My last article received constructive criticism as I included the killing of UDA members alongside the killing of politically uninvolved Protestants under the article title The Sectarian Murder of Protestants by Catholics. This was fair comment. The inclusion of the killing of the UDA men was, I think, relevant, but it could have been introduced in a clearer way. The comments underneath that piece led to an interesting debate about the presence of sectarian intent behind the 1993 Shankill bomb.
This article looks at the Bayardo Bar bombing of August 1975. The IRA clearly considered it a target, and I have found some evidence that it was a place where arms were stored, prominent loyalist paramilitaries drank, and where violence happened. Despite this, I believe that there is simply no question that the attack was anything other than a sectarian bombing. The men shot dead in the opening stages of the attack were 30 years older than seasoned mature paramilitaries would be, and the use of a bomb ensured that the attack was indiscriminate in nature. A UVF man was killed, but a UVF man was also killed by the UVF when they shot up the Chlorane Bar on Gresham Street.
The murders of Peter and Malcolm Orr were despicable crimes. It is not surprising that no organisation has wanted to associate itself with this wanton act of prolonged cruelty. The Shankill Butchers are rightly held up as a totem of sectarian depravity. But one theme I have uncovered in the murders of Protestants by the 3rd Battalion of the IRA’s Belfast Brigade is that the victims were in the hands of their killers for a long time. I have not seen any evidence of violence being meted out to the Orr brothers, but they were in the hands of the organisation who would ultimately kill them for at least 10 hours, according to the available evidence.
The Murders of Peter and Malcolm Orr, July 1972
As reported by Martin Bell (on BBC Rewind), at around 6am on Wednesday 5th July 1972, a farmer’s wife heard shots. These were the shots that killed Peter (19) and Malcolm Orr (20), two brothers who were murdered together and left near what is now Belfast International Airport, not far from where James Carberry would be found a few years later. They were the 8th and 9th people to die in less than a week.
Peter and Malcolm’s parents, gave an extended interview (BBC 24 Hours: When Will the Killing Stop?) in which Mr Orr described how they left the family home just after 8pm, and were expected at their girlfriend’s home half an hour later. They never made it. Mr Orr described receiving a phone call from one of the son’s girlfriends asking where he was. Worried, Mr & Mrs Orr traced the route they would have taken, and raised the alarm. Mr Orr spoke with great dignity of how he spent the night awake, without a phone or access to a car, hoping for news, and walking to barracks and up to patrols, asking the police and army if they had heard anything. He described his relief at hearing that no bodies had been found on radio bulletins the next morning. However, at 11:30am, a newsflash reported that two bodies had been found, and Mr Orr said he instinctively knew that they were his sons. Mrs Orr, less than a fortnight after losing her two sons, said that she felt sorry for their killers as they would have to live with what they had done. She also said that perhaps she “had thought too much about my own little family and not enough about the world outside.” Mr Orr spoke to receiving cards from the Falls Road expressing sorrow, and letters from all sections of the community. A wreath arrived from the mother of Fusiliers John and Joseph McCaig, who were killed by the IRA, along with another soldier, Dougald McCaughey.
At the Peter and Malcolm’s funeral (BBC Scene at Six), Mr Orr walked between the two hearses, a hand on each car, wishing to walk with his sons to their final resting place. When asked how he felt about vengeance, he said he did not feel any desire for it, and developing the point, asked how anyone could feel vengeance against someone that they didn’t know.
Lost Lives stated that the murder of the Orr brothers “have always been regarded as one of the mysteries of the Troubles.” Lost Lives was published in 1999, and several sources have since placed the responsibility for the killings with the IRA in North Belfast.
Kevin Myers wrote that one of the killers of the Orr Brothers was Terence “Cleeky” Clarke.
Terence “Cleeky” Clarke
Born in Belfast, it appears that Cleeky Clarke spent some time in Coventry. He was arrested and charged with arms offences in 1971, the Belfast Telegraph giving an address in Coventry, but noting that he was from Etna Drive. Clarke escaped from the Crumlin Road prison as part of the “Crumlin Kangaroos” and was captured on the 14th August 1972. Clarke was also charged with possessing a .45 pistol and four rounds of ammunition. He refused to recognise the court and was passed packets of cigarettes from a woman in the public gallery. The resident magistrate, William Staunton ordered that the cigarettes be confiscated, and asked Clarke to treat the court with respect. Clarke replied “do you want to see the marks on my neck and body. Is that courtesy?
The day before Clarke’s capture, loyalists committed what was described as “the most sadistic murder yet” of a politically uninvolved 48 year old Catholic man, named Thomas Madden. In terms of sectarian murders, loyalists accounted for over double the number than republicans did in 1972.
Staunton was shot dead by the IRA in January 1973. One of the Orr brothers had bought 40 cigarettes shortly before he was abducted. 38 remained unsmoked and untouched when his body was found many hours later.
The Orr brothers lived on Alliance Road, a ten minute walk from Clarke’s family home on Etna Drive.
There remains no explanation for why the Orr brothers were selected for a prolonged abduction, followed by murder.
Cleeky Clarke did over 20 years in prison for a variety of IRA actions, including his part in the killings of two British Army Corporals during the funeral of IRA Kevin Brady. As is widely known, Clarke, along with many others, believed a car which drove into the way of the cortege was another loyalist attack and, with considerable personal bravery, was first on the scene to challenge the intruders, who were armed. I was unable to find the relevant footage, but I think Clarke saved a press photographer from an angry crowd which had mistaken him for another infiltrator.
The IRA were officially on ceasefire when the Orr brothers were killed. The ceasefire began on 26th of June 1972, and a condition of it was the release of Gerry Adams from Long Kesh to take part in a republican delegation to engage in talks with representatives of the UK Govt, on the 9th July. Adams commanded the IRA Belfast Brigade’s 2nd Battalion. Martin Meehan commanded the 3rd Battalion, which included Clarke’s Ardoyne unit. Meehan was captured and interned on the 9th August, just over a month after the murder of the Orr brothers. The Belfast Brigade commander was Seamus Twomey. Chief of Staff was Seán Mac Stíofáin.
On TPQ, Anthony McIntyre described how “scathing” Gerry Adams had been of the blatantly sectarian murder of the Orr brothers. It is rumoured that Adams was furious with Clarke for his role in the double murder. With the passage of time, though, the relationship had been repaired, and Clarke acted as co-ordinator of Adams’ security team.
Cleeky Clarke died of cancer in June 2000, which he was first diagnosed with in 1990, in the same Crumlin Road prison that he escaped from 19 years earlier.
He was 53 years old and was survived by his wife, two children, and also his two brothers, Gerard, and Seamus.
At his funeral, Fr Des Wilson, who conducted the funeral mass at the Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne, said:
He was a man of great courage and generosity. He had a tremendous ideal that Ireland should be shared between all the people. He brought up his two children beautifully, when he was allowed to be with them.
The Bayardo Bar bombing, 13th August, 1975
|Illustration from the Birmingham Post, 1st April, 1972|
On the 19th of November 1971, a 17 year old man named Hugh Alexander Harris was remanded in custody for malicious wounding. Harris, the RUC alleged, had carried out a knife attack on a Catholic boy, 15 year old Michael Patrick Conlon. The court heard it was a “partly sectarian attack” and that Conlon’s left ear was cut in two. The court also heard that Harris admitted the attack but alleged that “he started it first.”
On the 4th of February, 1974, a man was injured when a bomb exploded in a mail box opposite the Bayardo bar. An hour later, a controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect letter in a mail box in Percy Street, off the Shankill Road.
On Saturday, 8th June 1974, Ernest Lionel McCurdy (36) Shankill Parade and Charles Miller (29), of Forth River Parade, were remanded in custody on charges related to a serious assault on an unnamed victim who sustained serious face and mouth injuries. The victims injuries were so severe that he was unable to make a statement. The attack took place in the Bayardo Bar, The judge ruled that there was a danger of witnesses to the assault being intimidated.
On Thursday the 19th of June, 1974, two IRA members on a motorcycle threw a bomb at the Bayardo Bar, which blew in windows and injured five people. Local people stopped a passing army patrol and told them a black taxi driving away contained the bombers. The army opened fire, hitting the taxi, but mercifully not injuring anyway, before realising their mistake.
On the 29th November 1974, a judge acquitted the Bayardo Bar manager, George Thompson, of possession arms and ammunition. A Thompson submachine gun, and dozens of round of ammunition, were found concealed in a loft above a backroom. Thompson accepted that he knew they were there, but claimed he feared for his family’s safety if he did anything about it. The judge apparently accepted this.
On Thursday, 13th August, 1975, an IRA unit from the 3rd Battalion carried out a multi-fatality, multi-casualty gun and bomb attack on the Bayardo Bar.
The Belfast Telegraph described the murder of five people at the Bayardo as a “forgotten atrocity.” The article, published in 2011, said that following the Miami Showband massacre:
A retaliatory attack was expected from the IRA for such a blatant UVF outrage and it came almost exactly a fortnight later when a gun and bomb attack was mounted on the Bayardo Bar on the Shankill Road.
More than 50 people were injured when the old pub structure crumbled, engulfing them in bricks, wooden joist frames, plaster and roof tiles.
Samuel Gunning was chatting to his brother-in-law, William Gracey, who worked in the bar, when the IRA unit arrived at Aberdeen Street in a stolen car and unleashed a fusillade of bullets from an automatic weapon, killing both men.
The gunman's accomplice then walked into the crowded bar and left a bag with a bomb inside it. Customers ran to the toilets in the hope of finding sanctuary, but the bomb exploded, trapping many beneath the rubble - just as the McGurk's bar bomb had done. Hugh Alexander Harris (21) and Joanne McDowell were found dead beneath the rubble and, even though she was pulled alive from the debris, Linda Boyle didn't survive her rescue.
Contemporary reports of the trial of the men convicted of the bombing detail how a list of loyalist pubs was found in Seamus Clarke’s house. The court heard that Brendan “Bik” McFarlane was the driver, and that Peter “Skeet” Hamilton was the man who planted the bomb that killed three people.
Hugh Alexander Harris was a UVF member, and appears on the roll of honour. It is not difficult to imagine that the IRA in Ardoyne were aware of the weapon being found on the premises. Nevertheless, this was a blatantly indiscriminate attack.
Seamus Clarke, Brendan “Bik” McFarlane, and Peter “Skeet” Hamilton were all sentenced to five life terms for carrying out this atrocity.
At 01.20am on 2nd March, 1976, Hugh Leonard Thompson “Lenny” Murphy was detained for questioning upon leaving the rebuilt Bayardo Bar with Robert “Basher” Bates. Later that morning, Murphy attempted to murder two Catholic women. The RUC captured him attempting to retrieve the pistol used in the murder bid, and Murphy was ultimately sentenced to 12 years in prison, of which he served six. The IRA’s two bombings of the Bayardo Bar clearly did not deter the UVF from using the bar socially, or for using it as a place to plan the murder of nationalists from.
The murder of Alexander Patterson, 4th June 1976
Two members of the IRA’s 3rd Battalion sat in the back of a taxi being driven by George McDermott. Sitting in the front beside the driver was Alexander Patterson, aged 42, and there was a young woman sitting in the back. The taxi stopped at Hesketh Road (scene of the murder of UDA man Trevor Kell in 2000), whereupon Gerard O’Halloran and Gerard Clark got out and immediately opened fire on the men sitting in the front. Mr McDermott was injured, and Mr Patterson was killed almost immediately. The female passenger in the back was unharmed and apparently not targeted.
O’Halloran and Clarke were 16 when they murdered Mr Patterson and attempted to murder Mr McDermott. In October 1977, they were sentenced to be detained at her majesty’s pleasure. They were sent to HMP Maze, and the blanket protest.
A postscript to this collection of stories is the theme of brotherhood. Peter and Malcolm Orr socialised together as friends and brothers, and died together. Cleeky Clarke, their alleged killer, had two brothers, Seamus and Gerard, who were convicted of blatantly sectarian murders. At one stage, all three Clarke brothers endured the privations of the blanket protest.
Perhaps the Bayardo Bar’s most infamous customer was Lenny Murphy. His older brother John was also a prominent UVF member, and is the viciously sectarian Mr B in Martin Dillon’s flawed, but well-read, account of the Shankill Butchers gang. In 2008, Lenny Murphy’s nephew, William Murphy, had received a life sentence for the barbaric murder of a 78 year old man named Andrew Spence.
In my next article, I would like to look at the command structures in place in Belfast and their effect on encouraging or limiting sectarian murders carried out by republicans.
If anyone has any information, or ideas for exploration, I’d be very interested in hear from you.
⏩ Brandon Sullivan is a middle aged, middle management, centre-left Belfast man. Would prefer people focused on the actual bad guys.
There have been allegations made that the murder of Thomas McKenzie was a homophobic hate crime, as opposed to a sectarian one. According to correspondence from Jeff Dudgeon (available on his website):ReplyDelete
"NIGRA had been contacted by the RUC after the horrific murder as well as people who went to the disco (probably at that time the Chariot Rooms in North Street)...Thomas had been taken from the Oxford Street cruising area on the night of 11 July that year. No police follow-up apparently occurred."
Brandon - It seems you're prepared to beat this to death.ReplyDelete
For what reason?
As from part 1: you'll succeed in proving that some Provo actions were sectarian. Hurrah!
By Simon's report on the analysis of the stats though, you'll also clarify that for by a ratio of 10 to 1 Loyalist motivations were more greatly sectarian. Apart from ingratiating yourself with other 'peacenik revisionists' and proving that CRN's created 1/10th of sectarian murders as compared with the numbers Loyalism inflicted on CRN's (never mind securocat interventions), what's the point?
Take into account that the brutalised will tend to respond in a brutal fashion, and it could as equally be argued that the Republican Movement contained sectarianism better than could reasonably be expected. Look at how Israel responds to Palestinian attacks? Look at the former Yugoslavia? Look at Rwanda?
Yourself and others are well down the moralist bunny-hole. A constructivist sub terrain created by the imperialist west who pays no notion of respect to such concepts; Allied bombings of civilians in WW2, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Rainbow Warrior and most lately the supply of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, an unfortunate people who've they've led down the primrose path, a disastrous road which will possibly/probably lead to both fuel & food poverty across broad regions.
Fcuk off, I hope you and the rest of your righteous pals can warm yourselves and feed yourselves on your moral diatribe!
Good piece Brandon - when you go where others don't want you to go you know you are doing good work.ReplyDelete
I wondered about the concept of brotherhood - an interesting angle although more illustrative than explanatory.
Ah yeah AM,Delete
Affirm the neurotic and to heck with utility & pragmatism.
Cain slew his brother > Stop press> He's on his way to slew his nephews too!
I imagine affirmation of the neurotic lies in a neurotic fear of somebody saying something different and drawing attention to matters we would rather not have attention drawn to. There is no compelling need to be a utilitarian and acquiesce in the consequentialism of ends justifying means. Pragmatism - the universal impulse perhaps behind all cover up.ReplyDelete
Agreed, no compelling need for utilitarianism, except that the lack of it, is what got us to where we're at. Republican's means, though perhaps bringing them marginally closer to their stated end, have not succeeded (I believe you wrote a thesis on this). Whereas Loyalist terror, in collusion with British Intelligence has sustained the Union. 'Brandon's' position is essentially one of misdirection, somewhat like asking the victim's widow 'What colour was the assassin's socks?'Delete
But in the right context that sometimes has merit.
All said and done, I'm more than happy for him to waffle on. It opens him and any supporters he might have to challenge.
(Speaking of cover ups, put up your last reactionary comment on 'Letter to God', which I received email notification of but yet isn't included on the article).
to my mind, the opposite in fact - the utilitarian ends justifies the means is what brought us to where we are. The objective of a united Ireland meant that whatever means we wanted to use we did use. The British state position of blocking the IRA war of coercion led to it using whatever means it wanted to use to produce that consequence. Had more thought been given to process legitimises outcome, we might not have ended up where we are.Delete
As to the question of waffle - what last comment? I am not going to accuse you of spoofing in the way you implied I was covering up a reactionary comment. But it is so easily settled - just email the comment that did not appear. Blogger does not send comments that do not get posted. And there has been one comment deleted in months - one by Brandon on this piece which was rendered superfluous by a single word amendment to the piece. You can only have been sent the comment by Blogger if it did appear. If for some reason iut is not on it is not on the post I will repost it verbatim and let those who read it make the call on two things: cover up and reactionary.
Send the comment or post it here in full if you prefer and let's see who has been waffling.
As per our chat on the phone HJ, the comment is still on the Letter To God piece - but out of sequence which explains why you failed to see it.Delete
A comedy of errorsDelete
@ Henry Joy 1 of 2ReplyDelete
"Brandon - It seems you're prepared to beat this to death.
For what reason?"
Like I said, it was in part a response to loyalist commenters reacting much like you are to this piece. I said then, and still say now, that there is not much analysing the phenomenon of sectarian murderers from the CNR community. Bigoted dullards like the collective of halfwits behind the 0nlyThursday blog bash out exculpatory and vainglorious accounts of loyalist paramilitaries, and I think it's up to other writers to drown out this idiot voices with credible work.
If you don't think my work is credible, you're welcome to say so. If you'd rather this subject area didn't get attention, I'd encourage you to ask yourself why.
Let's take your comments one by one:
“As from part 1: you'll succeed in proving that some Provo actions were sectarian. Hurrah!”
This was never in dispute.
“By Simon's report on the analysis of the stats though, you'll also clarify that for by a ratio of 10 to 1 Loyalist motivations were more greatly sectarian. Apart from ingratiating yourself with other 'peacenik revisionists' and proving that CRN's created 1/10th of sectarian murders as compared with the numbers Loyalism inflicted on CRN's (never mind securocat interventions), what's the point?”
I’d need to revisit quantitative sources, but I think that republicans targeted and killed about 140 Protestants in overt sectarian attacks, whilst loyalists targeted and killed more than 800 Catholics in overt sectarian attacks. Because there were, until historically fairly recently, significantly more Protestants than Catholics, the figures don’t give an accurate picture of the disproportionate numbers of Catholics murdered by loyalists. I’m not conceding anything in pointing this out. I knew it. You knew it. You drew attention to it. I’m confirming it. Does that affect your thoughts on the rest of what I wrote?
I’m bemused at you thinking I want to ingratiate myself with “peacenik revisionists.” The truth is, you know absolutely nothing about my politics, although you may have picked up on my contempt for militant loyalism
What’s the point of any historical account of anything? Did you know that the UVF man killed in the Bayardo admitted to slashing a Catholic years before? Did you know that the manager of the Bayardo was charged with the possession of a machine-gun? I didn’t know any of those things before I set out to write this piece. I find them very interesting. I think it adds context to that particular event.
I disagree with the Belfast Telegraph’s notion that the Bayardo was in response to the Miami Showband, and will discuss that in the next article. Is that to ingratiate myself with peaceniks, or an attempt to offer another interpretation of history?
Brandon - one of the conundrums & truisms posed by existential philosophy is the proposal that we can never fully know the other.Delete
I don't remember you ever having clearly articulated that your writings are in response to Loyalist dullards. Perhaps you could provide me with a reminder of where & when you specifically stated this?
My impression of who 'Brandon Sullivan' is politically, is largely shaped by memories of your posts in support of the RUC and exchanges on various pieces between commentators including myself and also by exchanges between Christy Walsh and yourself.
Nonetheless things are now somewhat clearer. Thanks.
My thoughts on what you wrote:Delete
Yes, the whole thing was a dirty, nasty business but as I commented previously,
Agreed Brandon. Every death through violent conflict is a tragedy.
Important to bear in mind though that political violence is the outcome when normal & decent politics is absent or fails.
@ Henry Joy 2 of 2ReplyDelete
“Take into account that the brutalised will tend to respond in a brutal fashion, and it could as equally be argued that the Republican Movement contained sectarianism better than could reasonably be expected.”
I don’t dismiss that argument. There is strong and compelling evidence that different republican leaderships contained sectarianism highly effectively. Now that I’ve agreed with you, I’ll ask you what you’ve asked me. What’s the point in writing that?
“Yourself and others are well down the moralist bunny-hole. A constructivist sub terrain created by the imperialist west who pays no notion of respect to such concepts; Allied bombings of civilians in WW2, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Rainbow Warrior and most lately the supply of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, an unfortunate people who've they've led down the primrose path, a disastrous road which will possibly/probably lead to both fuel & food poverty across broad regions.
Fcuk off, I hope you and the rest of your righteous pals can warm yourselves and feed yourselves on your moral diatribe!”
Let’s be charitable and say that there’s a lot to unpack here (and ignore the fact that you accuse me of writing a moral diatribe whilst delivering a moral diatribe), almost all of which has nothing to do with me and what I have written. Perhaps you’ll have a little think about what’s incensed you so much and come back with something a little more nuanced.
you accuse me of writing a moral diatribe whilst delivering a moral diatribeDelete
AM & 'BrandonDelete
You think my responses a moral diatribe - so be it.
Readers are free to make of them what they will.
HJ - more a moralising diatribe than a moral one. It might be inescapable in debate but the contrast is more vivid when an anti-moralist begins to moralise! Still, readers are free to make of them what they will, as you say, and there is no guarantee that they will disagree with you.Delete
I think homophobia was likely in play, and given Mr McKenzie's accent, perhaps racist tendencies as well. As Dudgeon points out, a murder with a similar MO occurred exactly three years before, Fred Davis. One of the men alleged to have murdered Mr Davis was himself found stabbed to death.
I wouldn't think racism played a part as Mr. McKenzie was white. Xenophobia maybe, or it could have simply been mistaken for an English accent.
It's interesting to note how certain murders in that period (Sammy and Anthony McCleave, Freddie Davis, Thomas McKenzie) were lumped in with the conflict but, on closer examination, seemed to be something a lot uglier.
@ Christopher - I was assuming that he was perhaps mistaken for an English man. I was trying to think how best to describe the murders committed by, for example, the Parachute regiment in Derry and Ballymurphy, and felt racist fitted - xenophobic is probably a better fit, and probably best applies to the killing of Mr McKenzie.ReplyDelete
@ Henry JoyReplyDelete
"I don't remember you ever having clearly articulated that your writings are in response to Loyalist dullards. Perhaps you could provide me with a reminder of where & when you specifically stated this?"
I wrote this in a response to Christy Walsh - not that I consider Peter and Stevie R to be dullards:
"This, the first in a series of articles, was in part written as a response to accusations of republican bias by commenters on this blog with loyalist sympathies."
I referred to 0nlyThursday, accurately, as a dullard. If you only want hagiographies of armed organisations whose aims you agree with, you are not interested in intellectual pursuit.
Re my oft-mentioned "support of the RUC" - once again, this seems to be because I often mention that the RUC convicted statistically significantly more loyalists than republicans for paramilitary killings and activities. I also refuse to the RUC, or any other organisation, in purely binary terms. I'll also, again, state that I believe and believed the RUC to be irreformable. Point out where I've stated my "support of the RUC" I'll donate £5 to the republican organisation of your choice for every instance.
Now, I've acted in good faith and responded to every follow-up point that you've made.
Can you respond to the points I made challenging yours on here?
Genuinely curious what your problem with the exploration of this area of republican history is.
Did my exploration of these sectarian murders trouble you as much?
Or this critical review of a loyalist RUC man?
Or these comments on the Parachute regiment, and the rise of people in support of them?
Or this critique of the mythology surrounding the 'success' of the loyalist campaigns targeting republicans?
Or this critique of the loyalist campaigns of sectarian murder?
Or is it just articles about sectarian murders of politically uninvolved Protestants by people from the CNR community that you take (albeit confused) issue with?
Having never being a member of the Provisional Republican Movement my comments are more observations. The killing of British Army personell, or those of theReplyDelete
UDA and UVF cannot be seen as sectarian, these are combatants in a war. The killing of the Orr brothers, and other civillians, is a different matter altogether.
IRA Volunteers, or Volunteers of the INLA killed in action again, cannot be seen as sectarian, they too were combatants in a conflict. The murders of civillians at Ballymurphy, 1971 and in Derry, January 1972, are again different matters altogether and was cold bloodied murder, as was the case with all civillians..
I think it is important to differentiate between combatants and civillians and one sectarian killing by either side is one too many, irrespective of what religious denomination the victims may be.