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Loughgall Martyrs Jim Lynagh Diaries, Murdered by 'republicans' Executed by the SAS
Saturday October 08, 2011 21:58 by The Irish Observer
In the days prior to the Loughgall executions Jim Lynagh had a meeting at his flat in Dublin Street, Monaghan Town with one of his Intelligence Officers. Lynagh often worked one-on-one with people in order to minimise the risk of infiltration by the security forces. In his final meeting with this individual Jim Lynagh handed over a small black box for safe keeping, it was Lynagh’s view that following the Loughgall attack his flat in Dublin Street would be raided and he did not want the Gardai to find his black box in which we now know he kept his personal diaries. The black box has remained sealed for 24 years and is only now opened with a view to trying to cast some light on one of Ireland’s most fearsome IRA Commanders.
In the aftermath of the restructuring of the East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA by leading PIRA volunteer Kevin Mc Kenna. The East Tyrone Brigade of the provisional IRA became one of the most active and feared instruments of the republican movement. The East Tyrone Brigade drew its membership from several counties and had a fearless leader in Kevin Mc Kenna. Mc Kenna who lived and lives in County Monaghan had originated from Augnacloy in County Tyrone. Mc Kenna was well known to the security services both in the north (Northern Ireland) and the Republic.
Militant Republicanism in East Tyrone has a long history dating back to Tom Clarke and beyond. In modern day militant republican folklore East Tyrone is at the core of most conversations. IRA Hunger striker Martin Hurson was from Tyrone and the many tens of thousands of people who attended his funeral paid testament to the high regard in which militant republicanism was held in the County of Tyrone. Yet it would be East Tyrone and the ‘border’ counties in general that would become the murderous focus of the British security services once they noted the weakness of the Adams/Mc Guinness leadership in the mid-1980s.
The East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA would pay a heavy price for the wheeling and dealing that Adams and Mc Guinness were engaged in with M16. We now know with certainty that even while Gerry Adams was speaking his weasel words at the grave side of IRA volunteer Jim Lynagh, Mc Guinness was already engaged in clandestine meetings with M16 agent Michael Oakley (The Mountain Climber). Yet Adams told the mourners at Jim Lynagh’s grave side that, “Anyone who does business with the British, the SDLP or the Freestate establishment are fools as they have all sold out on the Irish people”. Yet that is exactly what Adams and Mc Guinness were already doing, they were engaging with the British in a secret and under hand manner.
Jim Lynagh: On the 8th of May 1987 the East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA sent their 'A Team' to blow up an unmanned RUC station in Loughgall. However, on this occasion the 'A Team' would not return. On the 8th of May 1987 the East Tyrone Brigade lost eight IRA volunteers when they were ambushed by the British Army’s SAS. Any objective observer may ask, why attack an unmanned RUC station? This I will now explain.
The 1980s seen a sea change within Sinn Fein and the IRA. The IRA had become a well-oiled paramilitary organisation. New weapons, explosives and methodology had been acquired and developed by the Provisional IRA. The IRA and in particular the East Tyrone Brigade were relentless in their militant campaign against the British establishment. IRA Commander Jim Lynagh and other senior members of the Provisional IRA while housed in Portloaise Prison had read and adopted a Maoist Military Strategy/tactic for their campaign. Lynagh explained to those capable of understanding that the intention was to create Green or Liberated zones in the North of Ireland that remained under British rule. This tactic meant not only killing members of the British security services but also killing anyone who assisted or helped maintain the British presence in Ireland. Lynagh’s strategy is well documented in his personal diaries.
It is fair to say that Protestants would bear the brunt of this new and intentional tactic. Lynagh made no apology for this aspect of the campaign. It happened that Lynagh’s new strategy would be partnered with a new British Government policy of Ulsterisation or normalisation. This new British policy meant that the British Army would be less visible on the streets and the local RUC and UDR would be in the front line against the IRA campaign. This new British policy simply placed more soft Protestant targets in the IRA shooting gallery. The British Government wanted the Northern Ireland conflict to be viewed as something criminal that could be dealt with by ordinary policing methods. However, behind the scenes M15 would direct the war against the IRA.
The Maoist strategy would be viewed as having been at its most successful for the IRA in areas such as South Armagh. However, large urban areas in Belfast and Derry were also viewed as being success stories. Lynagh intended liberating large geographical areas of Tyrone, Fermanagh and County Derry. He intended blowing up British military infrastructure and then attacking anyone who attempted to rebuild that infrastructure. Hence Loughgall was one such target, the idea was to simply blow up the unmanned RUC station and send a clear message to the loyalist people in that area. This type of attack would be viewed by Lynagh and his fellow commander Patrick Kelly as a spectacular, they had carried out similar attacks and so Loughgall was expected to be a soft yet important target.
However, unknown to Lynagh and his comrades their plan was already known to the British security services. I can exclusively reveal that three weeks before the IRA attacked Loughgall, SAS members had used the firing range at the RUC forensic lab in Belfast to test fire weapons similar to those that would be used by the IRA unit at Loughgall. The reason the SAS test fired such weapons was so that they could identify and distinguish friendly fire from hostile fire on the night. These weapons that were test fired at the firing range in Belfast were signed in and out in a normal fashion, so records do exist. There has been much speculation about who set the IRA unit up for execution however; much of that speculation has come from those who wish to conceal the truth, I will deal with this aspect in a moment. Jim Lynagh had travelled from Monaghan the evening before the Loughgall attack and he had went to a safe house in Coalisland in County Tyrone.
Extra members of the SAS had been specially drafted into the North in preparation for the Loughgall executions. This SAS team and its back up units from the RUC and other British Army Regiments had very clear orders; nobody was to get out of the kill zone that had been set. The SAS armed with good information and state of the art machine guns just had to sit and wait for their quarry. At approximately 7pm on the 8th of May 1987 the IRA unit drove their digger loaded with explosives through the front gates of what was supposed to be an unmanned RUC station. However, in order for the SAS to stay within their Yellow Card rules, they had placed some of their men at the back of the RUC station so that they could later claim that lives were in danger and that is why they had to open fire.
The van containing Jim Lynagh and the other members of the Unit was rained upon with SAS gun fire. All eight IRA volunteers were executed. However, the SAS could not stop the bomb from exploding and much of the RUC station was demolished by the blast. What I can reveal exclusively is that when the bomb exploded a large piece of the steel digger bucket ripped open the side of the van in which the IRA volunteers lay dead. Indeed had the operation went ahead as planned it is certain that at least some of the IRA volunteers may well have been injured or killed by the shrapnel from the digger bucket. However, no accident was needed; the eight IRA volunteers were executed. In keeping with their orders to execute everyone in the kill zone the SAS further executed an innocent passer-by Anthony Hughes and left his innocent brother for dead.
The morning following the executions at Loughgall I was amazed that some republicans were already offering explanations as to how the eight IRA men had ended up dead. One active member of the East Tyrone IRA said, “The SAS were lying in wait around several RUC stations in Tyrone, it was just bad luck”. This was said only hours after the executions at Loughgall, surely anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that this was nonsense. The SAS did not have the man power in the north at that time or at any other time to lie about for weeks on end around remote RUC stations. I think that these words spoken by an active member of the East Tyrone Brigade of the PIRA only hours after the Loughgall executions are telling. While I have absolutely no suspicions in relation to the IRA volunteer who spoke these words, I do have suspicions about the more intellectually able person who put those words and ideas into his head.
Following the Loughgall executions the SAS gathered up all of the IRA weapons used in the attack. The weapons included three Heckler and Kock rifles, one FN rifle, two FNC rifles, a Ruger revolver and a Spas-12 Shot gun. Forensic examination of the weapons later revealed that they had been used to kill 7 people and used in the attempted killing of 12 others. One of the guns recovered had actually been taken two years earlier from an RUC man. These weapons were familiar to the SAS soldiers who recovered them as they had test fired similar weapons only three weeks before the executions.
It is fair to say that anyone thinking out side of the box on the Loughgall executions knew well that this was a well-planned British attack that was only possible with good forward intelligence. Sometime after the Loughgall executions a young Loughgall woman was kidnapped by the IRA and it was being whispered that she was the Loughgall informer; however, for this writer such a suggestion is at best perverse. Setting aside specific intelligence that brought about the executions at Loughgall, the Key to the slaughter at Loughgall and the border counties in general during this period is twofold. The British viewed the Adams/Mc Guinness leadership as being in a state of weakness due to the fact that the Adams/Mc Guinness leadership had approached the Brits with a view to making a deal. The clandestine meetings between Mc Guinness and M16 agent Michael Oakley had simply strengthened the British view that the IRA could be brought to heel. M16/M15 had several senior members of the republican leadership in their pay at all stages of the negotiations.
The British then adopted a twin track approach to the IRA. The British would engage in clandestine dialogue with the Adams/Mc Guinness leadership, while at the same time directing large security resource at those aspects of the IRA that would not be so easily tamed. This twin track approach by the British meant that M15 and the SAS would focus on the men under the control of Kevin Mc Kenna (East Tyrone) (IRA Chief of Staff) and Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy in south Armagh. This campaign against the Hawks in the IRA continued into the 1990s, while Mc Guinness and Adams were engaged in talks with, “the British, Freestate establishment and the SDLP”. In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the eight IRA members who were executed at Loughgall had their Human Rights violated by the failure of the British Government to conduct a proper investigation into the circumstances of their deaths. However, these trivial declarations do little or nothing by way of establishing the truth into what happened in Loughgall on the night of the 8th May 1987. New information disclosed here show why the truth about Loughgall will never be told.
The Loughgall informer did not die in Loughgall on the night of the 8th of May 1987 as suggested by some who have vested interests. The Loughgall informer like so many before him continues to live a life full of lies and deceit, just as did Dennis Donaldson, Sean O’Callaghan and so many others. The Loughgall informer may well not have realised what the end result of his clandestine meeting would be, however, he should come forward now and tell the truth in the knowledge that we now live in a new political dispensation. The families of the eight men executed in Loughgall deserve to know the truth, so look deep within and find the strength to come forward. This writer is certain that the first indicator the British got in relation to Loughgall was three weeks before the Loughgall executions when Patrick ‘Paddy’ Kelly went to Monaghan Town to meet Jim Lynagh. However, Lynagh was not about when Kelly went to look for him and Kelly made the fatal mistake of making inquiries about Lynagh’s where abouts with another Monaghan ‘republican’. Patrick Kelly had entered the Round House Bar in Church Square Monaghan Town and made inquiries with Owen/Eoin Smyth, this was a fatal mistake.
The Monaghan 'republican' who would eventually become the Loughgall informer was worth 5K per week to the RUC in the early 1980s, while this individual would later be arrested in the north and sentenced to a few months in jail, the more serious charges against him were dropped in return for his continued co-operation following his release from Long Kesh (The Maze). When arrested in the north the Monaghan tout filled dozens of pages of statements and was then placed in Crumlin Road jail as a mole to get close to Seamus Mc Elwaine (Scotstown, Monaghan) who was facing serious charges at that time.
The tout would spend over 200K refurnishing a run-down pub left to him by his uncle in the mid-1980s, the tout enjoyed foreign holidays at a time when most republicans in Monaghan were living on low income or social welfare.
The Smithwick Tribunal heard (w.e.15/7/2011) that an RUC officer walked into Monaghan Garda station in the early 1980s and asked the gardaí to offer STG£5,000 (€5,675) a week to a suspect then being interrogated in the building.
Former Garda sergeant Brian Moroney, a gold Scott medal winner, said it was not unusual for RUC officers to visit Border Garda stations at the time and he was present in Monaghan Garda station in the early 1980s when such a visit took place.
Mr Moroney told the tribunal he never knew how the RUC had known the suspect was in custody in the building but that his recollection was clear. He said the RUC officer had asked the suspect be offered the money, which would come from the RUC, in return for on-going co-operation.
Mr Moroney said: "I am quite certain what was on offer. My reaction was it wouldn't be our job to offer that kind of stuff, and we wouldn't be dealing with that kind of stuff and I asked him to leave."
Mr Moroney said "down here" money for paying informers was small and in the tens, rather than in the thousands of pounds. It had to be drawn from C Branch in Garda headquarters.
Former chief superintendent Michael Diffley of the Garda crime and security, intelligence unit, told the tribunal relations between intelligence services north and south of the Border at the time were very close and that visits by RUC officers south of the Border were frequent.
Mr Diffley, who served as a senior garda in the Border region and who also served as private secretary to former Garda Commissioner Eugene Crowley, said the Border area was a very difficult environment for gardaí as they were aware of IRA intelligence monitoring them and their families.
What is for certain is that Patrick Kelly, Jim Lynagh, Padraig Mc Kearney, Declan Arthurs, Seamus Donnelly, Eugene Kelly, Gerry O Callaghan and Tony Gormley were clinically executed. However, these men would have sought no apology from the Brits in relation to the way they were killed; they died as they would have expected to die, fighting the Brits. What they would want however, is for the truth to be established in relation to the Loughgall informer. Why that has not happened, holds little mystery. There is only so many Dennis Donaldsons that the republican leadership can handle, and particularly if dealing with the Loughgall informer would mean up setting some solid republican voting trends in any particular area. In the period 1987-1992 the East Tyrone Brigade had 28 members executed by the British security forces, compare this to the number of IRA volunteers killed in areas such as Belfast and Derry where the leadership were in clandestine talks with the British.
The age old British trick of using smoke and mirrors to protect their informers has been truly put to work in relation to Loughgall. One former 'SAS' member wrote that on the night of the Loughgall executions one of the IRA volunteers was supposed to be wearing a red hat or scarf so that he would not be killed. Only someone of the lowest mental capacity would believe such nonsense, particularly when all the IRA volunteers on the night of the 8th May 1987 were not visible to the soldiers when they opened fire. Furthermore, seasoned writers such as Henry Mc Donald who writes for the British Observer newspaper makes childlike mistakes when writing about Loughgall, in an article written by Henry Mc Donald for the British Observer 29/Sept/2002, Mc Donald says that Jim Lynagh was a Sinn Fein councillor at the time of his death at Loughgall, this is nonsense. Mc Donald also says that Lynagh was opposed to Sinn Fein dropping abstentianism as a tactic, this is also untrue, Lynagh took to the stage at a Sinn Fein function in Clontibret in Monaghan in 1986 and gave the IRA's backing to the Sinn Fein move. However, Lynagh had made it very clear that there could never be a six county settlement and he was certain that the Brits could be forced from the north in what he seen as the final phase of the war for independence. Lynagh seen no contradiction in IRA volunteers being both IRA activists and Sinn Fein activists simultaneously, in fact he believed that such duality would make for the creation of a more intelligent and forward thinking republican movement. These sentiments are all clearly set out in Jim Lynagh’s diaries.
This writer is also bemused at the comments made by some ‘republican’ commentators who appear on internet video clips relating to Jim Lynagh and the Loughgall executions. These commentators barely able to write their own names dare to speculate that Jim Lynagh a military strategist would have supported Sinn Fein’s participation in the British partitionist Stormont Assembly. One only has to look at how little sacrifice these commentators made to realise that their words are nothing more than the utterances of Sinn Fein glove puppets, which are in turn British glove puppets. The greatest insult to the memories of the Loughgall volunteers is the fact that the Loughgall tout has placed his own video on YouTube in order to help conceal his deception and treachery, the tout claims to have taught Lynagh everything he knew, yet in Lynagh’s own personal diaries, Lynagh expresses the view that he allowed personal and local political considerations to cloud his judgement when IRA volunteers were calling for action to be taken against the man who would eventually become the Loughgall tout.