, perhaps the most pro-British taoiseach of them all, admitted that he was aware that his phone might be tapped, something he presumably bristled at. FitzGerald was so embarrassed by his relationship with an MI6 asset called Brian Crozier that he made no mention of him in his otherwise extraordinarily comprehensive biographies, All in a Life and Just Garret. Crozier’s links to MI6 were made public decades ago. FitzGerald was an avid attendee of the British-Irish Association which Haughey so despised.

Bearing this sordid background in mind, the possibility that the Joe Mains’ logs almost certainly still exist and, if leaked, could severely damage the British Royal Family, should keep Johnson, Patel, MI5 and MI6 on their best behaviour during the ongoing Brexit process. If Fianna Fail returns to power next year, Micheal Martin will undoubtedly ask to see the file.



One person who would be most displeased if the Classiebawn logs were to be leaked is Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Harris is a former RUC Special Branch officer who worked extensively with MI5 before he took over the Irish police.

To date, he has not intervened to have the logs of Mains’ visit to Classiebawn in August of 1977 extracted from the main file, copied and sent to Lownie. Instead, on 7 November the Gardai reverted to Lownie saying: ‘I wish to inform you that all such security logs form part of the Garda Investigation File, and for the reasons outlined in email of 7th October 2019 will not be released’.

Lord of the files: Gardaí Commissioner Drew Harris. Harris worked with the RUC Special Branch and MI5 before he became the head of police in the Republic of Ireland

Lownie is still pressing the Gardai for the logs.

Harris will presumably ensure that they do not disappear from the Mountbatten file.

If there are any British moles inside the Irish civil service, Drew is quite possibly the best man to root them out as he knows quite a lot about how his former colleagues in MI5 – who run the traitors – operate.

Kincora and Classibawn

With many thanks to the: Village Magazine and Joseph de Burca for the original story 

Albert Reynolds, Andrew Lownie, Charles Haughey, Garret FitzGerald, Jack Lynch, JOhn Major, Joseph Mains, kincora, Leo Varadkar, Louis Mountbatten, mi5, mi6


Secrecy laws passed to hide pedophile ring connection to Royal Family | Galactic Connection

Prince Andrew removed from guest list for Royal reception with Nato leaders

Prince Andrew will not be welcomed when the US President meets the Queen: PA

Prince Andrew will not be present when US President Donald Trump and other Nato leaders meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The “disgraced” duke, who has been left struggling to recover from a “car crash” television interview, has not been named by Buckingham Palace as attending the event.

The Queen’s second eldest son has faced a backlash after the interview in which he was questioned about his links to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Lord Mountbatton another Royal Nonce who favoured young boy’s

In the wake of it he was forced to sack his most senior aide, several large organisations withdrew their support for his entrepreneurship scheme, and he stood down as the chancellor and patron of two different universities.

Prince Andrew forced to sack most senior member of staff

The Duke of York speaking to the BBC’s Emily Maitlis during the interview

Why Prince Andrew will be out of the public eye for some time
Andrew’s lack of presence will no doubt be noted as a raft of other family members will be in attendance.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will formally greeting the international delegation.

Other royals at the event will include the Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.

The Duke of Cambridge will be away on an official visit to the Middle East.

With many thanks to: ITV News for the original story 

Follow this link to find out more:

Yorkshire Air Ambulance latest to withdraw support for Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York’s Central Park Image copyrightNEWS SYNDICATION

Prince Andrew has previously said he regretted this 2010 meeting with Epstein
An air ambulance service has become the latest charity to withdraw its connection to the Duke of York.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) said “staff, volunteer and donor opinion” had led to the move by its trustee board.

It follows Prince Andrew’s appearance on BBC Newsnight and the controversy over his ties to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The duke opened the air ambulance base at Nostell in 2015.

For several months the duke had been facing questions over his ties to US financier Epstein, who took his own life in August while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince three times. The duke has always denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

BT and Barclays have joined universities and other charities in distancing themselves from the duke.

YAA, which has become the latest charity to withdraw its connection, said: “As a charity funded generously by public donations, we must seriously consider the opinions of our donors and supporters, and this has been a significant factor in reaching this decision.”

Prince Andrew, 59, announced on Wednesday he would step back from royal duties and all organisations he is patron of because the Epstein scandal had become a “major disruption” to the Royal Family.

Buckingham Palace had described it as “a personal decision” following discussions with the Queen and Prince Charles.

Emily Maitlis interviewing Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew’s resignation from all royal duties followed an interview on the BBC’s Newsnight programme

He is no longer patron of the Outward Bound Trust, the English National Ballet, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Metropolitan University.

The University of Huddersfield has also said the prince would step down as chancellor .

The main role of a royal patron is to raise the profile and attract publicity for work done by charities.

The prince will no longer carry out public engagements but will still attend Royal Family events such as Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday.

Standard Chartered Bank and KPMG also announced they were withdrawing support for the duke’s business mentoring initiative Pitch@Palace, though sources told the BBC the decisions were made before the interview.

Four Australian universities also said they would not be continuing their involvement in Pitch@Palace Australia.

Prince Andrew also cancelled a planned visit to flood-hit areas of Yorkshire on 19 November, the Sun newspaper reported .

Presentational grey line
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With many thanks to: BBC News Yorkshire for the original story 

Watch “Prince Andrew’s Royal Office Moved Out Of Buckingham Palace | TODAY” on YouTube


EXCLUSIVE by Steven Moore

Fury as convicted perv who escaped jail is released despite guilty plea

A CONVICTED Paedophile who escaped jail because it was claimed he had effectively been ‘cured’ has walked free again-despite pleading guilty to fresh sex charges.


Mark Andrew Coney (36), of Castletown Road, Dungannon, sexually assaulted an adult female as she sat in her car with her friend. He also admitted making contact with a young boy in England, sending him graphic sex images and texts, and was only caught when the child’s mother took over the conversation. Relatives of one of his victims stormed out from Dungannon Magistrates Court in disgust as a judge handed him an extended Probation Order rather than send him to jail. Coney further admitted breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order on May 21st, 2018. But there’s great anger about how the court has dealt with Coney this time after he escaped jail for previous offending following a psychologist’s report. In January 2018, Coney walked free from Dungannon Crown Court after he admitted five charges relating to sexual offences with a child, some of which occurred, incredibly, while his own toddler was in a baby seat in the rear of his car. There were three victims in the case-two girls and a boy-all of whom the court was told were “very young children”.

The offences occurred between July 1st and 4th 2016 in a number of locations in the Dungannon area including a shopping complex and a park. The first offence involved Coney getting out of his car close to the Oakes Shopping Centre, Dungannon, to expose himself to a child, and then appear to fondle himself. On the next occasion two children-one aged 11 and the other eight, were playing in a park when Coney pulled up in his car. He proceeded to show the youngsters pictures of male genitalia on his phone and asked them if they knew what they were. During that hearing a defence barrister explained: “A wire came lose during a period in my client’s life and he understands the unbelievable strain these offences have placed on his family, his victims, their families.” Referring to a psychologist report, the defence said Money’s offending had come about through a combination of boredom, sexual pre-occupation with internet chat rooms and outdoor sexual themes, complicated by an obsessive predisposition, alcohol, high-energy drinks and inappropriate internet use. The defence-obtained report stated: “This particular compulsion has now passed… a custodial sentence would not be beneficial.”

Although assessed as a medium likelihood of reoffending, Coney was not believed to present a serious risk of significant harm, and that “this behaviour was totally out of character”. The court was persuaded to place Coney under a two-year probation order. But within weeks Coney was back committing sex offences and placing a number of fresh victims at great harm. This week a court was told how in July the same year two females were seated in a car when Coney approached, making “highly sexualised and uninvited comments”. Licking his lips, he said to one victim: “You’d be young. What age are you? Why does there have to be a door between us.” Coney commented on the woman’s breasts, then reached through the lowered window and put his hand down the back of her top, before running his hand around her neck and feeling her hair.


Laughing, he moved to the other side of the car and tried the handle several times to gain access. In an attempt to prevent them driving away, he placed his bicycle under the car, which caused damage. Throughout, Coney made “very sexually threatening comments to both women”, who were left anxious and traumatised. It then emerged he’d been texting a young boy in England and despite discovering his age he continued to send filthy texts and images-until the boy’s mother found out and went to the police. Judge Brian Sherrard QC said: “These were two different sets of very serious offending and the normal course would be immediate imprisonment.” However, it was felt the four months served while on remand accounted for the appropriate sentence for the incident on the two women. Opting for a three-year Probation Order, the judge said: “I am compelling you to undertake a further programme of work.” At this point, relatives of the sexually assaulted female stormed from the court in anger.

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Steven Moore for the EXCLUSIVE original story –

Follow these links to find out more:






SHAME: Former SAS chief Andy Whiddett was honoured by the Queen for his services in the North of Ireland – but now he’s banged up in prison. 

A SENIOR British Army officer-jailed for a catalogue of child sex crimes-masterminded the murder of three young Irish republicans.

Andrew Whiddett is pictured here with his second wife Lani leaving Croydon Crown Court in London at an earlier hearing on April 23rd.

Andrew Whiddett-banged up for three years and two months after he pleaded guilty to abusing kids abroad-is a former member of the SAS. Lieutenant Colonel Whiddett served several tours of duty in the North of Ireland during the mid-1980s. And he was rewarded with an MBE from the Queen. Whiddett worked undercover in the Bogside and Creggan areas of Derry, which included carrying out close quarter surveillance on deceased Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness. But we can reveal the 70-year-old pervert also led the team which shot dead IRA men Charles Breslin (20), and brothers Michael (22) and David Devine (16), in Strabane nearly 35 years ago. The men were ambushed by British soldiers as they were about to dump their weapons following a failed IRA operation.


In May this year, Croydon Crown Court heard how Whiddett-a former Head of Security at the British Embassy in Baghdad-directed ‘livestreamed abuse’ of children in the Philippines. Whiddett-who graduated from Sandhurst Military College alongside Princess Ann’s first husband Mark Phillips-had used his laptop to contact known Filipino child sex facilitators in Manila. And using the Skype, he directed the sexual abuse of young girls from the comfort of his home on the south coast of England. On one occasion he messaged the young girl’s mother with: “Lots of teaching before I arrive.”


But detectives from the National Crime Agency were able to prove Whiddett had made 49 payments totalling £8,584 for various live sex services involving children. And in court he admitted attempting to cause or incite a nine-year-old girl and another aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity. He also pleaded guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence in September 2016. The National Crime Agency said he told his contact in Manila that he wanted to sexually abuse a child when he visited the Philippines the following month.


Whiddett also admitted three further charges of making indecent photographs of a child. Sending the ex-SAS man to jail for three years and two months, Judge Nicolas Ainley also put him on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. And he told him: “I’m well aware of the service dedicated to this country, but children-wherever they are in the world-need protected from this sort of activity.” Detectives from the NCA gripped Whiddett as he made his way through Heathrow Airport shortly after he had returned to the UK from Manila. He made a number of admissions, but insisted he was only sexually interested in mature women. He was lying.

NCA National Crime Agency

NCA officer Gary Fennelly said: “Andrew Whiddett was directly responsible for the soul-destroying abuse of children thousands of miles away from him. “He thought he could get away with abusing Filipino children from the comfort of his own home.” The police officer revealed that in one computer conversation with a woman in Manila, Whiddett made it clear he wanted to sexually abuse her little girl when he visited the Philippines in a few weeks’ time. During a 25-minute exchange on September 28th 2016, the former SAS man asked a Philippine woman if the young girl with her would be available when he arrives. And he said: “Need to do more teaching. Look forward to touch” and “lots of teaching before I arrive.” Whiddett further asked the woman: “If I visit would you let me see daughter?” and “If I visit what would you allow me to do?” Travel records show Whiddett flew to Manila in the Philippines on October 21st 2016. Whiddett, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on October 31st 2017. And after his conviction at Croydon Crown Court, he was jailed in May this year, although full details of the case have only recently emerged.

GUNNED DOWN: from left, Charles Breslin and brothers Michael and David Devine had no escape

Provos’ top team that scared cops wanted taken out

RUC top brass were so concerned for the safety of their officers in Strabane in 1985 that they called in the SAS, the Sunday World has learned.

A series of intelligence reports read by senior officers early in the New Year revealed a ruthless IRA unit based in Strabane was determined to kill a policeman. Led by OC 20-year-old Charles Breslin, the IRA team had already engaged in several gun attacks on the heavily fortified RUC station. On one occasion, Breslin jumped up on a rear perimeter wall and he sprayed machine-gun fire at officers as they made their way across the car park. Eye-witnesses say it was a miracle no one was killed. But Detective Superintendent Sam Donaldson-who was in charge of Special Branch in the North West-had received permission from Margaret Thatcher’s office to call on the services of the SAS. Some months before, 36-year-old Major Andrew Whiddett had gone to Donaldson with a blueprint of how he and his SAS team proposed to abduct senior republican Martin McGuinness, before weighting his body and drowning him in the Atlantic Ocean.


Although the senior RUC man rejected the plan out of hand, he asked him to work out a way of neutralising the Strabane IRA using lethal force if necessary. Whiddett travelled to Strabane every day for a week from his base at Fort George in Derry. He read intelligence reports and studied the lie of the land around known IRA arms dumps in the border town. A few days later on February 23rd, an opportunity presented itself. And Whiddett lost no time in scrambling his team. The SAS men staked out an IRA arms dump near the Head of the Town district. And when Charlie Breslin showed up with fellow IRA men Michael and David Devine, they knew they were in business.

The police in Strabane began receiving a series of telephone calls from concerned locals claiming a man had been spotted brandishing an axe in the Head of the Town. But it was a ruse to lure cops into the area and so they stayed put. The Tom and Jerry routine lasted hours. And when no police had taken the bait by the early hours of the morning, the IRA men decided to return their weapons. As Breslin and the Devine brothers neared the hidden arms dump in a field, the SAS team revealed themselves and on Whiddett’s orders they opened fire. The relentless sound of gunfire echoed around the town as the SAS pumped 117 rounds in the direction of the IRA men. Michael Devine (22), from Courtral Park, was hit 28 times. An RUC patrol was quickly dispatched from the police station. And one officer who was present told the Sunday World this week: “It sounded to us as though World War Three had broken out. “I saw three dead bodies and there were dozens of spent shells glistening in the early morning light. “I had a machine-gun in my hand. And an SAS man-who was also holding a machine-gun-told me to shoot out a streetlight.

“But I just told him, ‘Shoot it out yourself’ and he did!”he said. He added: “The next thing, a helicopter landed and the SAS men were gone.” At the scene, the RUC recovered a large stockpile of IRA weapons, but the sheer brutality of the murders caused outrage among the Catholic community. Many believed the IRA team-which included 16-year-old David Devine-could easily have been disarmed and arrested. On May 7th 2002 at the High Court in Belfast, the families of the dead IRA men accepted undisclosed compensation from the Ministry of Defence. The Sunday World understands it was in the region of £90,000 for each of the deceased. The murders remain controversial. Locals reported that after the hail of gunfire, three final shots rang out against the dawn sky. Witnesses say that in the seconds before the last shots they heard local voices cry out, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot”. An English voice is said to have replied, “You’re too fucking late mate.”

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Hugh Jordan for the EXCLUSIVE original

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Prince Andrew: Barclays Bank latest to end support for Pitch@Palace

Prince Andrew

Barclays has become the latest big company to pull its support for Prince Andrew’s business mentoring initiative.

The bank joined firms including Standard Chartered and KPMG in cutting ties with Pitch@Palace, which provides start-ups with advice and contacts.

There has been a growing backlash over a BBC Newsnight interview about the royal’s friendship with convicted US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The prince is stepping down from royal duties for the “foreseeable future”.

Following Wednesday’s statement confirming this, a variety of organisations have continued to announce the end of their association with the prince.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was among those on Friday to confirm he would no longer be its patron.

Announcing its decision to cut ties with the Pitch@Palace, Barclays, which had been an official partner of the scheme, said: “In light of the current situation, we have informed Pitch@Palace that going forward we will, regretfully, no longer be participating in the programme.

“Pitch@Palace has been historically highly successful in supporting entrepreneurs and job creation and we hope a way forward can be found that means they can continue this important work.”

Prince Andrew with his former privite Secretary, Amanda Thirsk Image copyrightGETTY

Earlier, it emerged the woman who organised the Duke of York’s interview with the BBC about his links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has been moved from her role as the prince’s private secretary following his withdrawal from royal duties .

Amanda Thirsk, who has worked for the duke since 2012, will become chief executive of Pitch@Palace.

It remains unclear what role the duke will have at Pitch@Palace, which he founded in 2014, moving forwards.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman would not comment on reports the duke had stepped down from leading Pitch.

She said: “The duke will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace.

“We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place.”

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the decision to move Ms Thirsk into her new role was part of a “downscaling” of the duke’s office.

The BBC understands there are no plans to recruit a replacement.

Our correspondent added it was a demonstration of the Queen and Prince Charles acting “very assertively when they perceived a reputational risk to the monarchy itself”.

Newsnight producer Sam McAlister, who has been credited with securing the interview for the BBC , said Ms Thirsk was the person she was “mostly dealing with” during the negotiation process.

She told GQ magazine she was “extremely charming, well-informed, thorough and brilliant”.

What do charities get from having a royal patron?
‘Screw-ups’ led to Epstein death, says US official
Six things we learned from Prince Andrew interview
Duke seen for first time since stepping back

Prince Andrew: Epstein ‘a constant sore in the family’

One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, has claimed she was forced to have sex with the duke three times. Prince Andrew has “categorically” denied having any sexual contact with her.

Ms Giuffre will reveal further details about her time with Epstein in her first UK interview with BBC Panorama on Monday 2 December.

Prince Andrew stepping back from royal duties
Letter casts doubt on when prince met Epstein
Prince Andrew Pizza Express reviews suspended
On Friday, the English National Ballet, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Metropolitan University all announced the prince would no longer be their patron, with immediate effect.

Prince Andrew was pictured horse riding with the Queen on Friday Image copyrightREUTERS

Lawyers representing Epstein’s accusers have also urged the prince to speak to US authorities about his former friendship with Epstein.

In his statement announcing that he would be stepping back from royal duties, the prince said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story 

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