Rumours from Monaghan and the execution of Billy Fox?

I was cleaning up my hard disk on the way to London one day last week when I came across a number of RTE documentaries I’d downloaded, intending to listen to them when I had the time. Rumours from Monaghan stood head and shoulders above the rest. It is, as Our Friend in the North remarks, “a poignant documentary about a remarkable individual and one of the several thousand people who have now sadly been forgotten about”. It is also simple and unforgettable journalism.

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  • Tochais Síoraí


  • Mick Fealty

    I guess that description is up for legitimate contention. Though since no one in the 13 man team that killed him is talking, I guess you pays your money and takes your choice. The whole episode still evokes more questions than it provides answers for.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve added a question mark at the end to connote the ambiguity around the incident.

  • Irish Republican in America

    Sounds like an interesting documentary. mentions how he was considered “More republican than Fianna Fail members”… Has anyone talked about why he was murdered, if he was such a nationalist at heart?

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s up to conjecture, but the people who were held at the same time he was killed were in little doubt what was intended by it.

  • peter

    intrigued by what the motive was?

  • It doesn’t seem to be any great mystery to me.

    Senator Billy Fox was apparently the first victim of the introduction of the SAS into Northern Ireland – what few knew about at the time, and, consequently, were prone to blame upon republicans. Fox was a big critic of what was going on all over Ireland, and the hitmen killed him after their attempt earlier in the day to kidnap Eamon McGurgan failed.

    The raid on Fox’s house at the same time by 13 alleged volunteers was just to make sure the assassination stuck to the PIRA – like some of the murders that the FRU conveniently stuck on ‘Stakeknife’ during the late 1980s.

    The conviction of five Provos for his murder when the bombings there and in Dublin occurred were just insurance to make sure it resulted.

    This is one of the dirtiest incidents during The Troubles – like the murder of Northern Ireland Senator Paddy Wilson to give the real
    ‘Steakknife’ an alibi for not being so – and little wonder British hacks have forgotten about them both.

  • k

    While I think that ‘Trowbridge H. Ford’ is a spoofer of the highest order, I know that the IRA in the area still deny that they had anything to do with it. There’s no evidence but who gained by it? A republican (with a small r) removed and a protestant member of the oireacthas executed? What would the PIRA motivation for this be? And don’t degenerate into ‘he was a prod’. There’s more to it than that. This stinks of a setup.

  • k

    How was Adams a beneficiary? How did the Provos gain? 13 men for a couple of shotguns? I don’t think so!
    The Protestant Holocaust! Bullshit. You cheapen the Holocaust by comparing it to our wee squabble.
    ‘including Kinsella who was a mademan’ A mademan? What episode of the Sopranos are you watching?
    And if you’re really Willie Frazier your hands aren’t clean. Recent rally/protest at Stormont against Tony Blair by various groups. Republican:’Willie, are you still in the UVF?’ Willie:’If I was, there’d be no f***ing ceasefire!’

  • Cruimh

    “The Protestant Holocaust! Bullshit. You cheapen the Holocaust by comparing it to our wee squabble. ”

    Hear hear.

  • Holroyd

    W Frazer,

    If you are going to claim you know the details of Senator Fox’s death I would expect you to know where it occurred – his girlfriend’s home not ‘Fox’s place’.

  • k

    “The Protestant Holocaust! Bullshit. You cheapen the Holocaust by comparing it to our wee squabble. “

    Hear hear.

    Posted by Cruimh

    Cruimh, I fundamentally disgree with most of your posts. However, hopefully I think that you agree that we need to get a sense of perspective in this part of the world. Things were bad here, especially Belfast in the 70s but thankfully we never reached the Lebanese/Yugoslavian levels of civil war. The Genocide/Nazi comparison is used too often. There are irredemable bigots on both sides but we have never reached those levels.
    I’m Irish, you’re a Brit but I would rather sit down and come to an agreement with you than stick you in a concentration camp. The use of military force is a sign of logical failure. Apologies if this is slightly incoherent as I’m slightly pissed….

  • While k thinks wrongly that I am almost invariably a spoofer of the highest order, it was I rather than W Frazer who wrongly placed the assassination at Billy Fox’s house rather than at that of the parents of his girl friend, Majorie Coulson. This minor error makes no difference, though, in the overall picture, one in which Britsh agents figure largely, and the PIRA is barely to be seen.

    By March 11, 1974, the BA thought that it had essentially won the war with the IRA, though it had still not eliminated the killers of the three members of the lst Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers exactly three years before. They had, it seems, been ensnared by a Provo ‘massage parlour’ operation of their own.

    In the pursuit of the Fusiliers’ killers, the MRF’s own massage parlour determined that Senator Paddy Wilson knew all about their murders when he visited a nearby bar after taking advantage yet again of its services, and spoke much too candidly. (For more on this, see Peter Harclerode, Secret Soliders, p. 317.)

    The information was passed along to the UFF, and shortly thereafter John White and his associates murdered Wilson and his Protestant associate Irene Andrews in a most horrific way, making it look like it was Provo vengeance. Of course, this was no solution to the killing of the Fusiliers, as the SDLP Senator could not have known anything about who killed them, but it was a most convenient cover up for what had happened, and what British ‘counterterrorist’ planed in future.

    Still, the hunt for the Fusiliers real killers went on, the MFR suspecting that Eamon McGurgan, Seamus Grew, Patrick Loughin were involved. When the attempted kidnapping of McGurgan on the third anniversary of the Fusiliers’ killings was frustrated by the SAS not having totally free access to where he was – thanks to opposition that Fox had created against such operations by SAS assassins in the Republic – it was hardly surprising that they had him eliminated, and then they mistakenly blamed it on the OIRA – the guys who had killed Senator Jack Barnhill a few years back – rather than on the Provos.

    Still, Britis ‘counterterrorists’, led by Captain Robert Nairac, were no closer to getting even with the Fusiliers’ killers, necessitating the continued pursuit of McGurgan et. al – what ultimately resulted in the killing of John Francis Green, and the blowup between Colin Wallace and Nairac’s defenders, especially hacks David McKittrick, and John Ware.

    In short, it is not clear that the British
    ‘counterterrorists’ ever got even with the Fusiliers’ murderers, but they sure disposed of a lot of false suspects along the way.

  • Cruimh

    “Cruimh, I fundamentally disgree with most of your posts.”


    “Apologies if this is slightly incoherent as I’m slightly pissed…. ”

    How do you feel about my posts when very pissed and when sober ? 😉

  • Peter Brown

    “one in which Britsh agents figure largely, and the PIRA is barely to be seen”

    Except of course for the minor error of the conviction of 5 members of PIRA and the confession by one of them read out in Court outlining how members of that organisation were responsible for his death?

  • barnshee

    “Except of course for the minor error of the conviction of 5 members of PIRA and the confession by one of them read out in Court outlining how members of that organisation were responsible for his death? ”

    OOH DEAR a bit of a giant killer this one ???

  • Posters who believe that there isn’t anything more to the killing of Senator Billy Fox than meets a most casual eye – that it was not a British ‘false flag’ operation to blame on the Provisionals – should consider matters like these:

    (1) British military intelligence had the Gardai completely eating out of its hand, so much so that even whistleblower Captain Fred Holroyd ran three senior Garda officers in border towns, and got intelligence from them at the time.

    (2) When Britsh covert operators tried to kidnap Eamon McGurgan,apparently involved in the murder of the three Scottish Fusiliers, they failed because “… the Gardai handled by British agents were not able to ‘freeze’ the area.” (Father Murray, The SAS in Ireland, p. 118)

    (3) In reprisal, British covert operators were immediately able to put together a raiding party, apparently headed by a wannabe Kinsella and including some British covert operators, especially Captain Robert Nairac, to kill Senator Fox with massive overkill in order to expand the list of possible republican suspects – some of the shooters apparently receiving assurances for their going along with the confession to the murder.

    (4) It was reminiscent of how John White had killed Senator Paddy Wilson the previous year, and with the appropriate sectarian justification – “He was just a Catholic.”

    (5) And while the convicted killers of Fox’s most horrible murder were sentenced to life in prison – and generally a life sentence such as this lasts for life in Ireland – they were all conveniently released by the Minister of Justice after about 16 years in prison, and before there was any amnesty.

    (6) At least White served about a quarter century in prison for his killing a Catholic and a Protestant, and he was released under the terms of the GFA.

    (7) Why was Dublin so sensitve to the needs of his killers until only recently rather than to the deceased himself?

    In short, Dublin has a lot to learn about this particular trouble on March 11, 1974 during The Troubles.

  • Reader

    THF: Why was Dublin so sensitve to the needs of his killers until only recently rather than to the deceased himself?
    Take your pick:
    a) 16 years (each) isn’t a *very* short sentence.
    b) Well, the deceased was a Prod, after all.
    Note that most of what you wrote isn’t evidence, in fact, most of it needs evidence to prop it up. (1) is irrelevant, (2) is irrelevant, (3) is your claim, and I’m interested in your support for the bit where you used the word ‘apparently’, (4) reflects the motive recognised by everyone except you, and (5)(6)(7) are all a single piece of innuendo split into 3 (16 year!) sentences.

  • Dewi

    Trow – my brother is mentally ill but the latest drugs have really helped honestly.

  • Peter Brown

    “Posters who believe that there isn’t anything more to the killing of Senator Billy Fox than meets a most casual eye – that it was not a British ‘false flag’ operation to blame on the Provisionals – should consider matters like these:”

    Trowbridge H Ford unmasks himself as Gerry Kelly at least as portrayed on The Folks on the Hill only funnier – ” Who sank the Titanic, kidnapped Shergar and in fact started the whole thing?” “It was securocrats wot done it!”

  • francophone

    It was a crap documentary.

    Didn’t shed any light on things.

    Very interesting subject shame journalists weren’t up the the task.

  • Thanks francophone, but no thanks Devi and Peter Brown for your irrelevant, personal attacks.

    As for Reader’s answers that my claims are just irrelevant, indirect, and tentative, I think not.

    The confessions regarding all the incidents in question – that by Seantor Paddy Wilson that he knew the names of those in the Ardoyne area of the PIRA who killed the three Fusiliers, the apparent leader of the 13 men who killed Senator Billy Fox, and those behind the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan – were imagined, coerced, and prevented respectively.

    Paddy Wilson’s alleged ‘pillow talk’ was invented by the MRF to get the UFF to kill him – what got rid of an important opposing politician while helping establish an alibi for its newest, and longest informer, ‘Steak knife’.

    The killing of Billy Fox was an alternative target for the SAS peudo-gangs who wanted to get even with Eamon McGurgan for what happened to the Fusiliers – and there is no evidence that they just wanted to kidnap him on March 11, 1974 – because he was, like Wilson, a most troublesome opponent who was continually attacking their ways, and whose conspiracy murder was covered up by Dublin threatening to throw the book at the 13 after the bombings took place.

    To act as if the Gardai presence in the area, under British intelligence control, is irrelevant to what happened is simply bogus.

    And everyone should know that Albert Baker’s pseudo-gang was responsible for the bombings as part of the SAS campaign to spread confusion in nationalist areas throughout Ireland, and justify an Anglo-Irish security takeover while he himself was locked up for life. We just never learned exactly how because of the murders of people like Tommy Herron, Gregory Brown, Paul Tinnelly, Vincent Hetherington, Myles McGrogan, etc.

    This is simply British ‘counterterrorism’ run amuck.

  • Oh, Reader, about my use of “apparently” in discussing Sean Kinsella’s possible role in the killing of Seantor Fox, it seems likely that he was just named as one of the scapegoats after the fact by the gang which actually did it – a good way to put behind bars alleged republican terrorists in the border area without having to make a real case against them.

    It is interesting to note that when Kinsella and the others escaped from Portlaoise later in 1974, they all went to England, thinking that their trouble with the Gardai was at least over, only to discover that they were again made scapegoats there in the wake of the Guildford and Woolwich bombings – culminating in the Balcombe Street seige.

    They were arrested a year later in Liverpool, and were sentenced to 20 years in prison by Mr. Justice Cantley. While in prison, they were badly treated by the guards, as one would expect, as this link shows:

    To add insult to injury, when it came time to try Joseph O’Connell, Henry Duggan, Hugh Doherty and Eddie Butler for the above terrorism, Mr. Justice Cantley refused to step down from presiding over the trial when it was discovered that his name was on a PIRA hit list for having tried the case of Kinsella, Brendan Dowd, and the three others convicted of killing Fox.

    In sum, their treatment by both Irish and British law enforcement seems a total travesty of justice.

    I was wrong to say that it was too lenient on them – it was much too brutal, especially since they were, it seems, railroaded in the first place.

  • fair_deal

    Red card to the person falsely claiming to be W Frazer. It is a red card offence for a commentor to falsely claim the identity of a real person on slugger.

  • Anyone thinking that it was me is sadly mistaken, as here I am back.

    Anyone still interested in what happened to poor Senator Billy, and why?

  • Since no one seems interested, I shall have to do so myself.

    During March 7 and 8, 2005 at the meeting of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body – what considered it annual report, and those of its various committees, dealing with the need of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in light of what had been done in South Africa, and what was happening in Ireland with the appointment of Victims’ Commissioners and various inquiries – TD Seymour Crawford added this after he had recommended one when he got his chance to speak – what he had previously opposed until he heard about all the collusion by the Brits in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings:

    “There was also the case of Senator Billy Fox a member of the Oireachtas, who was murdered in his fiancé’s house. The former Minister and Tánaiste, Mr. Wilson, was head of that investigation, but so far it has revealed no answers. The Coulson family have been through a great deal. Audrey Coulson has since died from cancer, which was related to the trauma, but the family still feel aggrieved that the murder has never been solved.”

    So Dublin never investigated the murder properly (I wonder why?), and the confession by Sean Kinsella et al. was just a convenient Anglo-Irish
    counterterrorist ‘fix-up’ to satisfy an outraged public.´

    Really getting interesting now.

  • Reader

    THF: Really getting interesting now.
    Guess one thing that Billy Fox and Seymour Crawford have in common! In this case, your collusion claims are on the wrong foot. In this part of the world we have tit-for-tat inquiries.

  • Just more vague obfuscation about a most serious, long-term grievance, Reader.

    I am assuming that the one thing that they have in common is that they are both Fine Gael politicians, but it could be, according to you, that they are simply nuts, or Protestants, etc.

    Still, Seymour Crawford is a TD from Monaghan, knows the Coulson family very well, and believes, like it, that the murder of Senator Fox has not been solved.

    Now nobody, except crazy people, would make this up, even to the point that it apparently helped speed up Audrey Coulson’s death, if it had been properly investigated, and solved.

    So, stop grabbing for straws, and start talking sense.

  • For more about the railroading of Sean Kinsella for the callous murder of FG Senator Billy Fox, see these links:

    Why would Kinsella be welcomed home to the scene of this terrible crime, live there openly for a year – what the Bruton government considered so embarrassing that it rearrested him as if he were an OTR – and then be called upon by the Colombia Three, especially Jim Monaghan, to help secure there release, and return to Ireland if he were simply an PIRA hitman?

    Just avoid all the propaganda surrounding the crime, and think about the real facts.

  • Jocky

    Trow, in order to save time in future, could you make a (short) list of incidents in N.I., Iraq, Afghanistan that weren’t down to the Brits false flag operations?

  • All except the following, Jocky, though I have not kept one about those in Iraq and Afghanistan:

    (1) the assassination of SDLP Senator Paddy Wilson.
    (2) the assassination of FG Senator Billy Fox.
    (3) the assassination of Seamus Ludlow.
    (4) the 6 Shoot-to-Kill murders during the 1982 emergency in South Armagh.
    (5) the assassination of Francis Bradley.
    (6) the assassination of Francisco Notarantonio.
    (7) the killing of Bill Kane.
    (8) the killing of Jack Kielty.
    (9) the assassination of Pat Finucane.
    (10) the assassination of Rosemary Nelson.

    Of course, there may be a longer list, and there are additions from Britain and here in Sweden.

  • Reader

    THF: For more about the railroading of Sean Kinsella for the callous murder of FG Senator Billy Fox, see these links
    More links. But have you found a single *republican* asking for another investigation into the murder of Billy Fox? Have you even found any that will call it murder? Even O Caoláin didn’t ask for a retrial, or an inquiry, or an acquittal – he asked for ‘compassion’ for Kinsella, who he referred to as a POW. It looks as though even the Provisional Republican Movement are in on *this* conspiracy.

  • Turgon

    I have given up trying to confront you regarding the conspiracy theories but I must admit this from you is pretty priceless “So, stop grabbing for straws, and start talking sense.” It is true this American does have an irony bypass.

    Has it ever occured to you that no one unionist, nationalist or other on this site has ever shown any real interest in believing your posts. I disagree slightly with Dewi. I believe you are paranoid and a fantasist but I do not think you are psychotic, your posts seem too structured and have too much internal consistency for that.

  • Some reply, Reader, as this link demonstrates:

    O Caoláin has been the biggest critic of Irish collusion with British agents in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the killing of Bill Fox, the escape of the Littlejohn brothers from Mountjoy prison the same day, etc. – claiming that it is an indictment of London, involving British agents and Gardai collusion, for which Dublin has provided a conspiracy of silence.

    It is not O Caoláin’s business to call for his retrial, but his calling Fox’s death a killing in a war during which Kinsella was kept as a POW indicates that he thinks it was another friendly fire incident by the Brits, like the killing of Seamus Ludlow.

  • For another politician, a more important one – Labour TD F. McGrath – who is convinced that British ‘counterterrorists’assassinated
    Senator Billy Fox, note this grilling by him of former Minister of Justice Patrick Cooney for failing to investigate it, and the bombings when the Sub-Committee of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights was considering the Barron Report on January 28, 2004:

    “If I was to tell you that, say, in 1974 the British security forces and loyalist death squads were colluding in killing innocent people, killing laywers, would you have believed that a conspiracy theory?” (page 5)

    While the Sub-Committee Chairman protected Cooney from having to answer this most pressing question, there is no doubt that McGrath was referring to Fox, as he was the leading Irish lawyer killed that year. (See, e. e., the Press-Telegram article about the “Ireland senator slain” on next day while trolling for “Irish lawyers murdered in 1974”.)

    The murder is so hot that the Irish government will not permit an inquiry into the whole mess.

  • I am going to keep reposting this thread until someone refutes it or something drastic is done about it.

    The assassination of Senator Billy Fox makes all the other covert murders by Anglo-Irish operators, even those of lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, look a little less disgusting, so until I get some action, I am going to keep complaining about this horrendous murder, and its cover up.

  • Since complaints by people like me about Britain’s ‘false flag’ operations in Northern Ireland during The Troubles seem to be having some effect, I shall continue to complain.

    The Police Ombudsman has been ordered to see if the authorities in Northern Ireland were following a shoot-to-kill policy when the six unarmed youths were killed during the emergency in South Armagh in the fall of 1982, as this link shows:,,2130705,00.html

    Of course, they were, and it was in response to the nail bombs that the Provos had exploded in London on July 20, 1982, killing four Guardsman and seven Royal Green Jackets bandsmen, and what Captain Simon Hayward went to the province to rectify with a vengeance. (See his autobiography, Under Fire: My Own Story, p. 40.)

    Hayward was apparently driving the Cortina containing the HQMSU team which cut down Toman, Burns and McKerr when their car ran through a checkpoint on the Tullygally East Road, as an article in The Observer recounted on October 12, 1986:

    “As they closed from behind, the HQMSU man in the front stretched out of the passenger window, pouring shots into the Escort from his machine-gun. His companion behind was simultaneously firing the Ruger out of the back window, and the driver himself, in a scene one poleman describes as ‘like the Wild West’, was holding the wheel with one had and firing his pistol with the other.”

    By the time Hayward and his team killed three more unarmed volunteers, London decided that there had been enough unguided vengeance murders, and the campaign was stopped.

    And Stalker’s investigation was stopped when the Home Office’s police constabulary decided to connect him up with Hayward’s brother Christopher, IRA gun-running, and the activities of Manchester’s Quality Street Gang through the activities of businessman Kevin Taylor, and the comings-and-goings of the catamaran True Love.

    There was no love lost, though, in either these killings or that of Senator Billy Fox.