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The Mullacreevie Park Massacre, the RUC's E4a Death-Squad and the Stalker Affair.

The author is a QUB Pol Sci Honours graduate and has written extensively on imperialism, national liberation struggles and class issues.


What has become known as ‘The Mullacreevie Park Massacre‘ tragically occurred on the 12th December 1982 when two unarmed Irish Republican Socialist activists, Seamus Grew and Roddy Carroll were shot dead by an RUC death-squad in Mullacreevie Park estate, in Armagh City. Despite both men being totally unarmed, Roddy Carroll was shot from a distance of six feet while Seamus Grew was shot dead from a distance of two feet by the same RUC Constable, John Robinson, who claimed he had expected to find the alleged Chief of Staff of the Irish National Liberation Army, Dominic McGlinchey in the car that the two men were travelling in. Robinson, despite admitting to lying, fabricating evidence and altering notes while giving evidence in the witness box, he was predictably acquitted at the Crown court by Judge MacDermott.

The Manchester Guardian Weekly described the RUC E4a killers responsible for the deaths of Irish Republican Socialists Roddie Carroll and Seamus Grew as 'no different from the death-squads operating in South America'. Even though it is approaching 41 year since Volunteers Roddie Caroll and Seamus Grew were murdered, they are forever honoured and remembered by their comrades in the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.

Seamus Grew

Although a relatively young man, Seamus Grew was an experienced Irish Republican Socialist activist from a very prominent Irish Republican family from Armagh. Sadly, Seamus was no stranger to assassination attempts by pro-British bigots, both in and out of uniform. As the Irish Republican Socialist Movement’s Fallen Comrades webpages states:

Grew had been in shot in the throat and captured in 1979 and sentenced to four years for Irish National Liberation Army activities. He was released after serving two years and survived an assassination attempt by loyalist gunmen two months before he was killed.”

Roddie Carroll

Roddie Carroll was only 21 but due to the intense nature of the Irish National Liberation Army’s armed campaign against British imperialism in the British occupied northern six counties of Ireland, young men became experienced INLA volunteers. The Irish Republican Socialist Movement’s Fallen Comrades’ webpage states:

Roddy Carroll, aged 21 and a member of the INLA (and claimed by security forces as the INLA’s top gunman in Armagh), was killed along with Seamus Grew when their car was fired on by two members of the RUC.

The Funeral of Irish Republican Socialists Seamus Grew and Roddie Carroll

Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Seán Burns


The E4A murder of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman & Sean Burns

It is now beyond dispute and well documented that a heavily armed, SAS-trained RUC unit known as E4a was formed and given a literal license to murder. They were operational most prominently in mid-Ulster which includes North Armagh, East Tyrone and South Derry, during the early 1980s.

The E4A death-squad were engaged in what became known internationally as The Shoot to kill’ policy that claimed the lives of unarmed Irish Republicans and Catholic civilians alike. On 11th November 1982 alleged Republican activists Gervase McKerr, Sean Burns and Eugene Toman were shot dead in Lurgan, County Armagh. In April 1984 three members of the RUC E4a unit in mid-Ulster, 26-year-old Constable Frederick Robinson, 35-year-old Constable David Brannigan and 28-year-old Sergeant William Montgomery stood trial for Toman’s murder in front of Judge Gibson. All three E4a death-squad members were predictably acquitted with Gibson grotesquely commending Robinson for sending the unarmed IRA men to the ‘final court of justice‘.

To quote the legal representatives of the three murdered unarmed Republicans, Madden and Finucane:

"109 rounds were fired at a car, killing Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns. In 1984, three RUC officers were acquitted of Eugene Toman’s murder and re-instated back into the RUC. John Stalker, Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police investigated the deaths but was controversially removed from his post shortly before finishing his investigation, and his findings have never been made public. Sir Jack Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC refused to disclose Stalker’s report to the Coroner for Craigavon, who subsequently abandoned the inquests into their deaths."

Gibson presumably became intimately acquainted with his notional 'final court of justice' on the 27th of April, 1987, when a massive Provisional Irish Republican Army landmine exploded under his car, killing him and his wife ‘Lady’ Cecily Gibson.

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A 'Final Court of Justice'?


Hidden Agenda by Ken Loach

RUC Death-Squad


Young Civilian Michael Tighe who had SEN murdered by the E4a Death-Squad


Michael Tighe and Martin McCauley

On the 24th November 1982, two young men, Michael Tighe and Martin McCauley, were shot at a hayshed which had been kept under surveillance by E4 RUC surveillance units on the Ballynerry Road North, Derrymacash, County Armagh. Tighe was shot dead and McCauley although badly injured by automatic gunfire from the RUC's E4A death-squad, eventually recovered from his injuries, neither man was involved in the Irish Republican insurgency of the period.

Martin McCauley Severely Injured By The E4a Death-Squad


The Stalker Inquiry

Eventually the Greater Manchester Deputy Chief Constable, John Stalker, was instructed to carry out an inquiry into the three incidents involving the RUC E4a unit’s killing of six young men within the space of a month. By all accounts Stalker’s relatively equitable inquiry enraged the RUC and the north of Ireland’s counter-insurgency community who successfully conspired to have him replaced on the basis of fabricated evidence. Stalker had condemned the actions of the RUC as ‘out of control‘ and ‘more akin a central American banana republic!

John Stalker


"Even though six deaths had occurred over a five week period... and involved in each case officers from the same specialist squad, no co-ordinated investigation had ever been attempted. It seemed that the investigating officers had never spoken to each other. Worse still, despite the obvious political and public implications, no senior officer had seen fit to draw the reports together. We had expected a particularly high level of enquiry in view of the nature of the deaths, but this was shamefully absent. The files were little more than a collection of statements, apparently prepared for a coroner's enquiry. They bore no resemblance to my idea of a murder prosecution file. Even on the most cursory of readings I could see clearly why the prosecutions had failed."

John Stalker, Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester

Episode One Of Peter Kosminsky's 'Shoot To Kill' Drama-Documentary

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Liam A Ryan

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