IRA dissident is seized 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 super-grass, 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, an ex-IRA prisoner from County 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 for 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, in 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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003