McGlinchey sons seek answers to murders of parents

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By Anne Cadwallader

BELLAGHY, Co. Derry – The two sons of INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey and his wife, Mary, have given their first public interview and are demanding answers to questions about why their parents were murdered.

Mary McGlinchey was shot nine times as she bathed her two boys, then aged 9 and 10, at her home in Dundalk in 1987. Dominic McGlinchey was shot 14 times in Drogheda in 1994, witnessed by his younger son, Dominic Jr.

Declan and Dominic McGlinchey are searching for the truth about their past. Declan, who’s 21, is married with two young children of his own. Dominic is 20 and single. Both are working in the construction industry and living in south County Derry.

They were both traumatized by witnessing their mother’s murder at such close range. Neither child was ever contacted by any counseling service on either side of the border. To this day neither has fully talked through his experiences with any professional psychologist or counselor.

Their parents’ death was not the only tragedy to befall the two brothers. Their younger sister, Maire, died of meningitis in 1985, at just 18 months.

Although they live in Northern Ireland, most of the questions the McGlinchey brothers are asking fall within the jurisdiction of the Republic.

A British/Irish Rights watch campaigner, the redoubtable Jane Winter (who worked on the new dossier on British military intelligence and RUC collusion in the Pat Finucane murder) is due in Ireland to start making inquiries.

With her on their case, the two boys are determined to get answers to their questions. Among them are:

€ Why did no state agency ever offer them trauma counseling? Did no health board, court officer or education authority ever conceive that they needed help?

€ Why was no member of the family informed about the inquest into the death of Mary McGlinchey? It was held at Dundalk Court House on July 8, 1988. Dominic and Declan would have been key eye-witnesses.

€ Was loyalist killer Billy Wright responsible for shooting and wounding Dominic McGlinchey on June 12, 1993? If so, why was he never extradited to face charges?

When the Gardai and McGlinchey worked on a photo-fit, it bore a striking resemblance to Wright. Bernadette McAliskey subsequently brought a photo of Wright to McGlinchey and he confirmed the man who had shot him closely resembled the Portadown loyalist.

€ What is the status of the Garda investigation into the deaths of both Mary and Dominic McGlinchey? Was there loyalist involvement in these murders too?

The last Declan heard was at Christmas last year when he walked into Drogheda Garda Station and asked how it was going. The reply, he says. was: "It’s not going anywhere. We investigated it at the time but we got nowhere and we’re not looking at it any more."

Dominic McGlinchey was 39 when he was murdered. He was born and brought up in south County Derry and interned aged only 17. Released the following year, in 1973 he was sentenced to 18 months for having guns. He was one of the first people to be tried in the non-jury courts.

Soon after his release, he teamed up with two other south Derry IRA men. For a period in the early 1980s, Dominic McGlinchey was one of the North’s most feared paramilitaries, earning the "most wanted" tag.

He was arrested in the Republic in 1977 on charges of hijacking a Garda car and threatening an officer with a gun. Upon release in 1982, he clashed with the IRA leadership and left the organization.

McGlinchey joined the INLA, eventually establishing control of the organization. On St. Patrick’s Day 1984 he was arrested after a fierce gun battle in County Clare. He then fought a long but unsuccessful battle through the courts against extradition to Northern Ireland.

Later that year, he was extradited from the Republic on charges of killing Hester McMullan in 1977. This was the first extradition to Northern Ireland of a republican activist.

In October 1985, as he walked from Crumlin Road prison, McGlinchey was rearrested by the RUC. He was then immediately re-extradited to the Republic, where he served a 10-year sentence for firearms offenses connected to his original arrest in County Clare.

He was murdered in Drogheda in 1994. At an inquest in Drogheda in November 1996, Devlin McAliskey read a statement on behalf of the McGlinchey family criticizing the investigation by gardai.

Mary McGlinchey was 31 when she was murdered in Dundalk on Jan. 31, 1987. She was shot nine times in the bathroom of her home as she bathed her young sons.

She spent much of her married life on the run with her husband. In 1986, she was cleared of a kidnap charge by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

In her own right, Mary McGlinchey was an influential figure within the ranks of the INLA. The Department of Justice in Dublin refused Dominic McGlinchey permission to attend his wife’s funeral.

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