This is my mother, MauraMeehan, 30 years old, unarmed and executed by Royal Green Jackets (British Army) for daring to protest the introduction of internment without trial on the 23rd of October, 1971, during the occupation of crown forces in Belfast, North of Ireland. Her nineteen year old sister, DorothyMaguire was murdered alongside her, the investigation claimed both bodies had gunshot residue on them, this is a fact due to the fact they were shot point blank in the back of the head and shouldn’t imply they were enemy combatants, yet to this day the investigation has been shelved in the need to not undermine national security and avoid embarrassment and justice for our families, the victors write history from their perspective deny human rights to the innocent, our struggle for truth will never end , one day we can say now you can both rest in peace. Amen.
A BANNER erectied by the SAS in Layneham which was later posted on social media was removed by the MOD (Ministry of Defence).
The GLOATING poster described as “inappropriate” last night by a Ministry of Defence spokesperson who also claimed no-one had reported having seen it. A picture of the poster which reads “SAS _8, IRA – 0’accopanied by the famous ‘Who Dares Wins’ logo of the SAS and an image of modern-day British soldiers in a warzone – with one appearing to jump for joy – appeared on social media.
MOD CONDEMNS POSTER GLORIFYING LOUGHGALL AMBUSH WHEN SAS SHOT DEAD 8 IRA MEN
The image’s appearance coincided with the 30th Anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs ambush in which eight IRA men and an innocent civilian were murdered by the SAS. Even though the current terror threat in Britain remains at ‘severe’ meaning an attack is highly likely,
And despite high security around MoD premises, the sign went unnoticed as it was placed and removed right under the noses of security at the base. On Saturday night, however, the MoD (Ministry of Defence) said it wanted nothing to do with the glorifying of the ambush, labelling the poster “inappropriate”.
MoD Lyneham, formerly an RAF base, now serves as a Defence Technical base. Earlier this month an SAS flag appeared in Loughgall village,
Where the mass murder occurred (ambush took place), attracting much criticism. The Sunday World also obtained another photo which appears to show an SAS flag and a similar ‘scoreboard’ poster erected in the Co. Tyrone village of Moygashel.
The Loughgall Ambush was the IRA’s biggest single loss of life in one incident and it dealt a hammer-blow to the group’s highly active East Tyrone Brigade. On May 8th,1987, the SAS opened fire on the IRA active service unit as they made their getaway after driving a digger with a bomb in the bucket through the fence of Loughgall RUC station. The bomb exploded, with the station sustaining major damage.
However, as the RUC were tipped off (had received strong information) prior to the attack and shared it with the SAD, the station had already been evacuated. Apart from one RUC officer and the SAS laying in wait for the victims. A number of whom were badly injured at the time. As the IRA unit made their escape, 36 SAS operatives open fire murdering the IRA unit from concealed positions, killing all eight of the IRA unit and an innocent civilian in cold blood the civilian who had inadvertently driven into the ‘Kill Zone’.
The eight IRA men murdered were Jim Lynch, Gerard O’Callaghan, Eugene Kelly, Padraig McKearney, Seamus Donnelly, Declan Arthurs, Patrick Kelly and Tony Gormley. Civilian Anthony Hughes was murdered when he was caught in the cross fire. He was in a car with his brother, Oliver, who was baby wounded, as they made there way to work. Both men were wearing blue overalls similar to the ones the men in the IRA unit were wearing.
The 30th Anniversary of the Loughgall Martyrs was remembered earlier this month at a commemoration event in Cappagh, Co. Tyrone, which was addressed by Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill. Last week Sinn Féin condemned the flying of the SAS flag in Loughgall, branding it an act of “glorification”.
Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady said: “This shameful act of glorification will only serve to add further distress to the families of the nine men as we approach the 30th Anniversary.” In a statement, an MOD spokesperson said: “We are aware of an image that shows an inappropriate poster outside MoD Lyneham and condemn its content. The poster was found, and no personnel reported seeing it.”
With many thanks to: Jamie McDowell, The Sunday World for the original story.
It was a dangerous time in Galway, with Black and Tans and Auxiliaries controlling the streets. At that time, Fr Griffin was the curate of Rahoon parish and lived in the presbytery in Mountpelier Terrace.
On the night of 8 September 1920, he was called out to attend Seamus Quirke, a First-Lieutenant in the local IRA after he was shot seven times at the docks.
He also concelebrated the funeral mass of Michael Walsh of the Old Malt House following his murder by Black and Tans on the night of 22 September 1920. People were extremely worried about the terror roaming the streets, but nothing could have prepared them for the atrocity that was about to take place.
About midnight on Sunday 14 November 1920, Fr Griffin was lured from the presbytery by British forces directly, or someone aiding them. He was taken to Lenaboy Castle where he was questioned. After being interrogated, he was shot through the head and his body was taken away by lorry and buried in an unmarked grave at Cloghscoltia near Barna.
There was much speculation and rumours about his disappearance over the following days. Then, on Saturday 20 November 1920, his remains were discovered by a local man, William Duffy while he was attending cattle. On 23 November, about 12,000 people gathered at St Joseph’s Church on Presentation Road, for his funeral mass.
During the funeral procession through the streets of Galway, a young woman named Katie Larkin shouted abuse and waved a Tricolour at the Black and Tans who had lined up at certain sections of the route. One of them became annoyed at her and shouted, ‘Shut up, you bitch, it was your own that did it.’ This would certainly give credence to the story that Fr Griffin was lured from his residence by someone speaking Irish. The burial of Fr Griffin took place the following day in the grounds of Loughrea Cathedral.
Although people were getting used to hearing of shootings, the murder of a priest shocked the entire town. Again, there was much speculation regarding the killing, but it was believed to have been in reprisal for the kidnapping and execution of an ‘informer’ named Patrick Joyce.
Joyce was the Principal in Barna National School and was convicted of spying on the evidence of five letters, which he was alleged to have written to the authorities regarding volunteer activities in the area. The IRA suspected that someone was giving information to the Black and Tans and so they employed some of their men working in the post office to intercept letters addressed to the British authorities. The plan worked and the republicans soon built up the evidence they required before taking action. The letters implicated a number of local people, including Fr Griffin, who was named in one of the letters to the police. The following is an extract from the letter explaining one of the reasons why young men were joining the republicans.
‘…these men who joined the Volunteers did so because they were being encouraged by Curates Griffin and O’Meehan who kept telling them that men should never be afraid or scared, that it was only women and children who suffered fear.’
There has always been much speculation as to who actually murdered Fr Griffin. Three people were named in a recent book, ‘All in The Blood, A Memoir’ by Geraldine Plunkett Dillon, published in 2006.
According to this source, it was a terrible night of wind and rain when a ‘raid’ took place at the home of the Kennedy family in Salthill. Three armed men dressed in civilian clothes entered the house demanding to know the whereabouts of the ‘Professor’. They were looking for Thomas O Maille who was known as the Professor, but he was not there at the time.
During the raid, the men called each other by their names, Barker, Smith and Ward, and mentioned that they had a ‘terrible job’ to do later on that night. After a time, the three of them left the house and made their way back in the direction of the town. A neighbour who lived across the road from Kennedy’s house watched these events unfolding and said that sometime later a military lorry passed at great speed and it contained ‘…the body of Fr Griffin and the three men, Barker, Smith and Ward, were his murders.’ This witness also said that it was a Galway RIC Constable who lured Fr Griffin out of the house that night.
In November 1922, a monument was erected at Cloghscoltia on the spot where his body was found, and a wreath laying ceremony takes place there annually. These wreaths are the work of Tom Joe Furey of Meadow Grove, a service he has provided for many years.
In 1937, a road was named in Fr Griffin’s memory. The following is an account of the first anniversary commemoration held for Fr Griffin. It was discovered by Jacqueline O’Brien during research for a book on this period. This report was published in The Connacht Tribune on 19 November 1921, and portrays the genuine esteem in which the young priest was held by the people of Galway.
‘A Year Ago – Grim and Ghastly Deed now a Hallowed Memory – Young Priest Murdered – Galway’s Silent and Solemn Tribute to the Late Father Griffin.
‘Remarkable scenes were witnessed at Galway on Wednesday when the anniversary High Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Rev. Michael J. Griffin, C.C., was celebrated at St Joseph’s Church, to which Fr Griffin had been attached up to the time he was taken from his residence at midnight a week before his dead body was found buried in a grave two feet deep, a few miles from Barna village. On Tuesday evening an order was given that all shops and business houses were to be closed, and the day was observed as a general holiday. Long before the hour for the opening of the Office for the Dead, the road leading to St Joseph’s Church was packed with people. Some 1,500 were unable to gain admission to the church. Many of these went to the Abbey Church, where prayers were said for Fr Griffin, but the greater number knelt on the steps of St Joseph’s and along the footpaths and road outside, whilst the rosary was continuously recited in Irish and English from the steps of the church by Fr Mansfield, OSA, and Fr O’Reilly, STL.
‘Inside the church itself every seat was occupied, whilst over 60 priests took part in the office and Mass. The general congregation included a number of staff officers of the IRA, amongst them Commandant Owen O’Duffy, deputy chief of staff, Commandant O’Droighnean, Vice-Commandant Davoren, Adjutant Walsh, East Connemara Brigade. Staff officers also attended from the South Mayo Brigade IRA, as well as from the South East Ridings of the county. Mrs Griffin, Gurteen (mother), Misses Ciss and Annie Griffin (sisters), and Mr Lawrence and Mr Patrick Griffin (brothers), were accommodated with seats near the altar rails, whilst Mr Joseph Kyne, Clonbur (uncle) and Messrs Patk James and M. Kyne, Clonbur (cousins), Mrs Lohan and family, Menlo, Mrs Forde, Ballymacward (aunt), Mtn. Walsh, Attymon, Mtn. Finnerty, Co.C., Patk. Raftery, Gurteen, James Hynes, Patk Cormican, Nicholas Finn, Gurteen, and other distant relatives attended.
‘Most Rev. Dr O’Dea, Lord Bishop, presided at the High Mass, of which Very Rev. Peter Canon Davis, Adm., was celebrant; Rev. Andrew Sexton, B.A., St. Mary’s, deacon; Rev. P. J. Durkin, C.C., Craughwell, sub-deacon; Very Rev. Dr Sheedy, C.C., Castlegar, master of ceremonies. The assistants at the throne were Very Rev. Canon McHugh, Castlegar, and Very Rev. Canon Griffin, Oranmore. Rev. James O’Dea, D.S., was master of ceremonies at the throne. Priests attended from County Clare, and the most distant parts of the united dioceses, and many of Fr Griffin’s colleagues came from Clonfert to assist at the High Mass.
Rev. J. W. O’Meehan, B.D., now of Kilbeacanty, Gort, who was Fr Griffin’s colleague in the curacy of Rahoon at the time of the murder, was a notable figure amongst the chanters. All the shops and business houses kept closed throughout the entire day, and the theatres were not open at night.
Hi folks, in light of what was on RTE’s Prime Time last night, it is definitely worth commenting that not once in the last 41 years has the Irish State broadcaster produced a documentary about the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Such documentaries have been made by TV3, and more surprisingly by both UTV and BBC Northern Ireland, but the sectarian murder of an innocent Irishman and the- subsequent cover-up are no interest at all to the over-paid hacks at RTE. They are utterly incapable of producing anything that might annoy the government. Still they can be depended on to mark Uncle Seamus’ anniversary by broadcasting last night’s feature on Robert Nairac. Well, we always knew who’s side they were on. With many thanks to: Justice For Seamus Ludlow.
A lot has been written over the last 30 years about Loughgall. Very little attention and coverage in the media, by politicians and organisations has been given to the plight of the Hughes brothers that night. I am therefore dedicating this piece solely to the Hughes family.
On the 8th May Anthony and his brother Oliver were at a friend’s yard repairing a vehicle. Getting the parts etc. meant that they travelled through loughgall at least 3 times that day. Soldiers were lying in wait for the IRA unit and had noted the Hughes vehicle on those occasions as evidenced in their statements. When the job was completed Anthony headed home with Oliver passing through Loughgall for the final time. As they pass St Luke’s Church the bomb exploded and realising there was shooting going on and a bomb had exploded Anthony stopped his car and was just about to reverse when they were shot at by the SAS. There are conflicting accounts by Oliver and the SAS about this and careful examination lends towards Oliver’s account being the most accurate.
The language the soldiers use is very disturbing and telling when they reference the Hughes and their car – One soldier who fired on them states:
“In my view it was there within the incident and in my eyes it was part of what was going on and was taking fire. We were also taking fire. I believed that there was armed terrorists in the white car who were a danger to myself and to other members on the ground.”
He said that he opened fire at the car when it began to zigzag. He only stopped firing when his magazine was empty ,,,,,,,,,,
“It moved back slowly in my direction and then full pelt, zigzagging as it was coming back. Because I believed that there were armed terrorists in that car and because we didn’t have time to lay caltrops on the road because of the intense fire on the road and because of the threat of the car towards me and my group, I opened fire at the car.”
The accounts of Soldiers S, T and U contradict the written statement of Mr Oliver Hughes and his oral statement at the inquest into the deaths. Oliver Hughes at the inquest stated they his brother had not reversed in the manner suggested by the Soldiers. He is also quite clear that the explosion occurred before they stopped and that was the reason for them stopping.
“Just as we came over the top of the hill at the church we heard a loud bang. I was aware that it was an explosion and saw smoke around the Police barracks. Anthony stopped the car and was about to drive back when there was a heavy burst of gunfire from behind us.”
The scene photos and maps support his statement. It is evident from these that the white car was parked on the left-hand side of the narrow road on a hill and in a uniform distance from the kerb. It could not have been so parked if it had been reversed in a reckless and erratic manner as suggested by the soldiers who opened fire on it.
Another disturbing aspect of Soldiers S and U’s accounts is that although they both can clearly see that Oliver Hughes was still alive neither of them treat him until a significant time after the event. They proceeded down the road to the station, had various conversations with other soldiers, and it was only on their return up to the car when they see an RUC sergeant was there then they treat Oliver Hughes.
All of this is disturbing reading. They state that the men were both dressed in blue overalls . Yet the evidence clearly shows that Anthony Hughes
“,,,, was dressed in a polo necked pullover and jeans. There was no boiler suit, hood or gloves on the body.”
On examination of the vehicles the Forensic examiner reported that all the shots directed at the Hughes car had originated from the Security forces. There were 34 bullets that struck the Hughes car. 26 of these were fired from behind.
“The bulk of the shooting at the Citroen car was intentional as opposed to the car being caught in crossfire.” The IRA shots were “directed at the RUC station as evidenced by the damage to the perimeter fence and the bullet strike marks on the front of the station.”
There is so much more that could be written regarding how the Hughes were deliberately shot that night and how the soldiers and the state tried to distort the account Oliver gave. However it is clear that both Anthony and Oliver were deliberately shot a multitude of times by the SAS. No IRA shots were fired in the direction of the Hughes car. Only Oliver had overalls on Anthony’s were in the boot of the car. It would be true to say that it was a miracle that Oliver survived the shooting that night. In 1997 Oliver accompanied the campaign to New York and related his account of what happened to him and his brother at a mock trial there.
From that night the Hughes family like the other families were left with so many questions. Mrs Hughes spent years writing to many trying to get answers. In June 1995 after the initial inquest the Hughes family joined with the other eight families as part of the Loughgall Truth and Justice campaign. Since then we have sought to expose the lies that were told and to get as much disclosure as possible on the events that night.
In March 2014 the Hughes family received an official apology for the shooting of the two brothers. It amended an earlier apology to state that the two brothers were wholly innocent of any wrong doing. It took 27 years for this apology to be made and whilst it was not brilliant it at least officially acknowledged the brothers had done nothing wrong.
Presently the Hughes family along with the other 8 families have sought a judicial review on the legacy funding issue and have been deemed the lead case on this. We await the next step in the process but hopefully it will happen in the immediate future. Meanwhile we as a campaign will continue our quest for the full disclosure on the events that night on May 8th 1987.
So whilst we all remember with pride the bravery of the IRA men that night let us not forget the terrible events that took place against these two brothers. Let us keep in our minds the courage of the Hughes family as they pursue truth and justice for a loving devoted husband, father and Uncle.
Easter 1916: British soldiers murdered Dublin families in their homes and buried them in their yard.
AS THE dust settled over Dublin City and the Volunteers who had made a heroic stand at Reilly’s Fort were ordered to surrender – a gruesome discovery was made in the basement of the licensed premises at 177 North King Street.
A young boy named George Fitzgerald was working as a porter in the cellar of the bar washing bottles when he got a “heavy smell” as Guinness workers were removing barrels. He noticed blood on the barrels which splashed onto his shoes.
They spotted that the floor of the cellar had recently been dug up and after removing some clay they found the bodies of the missing foreman Patrick Bealen and Jameson Distillery worker James Healy. This grim discovery was only the beginning.
Twelve more civilians had been brutally murdered by British soldiers in the area of North King Street. Another man was also killed on nearby Little Britain Street.
In the North King Street area, British troops faced ferocious resistance from the Irish Volunteers’ Four Courts garrison.
Suffering heavy casualties, the British were forced to use armoured cars made of flatbed lorries seized from Guinness Brewery with smokeboxes bolted on the back to move around the area.
They often backed the cars up to the doors of houses before breaking their way into the homes. In one incident, a British soldier attempting to club in a door with the butt of his rifle killed his comrade when the weapon discharged.
British General Lowe had issued an order that no attempt was to be made to take prisoners in the area as they had ‘placed themselves outside the law’. British soldiers took this as confirmation that they could execute anyone they suspected of being a rebel.
Commandant Paddy Holohan of Fianna Éireann, who was based in the Four Courts area, described the scene as the British troops arrived:
“An armoured car appeared again, and its fifteen occupants jumped out and proceeded to fire into every house along North King Street, the few occupants lying face down whilst the bullets pounded the walls over them… The attacking British clambered to the rooftops, and from this vantage rained down bombs on the street until the answering bullets dislodged them.”
The British then began to break down the doors of homes and bore through the walls towards the rebels positions.
In one incident a British officer “lost his head” according to the rebels and ordered a charge up the street against the entrenched rebel positions. The charge was cut down, leaving eight British soldiers dead.
After the British soldiers broke down the door of number 177 they rounded up the family hiding in the basement and placed them under guard. Patrick Bealen even chatted with the soldiers and made them tea before he was brought down to the cellar and shot in the back.
Civilians in the area said that between 6pm on 28 April and the following morning, British soldiers had carried out a house-to-house massacre of men and boys. There was outrage across Ireland when newspapers published accounts of the atrocities. Dublin Corporation voted by a margin of 22 to 1 for an inquiry into the incident.
The Freeman’s Journal spoke for many when it wrote:
“If an unarmed man is found in the exact place where he ought to be in such a time of turmoil, that is in his own home, his death at the hands of the military needs the most complete justification. When a man determines on Civil War he does not usually choose his own fireside as the scene of combat. If he is found there unarmed, the presumption is altogether in favour of his innocence. Even should his roof have been made the roost of a sniper it is no proof of the householder’s guilt. Had the military acted upon any other principle in Merrion Street, Northumberland Road and round Merrion Square those fashionable districts would have been decimated. There can hardly be one code for North King Street and another for Merrion Square.”
The Kerryman newspaper, reporting on the discussion at Dublin City Hall where Alderman Laurence O’Neill spoke of the appalling massacre, said:
“As one who lived in the vicinity of North King Street, and was personally known to some of the poor people who were killed, and as one who saw poor people shot down like dogs before his eyes, he should say that he could never forget the sights that he witnessed. He should never forget a poor young boy stark and stiff in a corner. He could almost hear the plaintive wail from him: ‘Oh good Lord, is there no one to save me’.”
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Taylor of the Staffordshire Regiment dismissed the numerous witnesses who claimed the soldiers had engaged in wholesale slaughter in North King Street. Telling the inquest:
“No persons were attacked by the troops other than those who were assisting the rebels, and found with arms in their possession”.
He went on to justify the murder of Healy and Bealan by claiming his troops had been under fire from “practically every house in the portion of King Street and other buildings overlooking it” and singling out their house:
“The premises number 177 North King Street were indicated to me as one of the houses from which the troops had been repeatedly fired upon.”
Defending the actions of the soldiers, General Maxwell said:
“No doubt in the districts where fighting was fiercest, parties of men under the great provocation of being shot at from rear and front, seeing their comrades fall from the fire of snipers, burst into suspected houses and killed such male members as were found. It is perfectly possible that some were innocent but they could have left their houses if they so wished and the number of such incidents that have been brought to notice is happily few. Under the circumstance the troops as a whole behaved with the greatest restraint”
Speaking in the House of Commons in July 1916, Irish Parliamentary Party MP for College Green, John Dillon Nugent – a nationalist and long-time critic of Irish republicans – contrasted the treatment of civilians in the Four Courts area by the British with that of British personnel captured by Irish forces:
“The Home Secretary, too, should know that the Metropolitan Police that were taken prisoners in the Four Courts were properly treated by the Sinn Féiners. They were actually guarded lest any attack might be made upon them by anyone until they were released and handed over to the War Office.”
Speaking of the rampage in North King Street, he said:
“Once the military come into possession of a particular street they do not satisfy themselves with trying to get into the houses. I was able to send to the Prime Minister a letter indicating that at one of the most respectable business houses in the street the military knocked at the door, and before there was time to open the door they fired through it and shot a young girl of eighteen who was in the hospital till about two weeks ago. This was at the corner of North King Street and Smithfield. There was no shooting at that particular point. This young girl, Cullen, is ruined for life.”
He also denounced claims that those responsible had ‘seen red’ and were not acting under orders:
“He [Dr Louis Byrne, Dublin City Coroner] had seen one back yard where three men had been buried for three days and then removed – buried in this yard manifestly with the object of concealing them. He saw another place where a poor boy had been shot in a small back room. He saw the boy’s mother who thought him asleep and when she went to rouse him, found him shot. He had been put up against a wall near the window and shot from the door, and it was impossible he had been shot through the window.”
No British soldiers were ever charged with the murders on North King Street
Number 27: Peter Lawless (21), James McCarthy (36), James Finnigan (40) and Patrick Hoey (25) murdered by soldiers at the Louth Dairy building and buried in the back garden
Number 91: Edward Dunne (39) found murdered in his home
Number 170: Thomas Hickey (38), Peter Connolly (39) and Christopher Hickey (16) were killed by British soldiers using bayonets and then buried in the yard
Number 172: Michael Hughes (50) and John Walsh (34) – shot dead in front of Ellen Walsh
Number 174: George Ennis (51) and Michael Noonan (34) – murdered by British soldiers
Number 177: Patrick Bealen (30) and James Healy (44) – murdered by British soldiers and buried in the cellar
Coleraine Street: John Beirnes (50) shot dead by a British sniper firing from a window
Little Britain Street: James Moore was shot dead
With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil war History.