Ballymurphy man led UVF murder squad…

Ciaran Barnes looks at a murder from 1974. He understands that the UVF squad that carried it out was led by a Ballymurphy Catholic called Jimmy McKenna, who “had lived in a caravan in the grounds of the vicitm’s Milltown furniture shop. He did odd jobs around the shop for his victim”. He is said to have ‘crossed over’ when his brother was killed in later 1970 by the IRA, though Barnes believes “he was operating as an undercover British Army solider in West Belfast before this killing occurred”. The case is currently under investigation by the Police Ombudsman, and the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team.

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  • Shore Road Resident

    Interesting story. What a pity Ciaran Barnes can’t be trusted to report it objectively. Perhaps Greg Harkin will look into it?

  • andy

    It is indeed an interesting story. I think it was covered in a lot of detail in the “Secret history of the IRA”

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Ciaran Barnes looks at a murder from 1974. He understands that the UVF squad that carried it out was led by a Ballymurphy Catholic called Jimmy McKenna, who “had lived in a caravan in the grounds of the vicitm’s Milltown furniture shop. He did odd jobs around the shop for his victim”. He is said to have ‘crossed over’ when his brother was killed in later 1970 by the IRA”

    I read about this last year. I think it was in “UVF”, Cusack and McDonald’s brilliant insight into the Ulster Volunteer Force. If my memory serves me right, at the time the Provos called it a “third channel” or something along those lines (presumably the other two “channels” were Protestant Loyalists and Roman Catholic Republicans) who they said was aligning himself with the UFF, the military wing of the UDA. The Provies had poor intel though because the man they were talking about, Jimmy McKenna, had nothing to do with the UDA/UFF but had in fact contacted the UVF to offer his services in order to gain retribution for the callous murder of his brother…

  • pete

    Anyone made the opposite Journey (Protestants to the ira/inla) from 1970 onwards?

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    I have heard local exPOWs talk about a protestant member of the PIRA who served time with them in Long Kesh in the early eighties. I cant remember his name but I am sure he came from the West Belfast area. There are also a few cases of ex british army soldiers who have crossed over to the provos.

  • Irish Republican in America

    Wasn’t there a “Prod Squad” in the early 80’s?

  • Tim

    Interesting story, I’d like to know more. I guess I’ll have to search google…

  • Cormac

    There was Ronnie Bunting – his father was actually a friend of Ian Paisley – who was a Protestant member of the INLA (and not the only one, in the early days).

    Interesting article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article732409.ece

    Anyone know of any Protestant PIRA members?

  • pete

    excellent article, Cormac

  • Justin

    Irish Republican In America: Yes, the “prod squad” was operating in Belfast. It was mentioned in Joe Cahill’s book.

  • Firbolg

    ‘Further Afield – Journeys from a Protestant Past’ by Marilyn Hyndman (Beyond the Pale Publications) is a collection of interviews with ‘Odd Prods'(diverse Prods) including Protestant Provos and Sinners. A great read

  • andy

    Sorry i got it wrong – the book I was thinking of was correctly identified by Concerned Loyalist above.
    There was a story recently of some Cahtolic special branch informer from the 90s who had first joined the IRA, then joined the UVF, then became a tout (I think he had a personal grudge against one of his provo bosses).

    In terms of relatively recent protestant members of the IRA, one of the Maze escapees was a protestant (ex-RAF member) from, I believe, the Tigers Bay area. I can’t remember his name but he was mentioned in Dominic Dunne’s book “Out of the maze”, which I have temporarily misplaced.

    I can also remember reading about a protestant IRA associate if not fully fledged member from the Fermanagh border area. I can’t remember his name either.

  • SuperSoupy

    This case is also mentioned in ‘Lost Lives’ it says McKenna’s brother was employed by Crawford.

  • SuperSoupy

    btw: according to Cain/Sutton the IRA, OIRA and INLA all lost one Protestant volunteer each. Loyalist groups had no Catholic members killed.

  • Harry Flashman

    If I recall correctly there was a prod IRA man in Derry who blew himself and his colleague up when they tried to bomb the Superfare supermarket.

    The two contestants for a Darwin award carried their bomb through the front entrance which just happened to consist of electric sliding doors and the remote sensor device triggered the bomb.

  • darth rumsfeld

    I seem to recall a Protestant IRA man killed in a shootout somewhere in the North county Tyrone area in the early 1970s.

    Also Gary “Lofty” Lynch was a member of the junior INLA in Londonderry before changing to become a UDA member who was murdered by the IRA. I think his parents were in a mixed marriage.

  • Harry Flashman

    Darth, according to “Lost Lives”, the Superfare bomber was the only prod provo KIA.

    That’s interesting about Lofty Lynch, where did you get that info from? I presume from his name that his old man was the Catholic.

  • I think if you check back you will see that Irish republicanism was almost born in ptotestantism. Are we all forgetting Wolfe Tone?

  • Rory

    I was interested in obtaining a copy of the book “UVF” by Macdonald and Cusack which Concerned Loyalist mentioned above but on searching Amazon found to my horror that only 4 copies of a paperback – which had been published at £9.99 RRP – were available at prices ranging from £44.45 to £109 ! Clearly a valued collectors’ item. Is it no longer in print does anyone know?

  • Doctor Who

    one of the others

    Yes Irish republicanism in the form of the United Irishmen has it´s origins in Protestantism, however that movement of 1798 has absolutely no relevance to modern republican terror groups.

    Everytime I hear this tripe about a so called “Prod Squad”, it really makes me squirm with laughter. Provos have always peddled this myth to hide behind their blatant sectarian campaign. We know little of these “Pradesens” except to say that they lie behind a shroud of mysyery and nobody knows their names.

    That is until now, I can now reveal them as Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Sneezy, Sleepy, Happy and Bashful.

  • darren

    dr

    How do you sqirm with laughter ??

  • Doctor Who

    darren

    First of all fella I said squirm not sqirm. I suppose I am implying that the crap referred to causes me to writhe, wriggle and contort my body while uncontrolably pissing myself laughing.

    “Prod Squad” HAaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAlollolololololbolloxx.

    Something like that.

  • Garibaldy

    Rory,

    Doesn’t seem to be in print still from looking at
    the publisher’s website. Perhaps the four provinces bookshop might be worth a try, though I don’t remember seeing it there.

  • Cormac

    SuperSoupy:

    I’m not sure if CAIN have their facts right (‘twould be unlike them, though) but I seem to recall that Noel Lyttle was also another Protestant member of the INLA killed during the Troubles.

  • nofrills

    Rory,

    I’m interested in obtaining the book, too. Have you looked at amazon.com (US)?
    When I had a look, there are several copies for less than 40 USD, that is, less than 20 GBP. Even though it’s rather expensive for a 9.99 book…

  • darth rumsfeld

    “That’s interesting about Lofty Lynch, where did you get that info from?”

    local legend was that in the Hunger Strike riots Lofty was rioting in Gobnascale, where he was reared, and by the late 1980s he was rioting against the Anglo-Irish Agreement!!Google him for a biog on the east bank protestant boys flute band

  • GreenProd

    Noel Lyttle was indeed a protestant. He was killed by the SAS in the same action as Ronnie Bunting.

  • pugachev

    If i remember rightly Bowyer-Bells “Secret Army” identifies a Proddy IRA cell who operated out of the Markets area of Belfast in the 70s. I always assumed this was just propaganda, to justify the SF & IRA claims that they were not sectarian organisations.

  • pugachev

    Oh & didn’t the Sunday World make a lot of claims about the Catholic leadership of the Lurgan LVF, in the aftermath of the Marty ÓHagan murder ?