THE murderous activities of one of mid-Ulster’s most prolific loyalist death squads is set to be laid bare in a new documentary planned by the director of harrowing collusion film Unquiet Graves.

LVF Guard of Honour watching over Billy Wright as he lies in his coffin. After being murdered by members of the INLA in the H.Blocks, of Long Kesh.

Film-maker Sean Murray is in the pre-production stages of a tell-all feature film focusing on Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright’s notorious UVF brigade and his gang’s deadly links to the security services. The follow-up to Unquiet Graves, which aired on RTE to huge viewing figures of 21o,000 this week, will focus on countless sectarian murders carried out by Wright’s death squad in East Tyrone during the 80s and 90s. It will explore Britain’s shoot-to-kill policy which ran alongside some of the Troubles’ most callous murders carried out by loyalist hit teams whose victims included a heavily pregnant women and elderly civilians. Collusion claims, similar to those revealed in the West Belfast man’s hard-hitting film shown to TV audiences last week for the first time, are also expected to be revealed.


“I’ll not give too much away but we are already in pre-production for that film,” the 44-year-old director told the Sunday World. “It will concentrate on the killings in East Tyrone, and how the strategy by the British Government changed.” Commenting on Wednesday night’s RTE’s milestone screening of his Glennane Gang film, he said: “I viewed it as being something very historic indeed considering that it’s the first time that an independent film of that nature has been shown uncut. “To be able to just actually pierce public consciousness in the south about what happened with regards to the activities of the Glennane Gang, in the north and south, is just something that is historic. “I wanted to represent an overarching story on collusion, there are many aspects in many different areas but I think for me the Glennane Gang, those series of killings, was something that was monumental.

Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright

“There was a nature that this was something very, very big and I thought if I made a film on the Glennane Gang it would give a real sense of what was happening in other areas and not just those series of killings. “And I think there were many aspects to what happened with the Glennane Gang. You had the UDR, you had the RUC and how they were in cahoots with the UVF, and the scale of killings, over 120 people, 120 civilians. “People who were doing well, SDLP members, GAA members. So, for me it was something that could pierce public consciousness like the south or in Britain,” he said. “And if it shocks someone like me who has lived through the conflict and has been surrounded by it in West Belfast, then what is that going to do to an English audience that hasn’t been affected by the political violence that surrounded us?” The film, first released in 2018, details how rogue members of the RUC and UDR worked alongside loyalist paramilitary killers targeting civilians in the so-called “murder triangle” spanning counties Armagh and Tyrone.

UDA-UDR-UVF Spot the difference? Answer: There is no difference

The murder machine became known as the Glennane Gang, responsible for around 120 sectarian murderers of farmers, shopkeepers, publicans and other innocents in a terror campaign through the 1970s. That included the 1976 bombing of the Step Inn in Keady, in which two Catholics, Elizabeth McDonald and Gerard McGleenon, were murdered. The activities of prolific UVF killer Robin ‘The Jackal’ Jackson, a known security force agent, was also featured. The state-backed murderer has been linked to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the Miami Showband massacre and countless sectarian murders. In the film he was identified by the grieving widow of Pat Campbell, blasted to death on the doorstep of his Banbridge home in 1973, as being one of the gunmen.

Kathleen O’Hagan (38) murdered by the UVF at a remote cottage in Co. Tyrone in August 1994

Former RUC officer and self-confessed Glennane Gang member John Weir also gave a chilling account of an aborted plan to launch a gun attack on a Catholic primary school. Despite wide-spread praise and reviews, the critically acclaimed film was also subject to some criticism from unionist circles. UUP MLA Doug Beattie, a former British soldier, accused the programme of being “biased and unbalanced”. He also likened the documentary to “anti-state propaganda”. Said Murray: “I understand that there are victims on the other side, and I think what Unquiet Graves does is, it tells a story about victims of state violence very sensitively, it’s not agitprop, it’s not in your face. “No matter what work we do, if you are dealing with sensitive issues around legacy, we need to be mindful of victims right across the political spectrum, and I hope my work does that.” The feature film, narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea, was inspired by the painstaking work of the human rights groups The Pat Finucane Centre, Dublin-based Justice for the Forgotten and journalist Anne Cadwallader’s best-selling book, Lethal Allies. Ms Cadwallader said it was “incredibly gratifying” to see the reaction to victims and survivors’ stories being screened on TV. “I’m glad obviously that it has had such a huge reaction on social media, I’m disappointed that more politicians haven’t commented because you would have thought that on both sides of the border when they watched it, and they should have watched it, maybe there’s something happening behind the scenes I don’t know,” she said.


“But I am very, very critical of the British government whose responsibility of what happened in Lethal Allies is. We have had nothing from the British government.” The campaigning journalist added: “In the film Sean said 11 of them had died since we began the legal actions through the courts to get an inquiry which is now being headed by Jon Boutcher. “But that figure of 11 is now up to 25 people have died waiting for the British government to respond to the book. “They had masses of opportunity and not only have they not acknowledged or apologised, they haven’t even met the families.” “Eugene Reavey who lost his three brothers, a man who lost his mother and two brothers in three different attacks, two of which were linked to the Glennane Gang, who has never had a single letter or acknowledgment from London that anything wrong happened. “I feel angry and sad on their behalf because, I am a Brit and I feel that my government has treated these people appallingly, cruelly and offensively. “No-one can be above the law, least of all those paid to uphold it.”

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and EXCLUSIVE story by Patricia Devlin for the original story –


Ex-RUC officers’ claim dismay at RTE platform for killer’s belated ‘collusion’ claims

A decision to broadcast the allegations of a rogue, murderous ex-RUC officer has prompted the detectives who brought him to justice to speak out for the first time.

UDA-UDR-UVF Spot the difference? Answer: There is no difference

Sectarian killer John Weir sent shockwaves through the RUC when he confessed to murdering Catholic chemist shop owner William Strathearn in Ahoghill, Co Antrim in 1977.

His arrest and successful conviction came about after senior police suspected that a small number of serving officers in the Armagh area were collaborating with UVF killers operating across the Mid Ulster area.

The shocking revelation led to an unprecedented RUC investigation – bringing together the best detectives from across Northern Ireland in total secrecy to identify and prosecute those involved.

The aftermath of the 1974 UVF bomb blast in Monaghan
The aftermath of the 1974 UVF bomb blast in Monaghan

The subsequent investigation led to five officers facing serious charges up to and including murder.

Two of the detectives involved spoke to the News Letter after learning that a major broadcaster was prepared to show the film Unquiet Graves, directed by Sean Murray – son of senior Sinn Fein Strategist and former IRA prisoner Sean ‘Spike’ Murray.

It is being shown on RTE at 9.35pm on Wednesday, September 16.

The film gives a platform to Weir who – among other unsubstantiated claims – alleges British security agents encouraged the UVF to carry out mass murder at a Catholic primary school. Weir has also alleged that a large number of his former RUC colleagues were involved in terrorist activity.

However, the detectives who brought him to justice find it incredible that Weir would have declined to divulge this information – or the claim that he was working under orders from a higher authority within the security forces – at the time to avoid a life prison sentence.

Although Weir was eventually sentenced for the Strathearn murder in 1980, it would be almost 20 years before he would accuse many of his former colleagues of serious criminality.

The claims were first published by journalist Liam Clarke in the Sunday Times in 1999, leading to the Barron Report on the 1974 Barron Report on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

“Why didn’t Weir take the opportunity to say all this stuff at Castlereagh because it could have saved his bacon?” one of the ex-officers said.

The former detective sergeant (DS) – who does not wish to be named – said it was unthinkable that Weir would have remained silent if his claims were even partially true.

“At the very least he have been able to do some kind of deal [for a lesser sentence]. That was the opportunity for Weir to use whatever intelligence he had in order to ease his own position.”

The ex-DS described the police operation to bring what was later dubbed the ‘Glenanne Gang’ to justice in 1978 as “the biggest interviewing team ever put together by the RUC”.

He said: “When the briefing came that morning we were told that these were police officers being arrested for murder. You could have knocked us down with a feather.

“All of the interviewers were detective inspector rank and above. I was a DS at that stage and my role was to collate all of the information coming out of the interview rooms. I ran the teams that did that.

“He had the opportunities at the time of his arrest, and when he was being interviewed, to make all of those allegations, but he didn’t.

“I would be satisfied, from my role at Castlereagh, that none of that material he has talked about in his depositions, and in his interview with Liam Clarke, had been talked about. And if it had been, it would have been followed up. There is no question about that.

“I look back on that investigation, and that was one of the most thorough and intense investigations ever to have been carried out at that stage.”

Commenting on the persistent criticism that UVF leader Robin Jackson was not arrested every time intelligence reports linked his name to a particular terrorist attack, the former detective said it was well-known that Jackson always refused to talk unless there was concrete evidence to put to him.

“It was usually a waste of time. All we were doing by arresting Jackson without hard evidence was educating him. Letting him know what intelligence we had and, more importantly, what we didn’t know,” he said.

A second former officer, who was a detective inspector (DI) involved in the investigation has a clear recollection of the events surrounding Weir’s arrest and conviction.

“He was caught up in this ‘loyalist’ thing with [William] McCaughey and [Gary] Armstrong and those boys. They were working in the SPG (Special Patrol Group) and they were seeing policemen being murdered and kidnapped and they took the law into their own hands. That’s basically what they did,” he said.

“Nobody directed them to do it. Had there been then they wouldn’t have been charged and put in jail for life.

“I was part of the investigating team that was responsible for convicting them.

“There was intelligence that McCaughey was involved in this criminal activity, and the intelligence was that he was involved in the kidnapping of [Catholic priest] Fr Hugh Murphy and the murder of William Strathearn.

“I was given a brief to arrest Sergeant Gary Armstrong at his house in Armagh, so we went down to arrest him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act,

The former DI added: “So we went down to his house, and there was a birthday party for one of his children going on in the house at that time and there were about 12 kids there.

“It was quite a traumatic thing, because you were arresting the father in front of all these children…but we arrested Armstrong and took him to Castlereagh.

“McCaughey’s mother and father had also been arrested and they were all in Castlereagh.”

McCaughey’s father, Alexander, pleaded guilty hiding the handgun used to murder Mr Strathearn and given a suspended prison sentence for assisting offenders.

In the 1999 Liam Clarke article, the journalist reported: “Weir, alone of the three members of the group interviewed for this article, seemed to have believed he had outside protection and approval.

“McCaughey said, ‘I knew I had no backing. If I had backing, I would have done far more. I was worried sick about being caught. I knew I would be jailed and I was drinking very heavily through stress.’”

With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter and Mark Rainey for the original story.

Loyalist Mark Harbinson in bid to set up ‘Orange Vanguard’ to oppose Brexit border in the Irish Sea

Convicted Child Sex Offender and suspected member of the Orange Volunteers now setting up ‘Orange Vanguard’

Stoneyford loyalist and convicted child sex offender Mark Harbinson

LOYALIST Mark Harbinson is attempting to set up his own ‘Orange Vanguard’ to oppose the proposed Brexit trade deal that will see a border checks in Northern Ireland. Harbinson, who was once a high-profile Orangeman, is attempting to garner support for an ‘Ulster Day of Action’. The 53-year-old has been calling on loyalists to join him on September 19th, at a venue yet to be confirmed, to oppose Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal which is seen by many loyalists as a betrayal. Loyalists from various groups have been invited to meet Harbinson to plan the formation of a new group calling itself the ‘Orange Vanguard’. Harbinson has sent messages to supporters through loyalist forums and social media pages in recent weeks saying: “Keep the date free. If you don’t want an Irish Sea border you’ll want to support this.”

The controversial loyalist held an event close to his Stoneyford home on July 11th to gauge support for his plans. He was shunned by many loyalists after being found guilty of child abuse but retained a small hardcore ofsupport despite the nature of his conviction. In 2011 the Stoneyford-based loyalist was convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl he met when he was a leading member of the Pride of the Village Flute Band in Stoneyford. Because of time already spent in custody, he served two years. At his trial the jury failed to reach a verdict on five other charges including indecent assault. He was acquitted of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old schoolboy.

Harbinson was originally caught by police with the schoolgirl in his car on October 26th 2009. Police also found images of the child topless on his phone. Analysis of the handset showed more than 1,000 contacts between him and the very young victim. A once prominent member of the Orange Order, and former member of the UDR, he rose to prominence during the Drumcree dispute in Portadown. Following his conviction he was expelled from the Orange Order. In 2012 he failed to have the conviction overturned shouting “no surrender” in a courtroom outburst as the judgement was delivered.

UDA-UDR-UVF Spot the difference? Answer: There is no difference

A year later, he reinvolved himself with the flute band despite a court order banning him from having involvement with voluntary groups or charitable organisations involving children. A court heard that in May 2013, he telephoned and then wrote an email to the Parades Commission in protest at restrictions they had imposed on the flute band, signing it ‘Mark Harbinson, Pride of the Village spokesman’. The following year, he was handed a three-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of breaching a sexual offences prevention order. In July 2018 he was acquitted of firearms charges after a three-day trial. A gun, silencer and ammunition were located wrapped in yellow dusters in a biscuit tin in a woodshed in one of the outbuildings at Harbinson’s rural home in December 2015.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Allison Morris Security Correspondent for the original story 
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Lord Ken Maginnis bows out as MP after 18 years as an MP and just after having the Chief Whip withdrawn from him by the UUP

I SEE an oul’ King Scholar is in a bit of soapy bubble. AGAIN. Lord Ken Maginnis went to the old teacher training hub at Stranmillis College, where the rugby team was known as King’s Scholars. Many’s a good man, and good player, like my oul’ mucker Stewart McKinney of Dungannon, Ulster, Ireland and Lions pedigree, graduated from there. Ken Maginnis was a half-decent rugby player for Dungannon, too: but, as I’ve bantered him before, only ‘half’… And he got into and survived many’s a scrape, on the rugby pitch. As he did in life. As a sound principled school principle, a major in the UDR during the nadir of the so-called Troubles, a survivor of 10 attempts on his life by the Provos, and as a politician who took no prisoners.

His history of taking a dig, either verbally or physically, at someone who had a disagreement with him is well documented. Now he’s in trouble again. The British Metropolitan police are investigating because he allegedly called the Scottish nationalist MP Hannah Bardell a ‘queer’. 

The racist opinion that the Unionist/Protestant community have on Gay people and Catholics. They are a sectarian anti-Catholic community party

If that indeed happened, it was out of order, And I’d be the first to say it to Ken. But calling in the cops for an alleged ‘hate crime’ (which it obviously was)? For once, I agree with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons. He said an apology should be forthcoming and suffice. I agree. And maybe the brave UDR Major who the IRA couldn’t shoot should consider stop ‘shooting himself in the foot’. In other words, perhaps it may be time for the veteran politician – he’s now 81 – to consider hanging up his boots.

UDA. UDR. UVF – Spot the difference? – ANSWER: There is no difference…..

He’ll not thank me for that. But he has always been a stright talker. So am I. I await his phone call, probably this afternoon January 12th 2020. I’ll turn down the hearing aid at the start. And I’ll probably have it out of my cauliflower lug by the finish.



UNIONIST peer Lord Maginnis is in trouble after calling a Scottish MP ‘queer’ because she’d called him out for shouting at Westminster security staff. He said he’d no recollection of using the term, and then denied it, before the Huffington Post released the audio of him saying it. If he still hasn’t come to terms with the invention of gay people how is he expected to know about voice recordings?

With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Roisin Gorman for the original posting 

With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Jim McDowell for the original story 

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