'Mad Dog' McGlinchey dies in hail of bullets

February 12, 1994|By Carl Schoettler | Carl Schoettler,London Bureau of The Sun

LONDON -- The Irish republican hard man they called "Mad Dog" McGlinchey enforced a discipline of the gun, and Thursday night the gun finally caught up with him. He went out looking for a video movie, and he found death.

Two triggermen pulled him out of a phone booth and pumped 10 bullets into him. Dominic McGlinchey died on a rainy sidewalk outside a pizza shop called La Mirage in a small town north of Dublin.

Few will mourn, they say. But a few, they say, will celebrate him with ballads.

He'd been leader of the Irish Nationalist Liberation Army. He was the first to bear the name "Mad Dog." He earned the title, it's said, by killing at least 30 people.

The titleholder now is in jail in Northern Ireland, a Protestant paramilitary who's accused of being one of the Shankill Butchers who hacked and bludgeoned their victims to death.

They say that as Mr. McGlinchey lay dying he sobbed, "Mary, help me." He may have been praying. He may have been calling his wife's name.

Mary McGlinchey was said to go out with her husband as he

went about his work. Gunmen killed her seven years ago while she was bathing their two sons. One of those sons, Dominic Jr., was with his father when he was shot.

Dominic McGlinchey was in prison when his wife was shot. She was 33.

Mr. McGlinchey was 39 when he was shot, a lean, balding, perplexed-looking man in his last pictures.

He had been a model prisoner, they say, and was paroled three years early from a 10-year weapons offense.

Prison officials reported that he'd reformed and renounced political or paramilitary activity after his wife's killing.

jTC "Dominic McGlinchey was a marked man whether he liked it or not," police told reporters. "He was never going to be a man who died in his bed of old age."

Mr. McGlinchey was already active in the Catholic civil rights movement in Northern Ireland when he was in his early teens in the late '60s. By 17 he had joined the Irish Republican Army in Londonderry. He was one of the first IRA members to be interned without a trial at Long Kesh prison.

In 1978 he was jailed on firearms charges for four years and broke with the IRA. He joined the "wild" INLA. He rose rapidly because of his ruthlessness in support of his cause, the people alleged to know these things say. He became chief of staff.

According to newspaper reports, he was involved in the assassination of a Airey Neave, a Conservative member of Parliament who was slain outside the House of Commons. The bombing of the Droppin' Well Pub in County Derry where 17 people, including 11 British soldiers, were killed was blamed on the INLA under his command.

But he was only tried once for murder, of a 62-year-old Protestant woman killed during a 1977 post office holdup in Northern Ireland.

Mr. McGlinchey was the first person extradited by the Republic of Ireland to the north for alleged political offenses. He was convicted but won release on appeal. He was shipped back south to stand trial on the weapons charges, for which he served more than seven years.

He'd been out about a year when he was hit. In June, gunmen shot him three times as he arrived at his son Dominic's 18th birthday party at a house in Dundalk, near the border with the Northern Ireland.

Speculation on who killed him splits symmetrically into those who wanted revenge on him or those who feared his revenge for his wife's death. In Northern Ireland they only marvel that he survived this long.

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