20 years ago to-day on January 31st, 1987, Mary McGlinchey, wife of INLA ledaer, Dominic was shot dead in her Dundalk home while she was bathing her two young sons. The brutal nature of the murder shocked the town, but to-day, 20 years on the file on her murder still remains open.On January 31st, 1987 Mary McGlinchey was shot dead in the bathroom of her home in Slieve Foy Park, Muirhevnamor, Dundalk while her two young children looked on.
Twenty years on the file on Mrs. McGlinchey death still remains open, but Gardai admit that it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever be brought to justice for the killing.
Mary McGlinchey was the wife of Dominic an Irish Republican paramilitary with the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) He was dubbed ‘Mad Dog’ by the press, but he personally disliked the name.
On 10 February 1994, McGlinchey himself was also the victim of a violent death. While making a call from a phone box in Drogheda, two men got out of a vehicle and proceeded to shoot him fourteen times.
Again no one has ever been charged with his murder and it is not known which group, whether Loyalist, Republican, state security service or criminal carried out the assassination. After his death, INLA activity decreased and its organisational capability was nearly eliminated.
It was, however, the brutal killing of Mary McGlinchey that caused shock waves in the town.
She was known to be an active member of the INLA and the decision by the Urban Council to allocate the family a house just months before her killing led to some soul searching among local officials and councillors who demanded a change in the rules for the allocation of such houses.
Mrs. McGlinchey had been living in a flat in Castle Road for over a year before applying for a house and while her application for a council house met all the criteria, it was a decision that the council officials were not that anxious to take.
In the midst of his paramilitary career, Dominic McGlinchey married Mary McNeill on 5 July 1975. The couple had three children, Declan, Dominic, and Mháire (who died as an infant resulting from meningitis).
On the night of her killing she was bathing her children Dominic Jnr. (then aged 9) and Declan (aged 11) in her Dundalk home. Dominic heard two men enter the back door of their terraced home at 9.20. He shouted to his mother who was downstairs at the time. She ran up the stairs to try to escape, but was cornered in the bathroom and tried to barricade the door.
She cried out to her killers “don’t shoot me”, but in front of Declan who was preparing to take his bath, they shot her seven times, with two of the bullets hitting her in the head.
Declan’s screams alerted neighbours who ran to the house, but by then the two gunmen had made their escape through the backdoor. They ran down a back alley and across the sportsfield to where they had a car waiting.
Despite intense Gardai activity at the time, the file on Mrs. McGlinchey’s death remains open, but it is thought that her killers were members of the INLA and her death was a reprisal for a killing of a South Armagh man by her husband.
Dominic was in prison on a weapons charge at the time and was not allowed to attend her funeral.
He was born into a Bellaghy family with a strong Irish Republican background. In August 1971, at the age of 17, he was interned without charge for ten months in the prison camps of Ballykelly and Long Kesh. After his release, he was imprisoned again in 1973 on arms charges.
After his next release, he joined a South Derry Independent Republican Unit along with Ian Milne and future Provisional IRA hunger strikers Francis Hughes and Thomas McElwee.
McGlinchey was arrested by the Gardaí in 1977 and charged with hijacking a police vehicle, threatening a police officer with a gun, and resisting arrest. While serving time in Portlaoise Prison, he clashed with the PIRA leadership and ceased his affiliation with that organisation.
He joined the INLA in 1982 as Operations Officer for South Derry and within six months became Chief of Staff. He made an immediate impact, putting an end to dissention within the organisation and building the organisation up throughout the country.
Actions carried out during this period included the bombing of the Mount Gabriel radar station in Co. Cork, which McGlinchey claimed was providing help to NATO in violation of Irish neutrality; the killing of 17 people (11 British soldiers and 6 civilians) by bombing the Droppin' Well Pub; and numerous other attacks on British military personnel, RUC personnel, and loyalist paramilitary figures.
McGlinchey was arrested on St. Patrick's Day, 1984, at Ralahine, Newmarket-on-Fergus in Co. Clare, and was extradited to Northern Ireland the same night. He was found guilty of murder and given a life sentence. In October 1985, the Belfast Appeals Court overturned the conviction on the grounds of insufficient evidence and McGlinchey was returned to the Irish Republic where he was sentenced to ten years in Portlaoise prison on firearms charges.
After his release from prison in March of 1993, he began investigating claims that the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force was involved in money laundering with Irish criminals. In June of that year, he survived an assassination attempt made by UVF member Billy Wright.
The couple’s surviving children, Dominic and Declan are living in the North.