Dominic McGlinchey

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Dominic McGlinchey
Born 1954
Bellaghy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Died 10 February 1994 (aged 39–40)
Drogheda, Republic of Ireland
Allegiance Irish National Liberation Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army (1979 - 1982)
Commands held Chief of Staff (INLA)
Conflict The Troubles[1]

Dominic McGlinchey (1954 – 10 February 1994) from Bellaghy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), an Irish republican paramilitary group.


McGlinchey was born into a large Bellaghy family (he had 10 siblings) with a "strong republican background".[2]

Paramilitary activities[edit]

In August 1971, at the age of 17, he was interned without charge for ten months in the prison camps of Ballykelly[disambiguation needed] and Long Kesh. After his release, he was imprisoned again in 1973 on arms charges.[3]

After his next release, he joined a South Derry Independent Republican Unit along with Ian Milne and future Provisional IRA hunger strikers Francis Hughes and Thomas McElwee. The unit would later merge with the Provisional IRA. Their activities led the Royal Ulster Constabulary to take the unusual step of issuing wanted posters.[4]


McGlinchey was arrested by the Gardaí in 1977 and charged with hijacking a police vehicle in Monaghan, threatening a police officer with a gun, and resisting arrest. In 1982, while serving time in Portlaoise Prison, he clashed with the Provisional Irish Republican Army leadership; he was later expelled from the IRA.[3]


The INLA welcomed McGlinchey because of his previous experience. He joined in 1982 as Operations Officer for South Derry and became Chief of Staff within six months. Under McGlinchey the organisation began to shake off its reputation for disorganization and incompetence.[3] In a Sunday Tribune interview McGlinchey admitted involvement in the Droppin Well bombing in Ballykelly, County Londonderry, and said he had provided the weapons for the Darkley massacre but did not approve of that attack.[5] It has been alleged that he was targeted for assassination by The 'Det'.[6] However an attempt by the RUC to interdict him on 12 December 1982 failed with Roddy Carroll and Seamus Grew being killed as they allegedly ran a checkpoint.[7] (Those deaths were subsequently investigated by John Stalker as part of his investigation into the Shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland.)

Internal feud[edit]

Tim Pat Coogan, a historian of the Republican movement asserted that McGlinchey's authority within the INLA was absolute and that he re-enforced it by ordering the deaths of 'anyone he didn't like'. However other authors claimed that decisions were actually taken collectively by a council of leading members, although those disgruntled with the outcomes tended to attribute everything solely to McGlinchey.[8] When a powerful northern unit based around an extended family did not turn over £50,000 raised in a fake postal order scheme (which was essential to the INLA's finances) the scheme's originator insisted that unless the offending unit was punished he would not supply any more funds. It was decided, reportedly against McGlinchey's objections, that members of the northern faction were to be killed. Two were summoned to a meeting: because Mary McGlinchey was acting as an emissary the pair were lulled into thinking that there would be no danger of violence. However, they were led to waiting gunmen and shot dead. This incident sparked a long-running series of tit for tat revenge killings, including that of Mary, and is theorised to have ultimately led to the death of Dominic McGlinchey.[8]


In March 1984 McGlinchey was wounded in a shoot-out with the Gardaí in Ralahine, Newmarket on Fergus, County Clare and arrested.[9] He was extradited to Northern Ireland and sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of murder. This conviction was overturned in October 1985 by the Belfast Appeals Court on the grounds of insufficient evidence, and McGlinchey was returned to the Republic of Ireland where he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment on firearms charges.[10] His wife Mary was killed in her Dundalk home by INLA gunmen who broke in while she was bathing her children on 31 January 1987. McGlinchey was unable to attend her funeral as he was still imprisoned in the Republic of Ireland.[3] After being released from prison in March 1993, he investigated claims that Irish criminals were involved in money laundering with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). He survived an assassination attempt made by UVF member Billy Wright in June 1993.[3]


Gravestone erected to Dominic McGlinchey.

On 10 February 1994, McGlinchey was making a call from a phone box in Drogheda when two men got out of a vehicle and shot him 14 times. No-one has ever been charged with his killing and it is not known who carried out the assassination.[11]

His funeral took place in Bellaghy, County Londonderry.[12] The mourners included Martin McGuinness and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. In spite of their differences McGlinchy was respected amongst the Provisional IRA. The oration was delivered by Bernadette McAliskey. During the oration she described journalists, particularly from the Sunday Independent, who had claimed that McGlinchy was involved in criminality as:


In the midst of his paramilitary career, he married Mary McNeill, from County Antrim on 5 July 1975.[citation needed] The couple had three children: Declan, Dominic, and Máire (who died as an infant from meningitis).[citation needed] Mary later became a member of the INLA.[13] Dominic Jr. also became a republican activist.[14][15] In October 2006, Declan McGlinchey was remanded in custody at Derry Magistrates' Court on explosives charges. The charges were connected to the discovery of a bomb in Bellaghy in July.[16] He has since been cleared of these charges.[17] Declan was again arrested on 14 March 2009 in connection with the murder of Police Service of Northern Ireland Constable Stephen Carroll. No charges have been brought.[18]


McGlinchey is the subject of the songs "Paddy Public Enemy Number One" by Shane MacGowan of The Pogues and "Hands up Trousers Down" by The Irish Brigade.[19] The former charts McGlinchey's life from his teens through to his eventual killing in a phonebox while the latter references his theft and use of Garda uniforms.[20][21]


  1. ^ "the most important campaigns ever fought by the British Army and its fellow Services" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  2. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat, IRA, The
  3. ^ a b c d e "A brutal killing that is unlikely to be resolved". The Argus. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  4. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 26 Apr 2006 (pt 28)". Hansard. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  5. ^ Obituary: Dominic McGlinchey
  6. ^ Taylor, Peter (2002). BRITS: The War Against the IRA. Bloomsbury. pp. 243–247. ISBN 0-7475-5806-X. 
  7. ^ Ottawa Citizen 14 December 1982. Leader behind bombing blitz target of hunt. Pp 68.
  8. ^ a b Holland, Jack and McDonald, Henry (1996). INLA Deadly Divisions. Poolbeg. ISBN 1-85371-263-9.
  9. ^ "1981-84: Hunger strikes and the Brighton bomb". BBC News. 18 March 1999. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  10. ^ "1985-87: The Anglo-Irish Agreement". BBC News. 18 March 1999. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  11. ^ University of Ulster's CAIN Project
  12. ^ a b Tim Pat Coogan the IRA pg541
  13. ^ "McGlinchey, Dominic". MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
  14. ^ Tony Macauley (28 August 2006). "What the papers say". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  15. ^ "Dissident groups out to challenge SF". Belfast Today. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  16. ^ "Ex-INLA man's son on bomb charges". BBC News. 27 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  17. ^ "McGlinchey cleared of bomb charge". BBC News. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  18. ^ "Eleven held over NI murders". UTV News. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  19. ^ Shane MacGowan: He Will Not Go Gently,
  20. ^ Enemy No1, Lyrics from
  21. ^ Triskelle editorial (2007)

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