Real IRA

Real IRA
Dissident republicans

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Loughgall Martyrs 33rd Anniversary

Loughgall Martyrs 33rd Anniversary and Gerry Adams

Was it correct and proper for The PIRA to be surrendered? Yes, it was correct and proper for The PIRA to be surrendered, but not for the reasons advanced by Gerry Adams nor under the Terms and Conditions agreed between Martin McGuinness and his MI6 Handlers.

From a traditional republican perspective, the reason that it was correct and proper to surrender The PIRA was due to the fact that The PIRA had become/and remain The Black and Tans of the latter 20th Century and now the 21st Century. This does not mean that there were not good men and women who genuinely believed in a cause, however, they were blinkered by that cause and blinded from the treachery, corruption and criminality of their leadership.

For those of us who were actually in the trenches, the reality of Sinn Fein/PIRA from the mid-1970s onward was in extreme contrast to their publicly stated claims of being the defenders and liberators of the Catholic/Nationalist community in the north. A good example of how The British Security Services dealt with Sinn Fein/PIRA can be found in the manner in which The CIA and FBI dealt with The Communist Party in America in the 1970s. When The Communist Party collapsed in America, there were more paid up members of The CIA and FBI in its ranks than there were actual Communists.

By the time the Sinn Fein/PIRA Army Convention was held in Donegal in October 1997, the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership were infiltrated to the point that Agents, Informers and touts outnumbered actual Sinn Fein/PIRA members. This level of infiltration was fully exposed when Bobby and the lads raided Castlereagh Holding Centre in 2002, however, no action could be taken as several levels of the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership would have had to be wiped out.

Those Sinn Fein/PIRA members who had not been compromised sat ideally by while Sinn Fein/PIRA rapists were protected and on many occasions their victims beaten, shot, murdered or exiled. Sinn Fein/PIRA members tied rape victims to lamp-posts and poured paint or tar over them so that other rape victims would not dare to break silence. These were not acts carried out by weak individuals, these were acts directed from the very top of Sinn Fein/PIRA. Dogs on the street knew that Gerry Adams Snr, Ruby Davidson and many others were prolific child rapists, yet they were protected and on the occasions of their deaths afforded full style Sinn Fein/PIRA funerals.

Sinn Fein/PIRA mouth-pieces such as Gerry Adams stood at the graveside of PIRA volunteers and lied through their teeth, all of the above and much more is why The PIRA should have been surrendered, The PIRA had become and remain The Black and Tans of the latter 20th Century and now the 21st Century and no number of apologists will remove that stain. Sinn Fein when they break FREE from The PIRA Army Council and their Handlers, will be entitled to engage in normal politics, but until then they must remain in political self-isolation.

The Provisional IRA are proxies for their Handlers, they should disband and decommission their MI6 supplied Glocks. The PIRA Army Council should apologise to the Catholic/Nationalist community in the north for the crimes it has committed against them these past 50 years.

Loughgall Martyrs 33rd Anniversary Background

In 1986 Martin McGuinness arrived in Smithborough in County Monaghan to meet with Provisional IRA Chief of Staff, Kevin McKenna, at that time Kevin McKenna was living with his family on a small holding that was owned by a Sinn Fein/PIRA supporter, Sheila O’Neill. McGuinness had arrived to deliver a message from Sinn Fein/PIRA Headquarters in Belfast, that message was that GHQ had sanctioned a proposed plan to introduce a policy of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’. The plan had been developed by Jim Lynagh while he was in Portlaoise Prison, contrary to the nonsense I have often read, Kevin McKenna was enthusiastic about the plan, I should know I spoke to him regularly.

Kevin McKenna could trace his heritage back to Niall McKenna of 1641, who had massacred over 2,000 Protestants in the Monaghan/Tyrone region while stripping thousands more Protestants of their belongings and driving them from their homes. While Kevin McKenna was happy to kill British military personnel, he derived his greatest pleasure from purely sectarian operations such as Kingsmill (10 Protestants), Enniskillen (12 Protestants), Teebane (8 Protestants) Shankill (10 Protestants dead, 57 Protestants injured). Kevin McKenna never tired of targeting Protestants in his native Aughnacloy, County Tyrone and while he had murdered a number of Protestants in Aughnacloy and Monaghan in the 1970s, McKenna failed to carryout any successful operations in Aughnacloy from 1980 onwards. 

When Martin McGuinness left the meeting with Kevin McKenna, McGuinness was arrested by members of An Garda Siochana. Soon after McGuinness was arrested Garda Headquarters received a call from an MI6 Officer known as Michael Oatley CMG, OBE (The Mountain Climber), Oatley requested that McGuinness be released without charge and Oatley’s request was granted without question. The order to release McGuinness was a surprise to even the most seasoned Garda Detectives in Monaghan including Colm Brown and John McCoy. This intervention by MI6 makes a nonsense of the Sinn Fein/PIRA assertion that there was no MI6 contact during this period, or perhaps, the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership did not know about the true nature of the relationship between MI6 Officer Oatley and Martin McGuinness. Below McGuinness hiding like a scared rat as Michael Stone opens fire on mourners.

Loughgall Martyrs Used

In 1987 Gerry Adams gave the oration at the funeral of Loughgall Martyr, Jim Lynagh, at Latlurcan Cemetery in Monaghan Town, and I quote from that oration:

“Anyone who does business with The British, The Freestate establishment or The SDLP are fools because they have all sold out on the Irish People”.

We now know, for reasons that I will explain in a moment, that in 1987 the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership were already in bed with all of the above and in particular The British. At Jim Lynagh’s graveside in 1987 many young men and women that were gathered, were inspired by the Gerry Adams oration, many went on to kill and some were themselves killed. We now know that Gerry Adams was speaking out both sides of his mouth, however, I have never found any evidence that Adams was an Agent of any State, his political ambition was enough for the Brits to work with.

Martin McGuinness is a very different kettle of fish; McGuinness had been groomed by MI6 from those early days in the 1970s when the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership meet with British Officials. According to Sean O’Callaghan (a Garda and MI5 Agent) who was in regular phone contact with McGuinness in the 1990s, McGuinness was formerly recruited by MI6 in the mid-1980s. O’Callaghan claimed that he witnessed many meetings between McGuinness and MI6 Officer Oatley during a period that the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership claim there was no contact between the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership and The British. O’Callaghan also claimed that when Oatley used Irish in his communications to McGuinness, it was O’Callaghan who provided the Irish, anyone who knew McGuinness, will know that his IQ was not overwhelming.

In 2017, David Trimble, who had become friendly with McGuinness admitted that he was with Sean O’Callaghan when Sean O’Callaghan received a long and detailed phone call from Martin McGuinness in the 1990s. However, the greatest indictment against McGuinness is the communication below, the provenance of which the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership continue to deny, to accept its provenance as set out here is to accept that McGuinness, ‘the republican hero’, was in fact an MI6 Agent who had a free hand from his Handlers to engage in and direct murder, nothing new there when we look at all the other British Agents/informers/touts who did and continue to sit at the top of Sinn Fein/PIRA.

Catholics Not Included

It is also worth noting that the terms and conditions of the Sinn Fein/PIRA cease-fire (Articles of Surrender) as presented to their MI6 Handlers, specifically excluded Catholics in the six-occupied-counties and also excluded every fibre of the fabric of The Irish Freestate (Republic), including members of An Garda Siochana. The General Election in 2020 showed many members of An Garda Siochana voting for Sinn Fein/PIRA which is the equivalent of a turkey voting for Christmas. The Electoral Act 1960, Section 8A allows for all members of An Garda Siochana and the Irish Defense Forces to be entered on the postal-vote-list and while not all Gardai and Defense Force members may realise it, these votes are opened and counted in the same manner as any other vote.

Between 1992 and The PIRA Convention in October 1997, I was a runner between Kevin McKenna (PIRA Chief of Staff) and Martin McGuinness (Army Council). On 10th October 1997 a Provisional IRA General Army Convention was held in Falcarragh, County Donegal, and was attended by Kevin McKenna, Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Pat Doherty, Michael McKevitt, Bernadette McKevitt Sands and so forth.

Kevin McKenna was also using another member of Sinn Fein/PIRA as a runner with Northern Command; however, McKenna was concerned that the second runner may have been compromised. As I had a genuine reason for visiting Monaghan each week and a genuine reason for visiting Derry each week, the security forces were less likely to take me under their notice, or so Kevin McKenna believed. I meet with McGuinness at a safe-house on The Culmore Road in Derry on a regular basis.

Interestingly, I only parted company with Martin McGuinness following the Sinn Fein/Provisional IRA General Army Convention which was held in Falcarragh, County Donegal, On 10th October 1997. I parted company with McGuinness as I was advised by members of my extended paternal family in Dundalk and south Armagh, that Michael McKevitt and others were being allowed, by The Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership, including Kevin McKenna, Martin McGuinness and Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, to empty PIRA arms dumps as they prepared to set-up The Real IRA.

I travelled from Belfast to Monaghan at the end of 1997 to ask Kevin McKenna (Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy had just been appointed Chief of Staff of the PIRA – Murphy was no less ruthless than Kevin McKenna but he was easily bought as he was promised by MI6 that his criminal empire would remain untouched by the security forces in the north) why the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership were allowing McKevitt to take explosives, weapons, ammunition and personnel without sanction. Kevin McKenna said that, “The odd bomb going off here and there would help keep Unionists focused on working with the ‘Doves’”. Normally anyone who misused or misappropriated as much a bullet belonging to The PIRA was court-martialled and punishment administered, two of the disappeared had allegedly mis-used a single gun belonging to the PIRA.

I was devastated by Kevin’s answer as I had put a lot of work into the peace-process and I had convinced a lot of people to give Sinn Fein a chance to move away from violence. Kevin McKenna and the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership had decided to use The Real IRA as proxies to do their dirty work, just as they had done with many proxy groups over the years. This tactic would back-fire with the Omagh Bomb, and only then did the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership condemn the so called ‘Dissidents’. Recently Sinn Fein/PIRA MEP, Martina Anderson has been lobbying The Irish Government not to extradite Omagh Bomber, Liam Campbell, yet again exposing the lie of so called ‘Dissidents’.

At this point I changed tactic, in March 1998, I gave an exclusive front-page story to The Sunday Times in which I described my time in Sinn Fein/PIRA in Monaghan and the Ethnic Cleansing strategy developed and operationalised by Jim Lynagh and the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership in the mid-1980s.

While on the 31st of August 1994 The PIRA Army Council issued a general press statement through P.O’Neil, This press statement did not contain any meat on the bones of the Terms and Conditions of the PIRA cease-fire, the detailed Terms and Conditions which have never been altered to this day were delivered by McGuinness to MI6. There was in fact a twin-track approach, The Good Friday Agreement did not mirror the Terms and Conditions of The PIRA cease-fire. The Good Friday Agreement did not contain any detail about ‘Comfort Letters’, it did not contain any detail about Sinn Fein/PIRA being allowed to continue Human Rights abuses against the Catholic community (including murder and rape) and so forth. The latter is why, The British Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam, stated in 1999 that the murder of Charles Bennett by The PIRA was not viewed as a breach of The PIRA cease-fire but was viewed by the British as “Internal-House-keeping”.

The Provisional IRA Army Council: Wednesday 31st August 1994

The Terms and Conditions of this cease-fire exclude in totality the Catholic community of the occupied 6 counties. We retain the right and capacity to suppress all and any opposition to our stated position from within the Catholic community, without political interference from The British Government, including its armed forces.

The Provisional IRA Army Council: Wednesday 31st August 1994

The Terms and Conditions of this cease-fire excludes in totality the Irish Freestate, its armed forces including members of An Garda Siochana. We retain the right and capacity to bring about the destruction of the Irish Freestate by whatever means at our disposal, without foreign interference.

Secret Talks between The British Government and Sinn Fein/PIRA

Following Sir Patrick Mayhew’s speech at Queens University in Belfast in 1993, there was a question and answer session, this author asked Sir Patrick openly in front of the media, academics and students gathered if The British Government was talking to The PIRA, Sir Patrick denied the charge. Shortly after Sir Patrick spoke at Queens, a document that was sent from Michael Oatley MI6 Officer to MI6 Agent Martin McGuinness was shown to certain trusted journalists by this author, so that they may push on with questions about secret talks between The PIRA and The British Government.

When Sinn Fein/PIRA heard of the document between MI6 Agent Oatley and McGuinness, there was panic, as the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership with the exception of McGuinness did not recognise the described document. The fact was that the document appeared to show that McGuinness was a British Agent rather than a negotiator on behalf of the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership, although he was also led on the latter.

The leaks led to the breaking of the story on 8th November 1993, by Belfast journalist, Eamon Mallie. Eventually both the British and Sinn Fein/PIRA admitted that there was contact and each side gave their own account of such contact to minimise outrage from various quarters on both sides. Sinn Fein/PIRA persistently denied the document that was produced at that time by this author (see, below), and purported to be a communication between MI6 Agent Michael Oatley and Martin McGuinness, the communication, when subjected to discourse analysis, appeared to show that McGuinness was in fact an MI6 Agent, not a James Bond type Agent, simply a puppet on a string.

The Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership continued to state that only Sinn Fein had spoken to the British, however, in 1994, PIRA Chief of Staff, Kevin McKenna gave a rare interview to Eamon Mallie on Downtown Radio, in which he said, “As long as the boys with the balaclavas are at the table I am happy”, McKenna was referring to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, yet at all times, including in 2020 on their official website, Sinn Fein/PIRA claimed/claim that it was Sinn Fein who was negotiating with The British and the document below was a communication between British ‘Officials’ and the Sinn Fein negotiators, this is a lie, the original handwritten version of the communication had Martin McGuinness written at the top and was signed off with, Is Mise, Michael Oatley. A blind donkey reading this document can see that it was a personal communication between MI6 Officer, Michael Oatley and MI6 Agent, Martin McGuinness and was probably included in disclosed documents by Sir Patrick Mayhew by accident.

In February 1994 I had an article published in The Irish News (this can be checked in their archive) and The Irish Press (no longer in circulation) in which I stated the following, in the hope of encouraging Sinn Fein/PIRA personnel to stand down as they were involved in a phony war:

“And I ask you Irish men and women within the ranks of The PIRA to check the motivation of your leadership before checking the timer on your bomb”.

Martin McGuinness MI6 Agent

There is no contradiction in the claims that Martin McGuinness was an MI6 Agent from the mid-1980s and his direct involvement in directing acts of violence including the mass murder of civilians. A communication from MI6 Agent Michael Oatley on 3rd June, 1993 (see, below) to Martin McGuinness highlights this Moral Quagmire, when Oatley says:

“Your unfortunate headline events of April have made acceptance of your offer much more risky for him. You and I may think this should not matter, but the fact is that it does and it is that which is holding things up – if you like, human characteristics rather than anything more sinister”.

When MI6 Agent Oakley says, “Your unfortunate headline events of April…” he is talking about April 24th, 1993, when The PIRA bombed Bishopsgate and devastated the heart of the City of London, one person was killed, 44 were injured and £350 million of damage was caused.

When Oatley says, “much more risky for him”, he is referring to The British Prime Minister, John Major, the same John Major who told Parliament in 1993 that it would make his stomach sick to even think that any British official would be talking to The PIRA.

Shortly before the headline events of April 1993, Tim Parry (aged 12) and three-year-old Johnathan Ball died and 54 others were injured after the Provisional IRA detonated bombs that had been hidden inside high street litter bins in Warrington in England on the eve of Mother's Day that year. In 1999 loyalist terrorists, Orange Volunteers, were preparing to copy-cat the Warrington attack in Dublin but these attacks were thwarted.

The most significant component of this communication, between McGuinness and what many believe to be his Handler, MI6 Officer Oatley, is when he says;

“You and I may think this should not matter, but the fact is that it does and it is that which is holding things up – if you like, human characteristics rather than anything more sinister”. 

Oatley suggests that while he and McGuinness cannot understand why the murder of women and children should delay negotiations, it is the human characteristics of Prime Minister, John Major that is preoccupying him with concern about the murder of women and children.

On the official Sinn Fein/PIRA website in 2020, Sinn Fein/PIRA claim that they received a communication from a British government representative on June 3rd, 1993, and that the said communication was initialed and they have removed the initials for security reasons. However, the communication was not from a British Government official and it was not for the Sinn Fein/PIRA leadership, but was a personal communication from MI6 Officer Michael Oatley to Martin McGuinness. The PIRA Army Council fear the implications of anyone establishing the ‘true’ provenance of the communication, however, here it is. 

The communication had been sent by Oatley to the MI6 Officer (Robert) who had replaced him on the British negotiating team, Robert had Oatley’s handwritten communication typed so that he could remove McGuinness’s name from the top of the communication, and Robert completed the typed version with R. (handwritten), to show that this was a very personal communication, from Oatley to McGuinness. R. is the initial that Sinn Fein/PIRA have removed from the bottom of the document below as it appears on their website.

Setting the Record Straight 2015,

It is believed that The British included this communication by ‘mistake’ when Sir Patrick Mayhew, on Monday, 29th November, 1993, the British Minister with Chief responsibility for the Six Counties, lodged in the Library and Vote office at Westminster, what he claimed to be all messages "received and dispatched" in the course of the British government's protracted contact and dialogue with Sinn Fein/PIRA. His 'record' covered the period of 22nd February 1993 - 5th November 1993. He claimed this to be the totality of the period involved.

It is this combination of Martin McGuinness as an MI6 Agent (and an array of British Agents/informers/touts) at leadership level and the political ambitions of Gerry Adams that brings the British Security Services to focus their attentions on undermining the position of PIRA Chief of Staff, Kevin McKenna, who, while loyal to Adams, was a militarist, who would not surrender easily. It is for these reasons that 28 PIRA volunteers were killed by The SAS in East Tyrone between 1987 and 1992, these volunteers under the direct and personal leadership of Kevin McKenna. By 1992 Kevin McKenna was ineffective and that is exactly the way McGuinness and his Handlers wanted him. Intelligent strategists such as Jim Lynagh were replaced by donkeys.

Loughgall Informer

The leadership of Sinn Fein/PIRA in Monaghan have serious questions to answer as to why they allowed a fully-fledged RUC Informer back into the ranks of Sinn Fein/PIRA when he had served only a few months in Long Kesh for PIRA membership when he had admitted his role in two high profile murders. Owen Smyth (AKA Eoin Smyth) from Monaghan Town had been told in 1981 by PIRA Commander Jim Lynagh not to travel into the north, after members of The PIRA who had shot pensioner Norman Strong and his son James at Tynan Abbey were found by Gardai hiding in the basement of The Round House Bar in Monaghan Town which was owned by Owen Smyth’s Uncle Robert Loane but which was run and operated by Owen Smyth. When Owen Smyth was arrested by The RUC Smyth began to talk immediately and named every member of Sinn Fein/PIRA in Monaghan and anything else that he could tell the RUC about Sinn Fein/PIRA in Monaghan. Owen Smyth would also tell a 17-year-old Vincent McKenna in Crumlin Road Jail that he had turned informer as he did not want to go to jail for the two killings, Owen Smyth also boasted that he and Jim Lynagh had planned the killings of Norman Strong and his son James. Seamus Shannon would be extradited in 1984 based on information provided to The RUC by Owen Smyth. Why did the Command Staff of The PIRA in Monaghan allow Owen Smyth to return to a position within Sinn Fein/PIRA that gave him access to details of PIRA operations including Loughgall? In 1990 Owen Smyth again turned informer when arrested by Gardai in relation to a Human Bomb attack in Fermanagh, again, Smyth had the charges against him mysteriously dropped and he returned to the Sinn Fein/PIRA fold.

Owen Smyth also has questions to answer in relation to his close association with two sisters from Monaghan Town who were bringing UDR members into Monaghan Town periodically between 1994-1997. These two sisters would be seen drinking with the said UDR members in loyalist pubs in places such as Caledon in County Tyrone. On one occasion the two women and the UDR members were followed from Caledon to Monaghan Town. These UDR members were being brought into Monaghan Town by the two women and the UDR men were using these visits as scouting missions for a UVF death squad who would later target Caoimhghín Ó’Caoláin in a bomb attack. Another UDR man would be found shot dead on the out skirts of Monaghan after the gun he was carrying went of as he was preparing to target a member of The PIRA. All of these questions remain unanswered, and various suggestions have been put forward as to why The PIRA in Monaghan failed to establish the truth in these matters, one theory being that Smyth was being protected by a high-ranking informer on The PIRA Command Staff in Monaghan.

Loughgall Martyrs 33rd Anniversary Ambush 1987

Loughgall is a picture-postcard village on the borders of Tyrone and County Armagh that with its neatly arranged window boxes and hanging baskets you would expect to win the best kept village competition year after year. Tourists come for the antique shops and cosy tea rooms that line its narrow main street. 31 years ago in 1987, other visitors came to Loughgall.

The quiet of a May evening on 8 May 1987 was shattered by the thunder of SAS guns as the Regiment (as it is known) ambushed and wiped out one of the most heavily armed and experienced Active Service Units (ASU) the Provisional IRA had ever assembled. It was known as the ‘A’ Team. Eight bodies in boiler suits, some with balaclavas, lay bloody and dead on the ground and in the back of the van in which they had been travelling. The SAS had been lying in wait and had opened up with a barrage of over 200 rounds blasted from General Purpose Machine guns (GPMGs) and high-powered Heckler and Koch rifles. The SAS outnumbered and outgunned the IRA by three to one. The van was riddled like a sieve and its IRA passengers cut to pieces. It was the biggest loss the IRA had suffered since 1921 when a dozen of its men were wiped out by the notorious ‘Black and Tans’. Loughgall police station, a few hundred yards outside the village and the target of the IRA’s attack, was reduced to a twisted pile of concrete and rubble. The IRA just managed to detonate its 200 lb bomb before the SAS opened up.

A few miles away in the ops room that was the nerve centre of the security forces’ Tasking and Co-Ordinating Group (TCG) from which the ambush had been directed, an SAS Commander, a Senior M15 Officer and two senior RUC Officers (both shot dead 1989, see, Smithwick Tribunal) anxiously gathered to hear the result of one of the most carefully planned M15, RUC and Army operations of the northern conflict. They gathered around an SAS officer who was in radio contact with the SAS commander on the ground, when the news came through, the SAS Officer turned to those gathered (TCG) and declared, “Total Wipe-out”.

To the British, the SAS had given the IRA a taste of its own medicine and to Ulster Unionists clambering for the army to take the gloves off, not before time. There was celebration in the TCG at the unprecedented spectacular and quiet contentment in the Northern Ireland Office. Its Permanent Under-Secretary at the time, Sir Robert Andrew, later said how he felt on hearing the news. ‘My personal reaction was really one of some satisfaction that we had ‘won one’ as it were. I think it demonstrated to the IRA that the other side could play it rough. I hope it sent a message that the British government was resolute and was going to fight them.’

Certainly the IRA had been playing it very rough. Only a fortnight earlier, it had assassinated Northern Ireland’s second most senior judge, Lord Justice Gibson and his wife with a 500 lb bomb as they drove back across the border after a holiday away. The explosives had come from Libya. The judge had been a prime target ever since he had acquitted the police officers who shot dead Gervaise McKerr (whose case was also ruled on at Strasbourg) and two other IRA men during a car chase in 1982. He commended them for bringing the deceased to ‘the final court of justice’. None of them was armed at the time. The then Northern Ireland Secretary, Tom King said, ‘We were conscious we were facing an enhanced threat and we took enhanced measures to meet it.’ The SAS was the cutting edge.

At the time of Loughgall, the IRA was brimful of confidence. It had recently had its bunkers filled almost to bursting with over 130 tons of heavy weaponry and high explosives smuggled into Ireland in four shipments courtesy of Mrs Thatcher’s sworn enemy, Colonel Gaddafi (murdered 2011) of Libya. The depleted ranks of its leadership had also been strengthened by the IRA’s mass break-out from the Maze prison in 1983, many of whose senior gunmen were still on the run. One of them was Patrick McKearney (32).

Loughgall Martyr Jim Lynagh

It was known that IRA Commander, Jim Lynagh, had developed a new Maoist strategy of liberating Green Zones, zones that would be cleared of the British and their collaborators. The IRA began its new strategy in 1985 with a devastating mortar attack on the RUC station in the border town of Newry in which nine police officers died. It followed it up with a bomb and gun attack on Ballygawley police station that left two RUC men dead. In 1986, it launched a bomb attack on another police station, unmanned at the time, in the tiny village of the Birches along the shores of Lough Neagh in County Tyrone. Now a new delivery system had been used, a JCB digger with a 200-lb bomb in the bucket. The digger smashed through the security fence, the bomb exploded and reduced the station to rubble. The attack on Loughgall was designed to be a carbon copy of the attack on the Birches. But this time British and Irish intelligence knew the IRA was coming and was across its plans.

The first indicator about the Loughgall operation came three weeks earlier from an RUC agent based in Monaghan Town, Patrick Kelly had travelled to Monaghan to meet Jim Lynagh, however, as often happened, Lynagh was not about, Patrick Kelly made the fatal mistake of making inquiries about Lynagh with Owen/Eoin Smyth, the Round House Bar, Church Square, Monaghan Town. Barely three weeks before Loughgall, five of the East Tyrone IRA had shot dead Harold Henry (52), a member of the Henry Brothers construction business that carried out repairs on security force bases. Just before midnight, the IRA took Mr Henry from his home, put him up against a wall and shot him dead with two rifles and a shotgun. He left a widow and six children. To the IRA he was a ‘legitimate target’, the first of more than twenty ‘collaborators’ to be ‘executed’ by the IRA for ‘assisting the British war machine.’ One of the weapons believed to have been used in the Henry killing was later retrieved at Loughgall.

On the basis of the information passed to the Garda Siochana (Irish Police) and RUC Special Branch by the IRA informer in Monaghan Town, a major security operation was put into action. Extra SAS Teams were brought into the north, within hours of arriving in the north, the SAS Teams were brought to the firing range beneath the RUC Forensic Lab in Belfast, were they test fired similar weapons to those that would be used by the IRA Team at Loughgall. The SAS Team was briefed by Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan. This test firing would allow the SAS to distinguish between friendly and enemy fire on the night of the Loughgall executions. While the Monaghan Informer had given an indicator that a major operation was about to take place, the actual target was not immediately known, this would take a detailed mapping of a myriad of intelligence sources. The Monaghan Informer would contact his handler a couple of days before Loughgall to say that Jim Lynagh had moved to a safe house in Coalisland, County Tyrone.

There was other vital intelligence too from M15′s listening devices planted inside the homes of IRA suspects, usually put in place when they were away – or even when the homes of the more prominent ones were being built. As long as the batteries held out, these technical devices – or ‘bugs’ – could be monitored many miles away or their content down-loaded by helicopters flying over the premises where they were hidden. It’s likely too that the location where the explosives were stored for the Loughgall bomb were also under M15 technical surveillance. They were probably also under human ‘eyes-on’ observation by operators of the army’s top-secret undercover unit, 14 Intelligence Company (known colloquially as the ‘Det’) and the RUC’s equivalent covert unit, E4A. ‘E’ is the code for the RUC’s Special Branch.

The security force operation was put in place on Thursday 7 May, the day before the IRA’s planned assault. Three Special Branch officers from the RUC’s specialist anti-terrorist unit volunteered to remain inside the normally sleepy station as decoys to give the appearance of normality whilst the IRA did its ‘recce’. ‘Matt’, a veteran of such covert operations, was one of them. They entered the station with some of the SAS troopers as darkness fell on the Thursday night. They made sandwiches and cracked jokes to lighten the tedium of waiting and perhaps to calm the nerves.

The joint leaders of the ASU was Patrick Kelly (30), an experienced IRA commander whose sister, supported by the other relatives, was a prime mover in bringing the Loughgall cases before the European Court. Kelly had been arrested in 1982 and charged with terrorist offences on the word of a ‘Super-grass’ but was subsequently released as the testimony lacked corroboration. Jim Lynagh was the second Commander and was the man most sought after by the British and Irish security services. Among the younger members of the ASU were four young friends from the village of Cappagh who had joined the IRA after the death of one of their village friend, Martin Hurson, on hunger strike in 1981. One of them, Declan Arthurs (21), was to drive the JCB with a 200 lb bomb in the bucket – just like the Birches.

Throughout the long hours of Friday, the maze of country lanes around Loughgall police station were watched and patrolled by ‘Det’ operators on the look-out for the ‘A Team’. One of them was a young women called ‘Anna’ who was driving around the area with her ‘Det’ partner as part of the surveillance cordon. Suddenly they spotted a blue Toyota Hiace van. At first they thought it was simply stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle but when they realised it was a JCB, they immediately put Ballygawley and the Birches together. ‘You suddenly realize it’s the MO (modus operandi) used by the East Tyrone Brigade,’ she said. ‘It was like a replay. But this time we were on top of it and we knew what was happening. So we passed on the information to the TCG and pulled off.’ The Chief Constable of the time, Sir John Hermon, said the IRA ASU could not have been arrested. He said it was never a realistic option since the IRA would be unlikely to come out with their hands up and police officers lives would therefore be at grave risk.

At 7.15 pm as dusk gathered, the JCB with Declan Arthurs at the wheel and the bomb raised high in the bucket, trundled past the police station with the blue Toyota van in attendance. Both then turned and headed back in the direction whence they had come. Suddenly, the JCB roared into life, headed for the perimeter fence and crashed through it. Almost simultaneously, the van drew up outside, disgorging Patrick Kelly and other members of the ASU who sprayed the station with their assault rifles. The SAS almost certainly opened up the moment Kelly started firing. Everything seemed to happen at once in a deafening crescendo of noise. Inside the station, ‘Matt’ (Special Branch), who was by the front window, was only about ten metres from the JCB when it came to a halt right before his eyes. He turned and ran to the back with one word on his mind. Bomb! ‘I thought of the Birches and Ballygawley and the next minute there was an almighty bang. I was hit in the face, knocked to the ground and buried. I thought “I’m dead”, simple as that!’ Miraculously ‘Matt’ survived although buried in the rubble ‘inhaling dust and darkness.’ The ‘A’ Team did not. ‘Declan was mowed down. He could have been taken prisoner,’ his mother, Amelia Arthurs, said. ‘The SAS never gave them a chance.’ The photographs taken at the scene are gruesome. The van in which the IRA volunteers had travelled was ripped open by part of the shrapnel from the digger bucket when it exploded, this is new information.

‘Matt’ felt no sympathy for the bullet-riddled bodies on the ground outside the station and in the back of the van. ‘They were there to kill us,’ he said. ‘These guys were responsible for lots and lots of deaths in that area and other parts of the province. Dead terrorists are better than dead policemen.’ Forensic tests carried out on the IRA weapons retrieved at the scene were linked to eight killings and thirty-three shootings.

The area around the police station had not been cordoned off since to have done so would have risked making the IRA suspicious and wary of the carefully laid ambush. As a result, two brothers returning home from work, were shot by the SAS. The security personnel who lay on the outer core of the ambush had been ordered to kill everyone within the kill zone.  Perhaps the soldiers thought they were part of the ASU or mistook their white Citroen for an IRA ‘scout’ car, maybe because one of the occupants was wearing a boiler suit. The brothers had been working on a car. The SAS fired forty rounds at the vehicle, killing Anthony Hughes (36) and seriously wounding his brother Oliver who was scarred for life. He said no warning was given. The RUC’s Chief Constable, Sir Jack Herman, described the attack on the two innocent men as ‘an unspeakable tragedy’ and blamed the IRA, not planning and operational shortcomings, for his death.

When ‘Anna’, her ‘Det’ colleagues and the SAS returned to base, there were great celebrations. ‘There was a huge party and it probably went on for 24 hours,’ she said. ‘A lot of beer was drunk. We were jubilant. We thought it was a job well done. It sent shock waves through the terrorist world that we were back on top.’ She said of the dead IRA men. ‘They’re all volunteers and actively engaged against the British army. They’re ‘at war’ as they would describe it. My attitude is that if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. We were just happy at the end of the day to be alive ourselves.’

Some new information is contained in this article, it is certain that the first indicator for the Loughgall operation came from an RUC Special Branch Informer in Monaghan Town. This informer also contacted the RUC to let them know that Jim Lynagh had moved to a safe house in Coalisland just before the Loughgall operation. Once the security services had their first indicator of a major IRA operation, M15 and the RUC had to simply correlate their myriad of intelligence to match the A Team with their target. At the same time that M15 and the SAS were focused on the East Tyrone IRA, M16 were working closely with Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams and had adopted a hands-off approach to the IRA in Derry and Belfast.

There is no question that the relationship between Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and The British Secret Service lead to the SAS executions at Loughgall, the British wanted to undermine PIRA Chief of Staff, Kevin McKenna, McKenna wanted to take the war to the British and their collaborators and he viewed politics as nothing more than a public relations exercise that could provide cover for the real business of The PIRA, which was to drive the British apparatus out of Ireland. Adams and McGuinness had already sold out, and even at the graveside of Jim Lynagh, Adams would spout his lies when he said, “Anyone who does business with The British, The Freestate establishment or The SDLP are fools for they have all sold out on the Irish people”, Adams said these weasel words while he was already in bed with all of the above.

Sinn Fein/PIRA can get as many illiterates fools as they like to make videos for YouTube stating that Lynagh and Kelly would have supported Sinn Fein/PIRA’s British inspired ‘peace-strategy’, however, anyone one who was on the same intellectual level as Jim Lynagh would know well that Adams, McGuinness and their ‘peace strategy’ is nothing more than a British inspired surrender of Irish Republicanism.

Keywords: Loughgall Martyrs, 33rd Anniversary, Jim Lynagh, Patrick Kelly, Declan Authurs, SAS, Ambush, Gerry Adams

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