Family suspected of killing ex-INLA chief

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THE CHIEF suspects in the Irish Republic for the killing of Dominic McGlinchey, former leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, are members of a prominent south Armagh family with a long-standing grudge against him.

McGlinchey was shot dead in Drogheda, Co Louth, late on Thursday night by gunmen who fired up to 10 shots, killing the former republican activist almost instantly.

Although one unconfirmed report claimed McGlinchey was trying to reassemble a new republican group, most sources denied this and said he was trying to settle down.

Members of the south Armagh family are said to hold McGlinchey personally responsible for the deaths in the early 1980s of three men connected to it. Security sources and republican sources say family members killed his wife, Mary, in Dundalk in 1987.

It is further believed family members were responsible for the murder attempt on McGlinchey last June, when a bullet hit his head. The presumption is that the family has finally succeeded in paying off the old scores.

A former 'chief of staff' of the INLA, McGlinchey had been a marked man since his release from prison in the republic last year.

A native of south Londonderry, he was originally a member of the IRA, leading a much-feared gang held responsible for killing many members of the security forces. But he broke with the organisation and in the early 1980s took command of the smaller INLA, instituting a wave of violence. The 1982 Royal Ulster Constabulary operations which led to the shootings of republicans, what became known as the 'Stalker affair', were reputedly targeted at McGlinchey.

In a 1983 newspaper interview he claimed he had carried out about 30 murders and more than 200 other operations against the security forces. These included the 1982 Ballykelly disco bombing in which six soldiers and 11 civilians were killed. He made legal history by becoming the first republican to be extradited from southern Ireland to the north. McGlinchey was handed over in March 1984, but in Belfast he was acquitted of murder and re- extradited to the republic.

There he was convicted of firearms offences and served seven years of a 10-year sentence before his release last year. In prison, he moved away from paramilitary activity and was described by the authorities as a model prisoner.

Obituary, page 45