IRA dissident abducted and beaten by gang

POLICE ON both sides of the Irish border are investigating an incident in which a republican critic of the IRA was abducted and held for some hours early yesterday.

Although there were fears that the man would be killed, he was released, badly bruised on the head and body, after eight hours in which he is assumed to have been in the hands of the IRA.

Last week a former IRA supergrass, Eamon Collins, was killed in a republican district of Newry, Co Down, which he had refused to leave, despite a campaign of threats and intimidation. It has not been established whether he was killed by the IRA or other republican elements.

The man abducted yesterday was Paddy Fox, a former IRA prisoner from Co Tyrone. At 3am he was surrounded by men in the car park of a hotel in Co Monaghan, on the southern side of the border, and dragged into a van. With the Collins murder fresh in everyone's mind, there were worries that Mr Fox would not be seen alive again.

Gardai in the Irish Republic and the RUC in the north launched a hunt for him, but around lunchtime he reportedly telephoned a relative to say he had been released. The incident is assumed to be another instance of IRA intimidation and "internal discipline".

Mr Fox was known as a dissident who opposed the peace process and Sinn Fein's policy of becoming involved in the new Belfast assembly. In an interview with a newspaper last week he accused the IRA of acting as "the policemen of the peace process".

He added: "It's because since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement I've been critical of the republican leadership. When people asked me what I thought of the agreement, I would voice my opinion. I tell them I don't think the struggle was worth that. Is that what men were fighting and dying for? Is that why we went to jail?"

The abducted man's parents, Charles and Teresa Fox, were shot dead by loyalists while he was serving a 10-year prison sentence for possession of an IRA bomb.

He said that last November an IRA gang wearing gloves had searched his home, and that two weeks ago he escaped another abduction attempt not far from his home at Dungannon, Co Tyrone. He had taken extra security precautions, reportedly moving around Ireland in an attempt to evade the IRA.

Meanwhile, the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said police were close to identifying those who bombed Omagh, Co Tyrone, last August, killing 29 people. He described the investigation, which had involved interviewing hundreds of witnesses, as going very well.

Sir Ronnie added: "We are very close to knowing who is involved in this atrocity. It is wrong to consider that at any given deadline we are about to bring charges. We will bring charges but there is much yet to be done."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
Life and Style
food + drink
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Consultant Configuration, SQL, SQL Server

£55000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Technical Cons...

Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

£525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

Commercial IT Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

Business Analyst / Project Manager - Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: One of the mos...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home