Major underground laundering facilities in Armagh/Louth

Here’s a brief update on the story Pete picked up yesterday morning. Owen Bowcott’s report hints heavily that the raid on Slab Murphy’s farm, which straddles the border has taken place in the context of the decommissioning of IRA weapons, and that organisations assertion that it is no longer involved in criminal activity. He has previously been the subject of an ARA probe. The Irish Times has more details:

Yesterday’s searches of multiple sites and premises, named Operation Achilles, involved more than 300 Garda and PSNI officers, Irish and British soldiers, and customs and revenue officials from both sides of the Border. Co-ordinated searches took place around the townland of Ballybinaby and across the Border in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, and in Newry, Co Down.

A fleet of tankers which were being used to transport laundered fuel was seized during the searches. Some of the trucks bore the livery of multinational fuel companies, allowing them to drive cross-country without arousing suspicion. Four laundering facilities attached to a major network of storage tanks, some of which were underground, were also found.

  • fair_deal

    I take it the two guns were legally held?

  • DK

    They were farming areas, so almost certainly.

    Not sure that all the ciggies, fuel and cash were legal though!!!


  • heck

    Is there anyone, like me, who sees smuggling as essentially a victimless crime? Especially if it involves the deadly 20000 cigarettes, or a few cases of whiskey?

    Who hasn’t exceeded the limit on duty free when they come back from their holidays?

  • DK


    If it was a few ciggies/booze no-one would care. But it is also masses of fuel, with the associated hazards to the environment and local people that this entails.

    The victims are the locals with contaminated land/illnesses; the businesses shutting down through competition and the economy losing tax revenue, which you and I will have to pay for.

    This might have been tolerated (by some) if the cash was used to fight for Irish freedom, but that excuse is no longer there.


  • andy

    I thought everyone had been released without charge, which tends to fatally undermine the credibility of this report.

    (If they haven’t been released then I guess my credibility has been undermined somewhat)


  • fgray

    The raid on the Alexandra Bar makes sense now!

  • heck

    come on DK

    are you really trying to tell me that this was about “the associated hazards to the environment and local people”. that some how the locals “with contaminated land/illnesses” were the motivation.

    that does’nt pass the laugh test. The brits have been spying on south armagh residents for decades by beaming microwaves into their homes. Now they have a new found interest in the health and welfare of the locals. Give me a break.

    as for the loss of tax revenue –is there anyone who lives within 20 miles of the border who does’nt buy their desiel in the free state.

    This raid netted 2 packs of cigarettes for every policeman involved. Some criminal empire!!

    From what I have read about mr murphy he is a teetotaler who lives a frugal lifestyle. He just appears to be some uppity republican that the brits and their usefull idiots can’t abide.

  • TOT

    Its not victimless where funds are used to support organised crime and terror including murder.


  • Paul

    Heck, do you think duty on fags and petrol should be abolished? There is an argument for that but not many people buy it. How should the resultant fall in tax revenue be replaced? More income tax maybe? Do you think tax dodging is O.K. as well? another victimless crime? Do you think diesel washing is just a big caper? Do you think these murdering gangsters give a monkey’s fuck for their neighbours or their countrymen? Are you soft in the head?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Some of the trucks bore the livery of multinational fuel companies,’

    Saw the vehicles on UTV, was no liverys on any of them, more lies.

  • Paul

    Incidently Heck, if you genuinely think microwaves are a serious risk to your health you should move to Antartica. Mobile phones work by microwave, there are mobile phone masts EVERYWHERE in this country. You might even have a mobile phone yourself, I understand they are becoming popular.

  • sohnlein

    Underground laundries – Jasus, I wish they’d leave the little people alone.

  • SlugFest




  • heck


    It is not me who says this is a health hazard. In the late 70’s the Russians were using the same technology to spy on the British and US embassies in Moscow. It is the British and US governments who claimed this as a health hazard.

    TOT ,

    the IRA campaign has been over more that a decade. The funds (if there was this criminal empire-and I have my doubts) are not used to fund terror and murder.


    This was 2 packs of cigarettes for every cop involved!!! Should everyone from Newry who drives over the border to fill his car and buy his cigarettes be subject to raids like this?? After all “How should the resultant fall in tax revenue be replaced?”

    Back to my original question–is’nt smuggling a victimless crime?


  • Reader

    heck: This was 2 packs of cigarettes for every cop involved!!! Should everyone from Newry who drives over the border to fill his car and buy his cigarettes be subject to raids like this?? After all “How should the resultant fall in tax revenue be replaced?”
    Do you reckon the cigarettes were for his personal use then? Does your argument change if they were stolen? Or if the fuel was to be laundered rather than just transported? If you don’t think there should be taxes on the sale of goods, or if you think that the level of taxes should fall to the lowest level present in the global market, how *do* you think that Governments should make up the tax shortfall – higher income tax across the board, or maybe close a few hospitals?

  • heck


    does your argument change if they wer’nt?

    I am saying that anywhere there is a border with different tax rates on either side there will be smuggling.

    This was not about tax revenue–it is to get a well known republican.

    I hate to be reduced to whataboutery but loyalists are killing people. The IRA campaign is over- and in the scheme of things smuggling cigarettes is not the worst crime.

    i’m sure good loyalists living near the border get their desiel in the republic.

    I think the 20000 cigarettes will be used by the DUP as another excuse not to share power.

    If this angers you so much the get rid of the border.


  • Reader

    heck: If this angers you so much the get rid of the border. NO BORDER NO SMUGGLING
    This is the border between the UK and the Republic you are taliing about. Welcome back into the UK folks.
    Firstly, I do not regard tax evasion as a victimless crime simply because the main victims are the numerous poor who most need the services provided by the government out of taxation.
    Secondly, fuel laundering is tax evasion and ecological vandalism on *both* sides of the border, and would be lucrative even without a border – do you understand why some diesel is red?
    And as for the poor wee chuckie defence – what?! If someone is breaking the law, I hope they wouldn’t have immunity just because they are thought to be responsible for even more serious crimes too. (They got Al Capone for tax evasion, after all – but is there any doubt that he did evade tax?), And if someone is making hundreds of thousands of pounds by breaking the sorts of laws that every country in the world has, under what circumstances should the police leave them alone? Do you *want* political policing after all?

  • heck

    Fair deal

    Your reference to al Capone says what this is really about–an attempt to get at Mr. Murphy for his alleged roll in the IRA campaign of the 70s and 80s.

    That is my problem. The IRA campaign HAS STOPPED. If this was part of some normal campaign against smuggling and he got caught up in it I probably wouldn’t be put out. However I guess I feel this is a massive operation against Murphy for a minor (alleged) offense (smuggling cigarettes) and will be used as an excuse not to share power with nationalists.

    If you are that offended why don’t you come out and say that everyone who buys diesel in the free state or who brings back cigarettes from Dundalk is a criminal and call on the police to go after them with the same seriousness.

    That would be a consistent position and I would respect that.

    I guess my position is that I don’t like the border and if people save a few euros by shopping on the cheapest side of it I don’t feel offended and if the British loose some tax money so much the better.

    As I said


  • Pat Mc Larnon

    From the crown forces point of view Slab is allegedly associated with the IRA in that area.

    The IRA in Sth Armagh crippled the crown forces when they operated there, producing devastating casulaty rates with little loss to themselves. The mighty British Army were too afraid to patrol on foot and were reduced to flying about in helicopters and hihing in watchtowers. Given the casualties they suffered that is nothing to be ashamed of.

    To declare that it is simply a case of settling old scores would be more honest. Revenge is a human emotion that most people understand. Finding the courage to now patrol on foot must also be recognised.

  • Paul

    Heck you really are talking the greatest load of nonsense. People who buy diesel in the south are paying duty -to the ROI. It’s for their own personal use, it’s not smuggling. We are not talking smalltime here, a few fags back from holiday, we are talking about a massive criminal conspiracy, against the govts north and south of the border. The person to be charged with this(I hope) is an influential figure in the RM – which want to be part of both govts. They want the power to tax you and me, they want to administer the law, to make law and enforce it. The problem is, they have no respect whatever for the rule of law and are only interested in their own narrow criminal interests. It really is like appointing Tony Soprano as DA. It isn’t a matter of the DUP using the fags as an excuse, they are right on this, SF are not fit for government.

  • Realist

    “The IRA in Sth Armagh crippled the crown forces when they operated there”

    Brilliant 🙂

    The Crown Forces are still there…ensuring that all the PIRA weapons have gone, together with Slab’s fags.

  • doire

    Does it not seem very coincidental that just as a positive IMC report is released we have another theatrical performance from the psni. Lots of police officers deployed to make headlines and of course there are lots statements about what they may have found but again nothing of significance comes from it.

    Just another day for the scared securocrats of the NIO.

  • Ah yes.. that’ll explain the Garda/CAB/Army presence too..

    Do change ‘the securocrat are to blame’ record.

  • Kathy C

    Posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    I agree that it was done for revenage for the successful PIRA campaigns of South Armagh.

    Personally, I’m begining to see a picture emerging. Just recently we have the Irish gov’t ruling McFarland can be tried. And now we have the Irish gov’t coperating with the brits against the symbolic head of resistance against british occupation of Ireland. A rather strange yet interesting twist…

    I ask…who does it benefit going after Mr. Murphy and Mr. McFarland? I have my guess…does anyone else?

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    The above post was posted by me, Kathy C ….not DK 3 as indicated in red.

    posted by Kathy C