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Bloody Sunday, election, Irish, Ireland, British, Ulster, Unionist, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Ahern, Blair, Irish America

Border Fox says war over

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

The Border Fox, Dessie O'Hare, believes the days of 'armed struggle' are over and wants to be left in peace to rebuild his life after release from prison.

O'Hare, who has been granted extended temporary release from Castlerea prison by the Department of Justice, is unable to give media interviews until he is permanently freed.

However, Eddie McGarrigle of the INLA prisoners' group, Teach na Failte, said: "Dessie O'Hare has spent 25 of the last 26 years in jail. While he is not a pacifist, he is saying that the days of armed struggle are over.

"He has been telling that to republicans he has been meeting in the North in recent days. He has no interest in any armed campaign." O'Hare, 50, has served 19 years imprisonment for the abduction and mutilation of Dublin dentist, John O'Grady, in 1987.

O'Grady's fingertips were cut off with a hammer and chisel and left in Carlow cathedral as a warning when the ransom was not paid. When asked if O'Hare regretted the brutality, McGarrigle said: "If Dessie O'Hare is making an apology to the O'Grady family it will be done in private and certainly not in a glare of publicity.

"I wouldn't in any way attempt to justify Dessie O'Hare's actions but in conflict terrible things happen. Is what he did any worse than another republican who went up behind a policeman, married with a couple of kids, and put a bullet in the back of his head?"

Last weekend, the media arrived outside the house in Newtownhamilton, south Armagh, where O'Hare's wife Clare and two children live. Willie Frazer of the republican victims' group, Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), also sat visited the house where O'Hare was reportedly staying.

Frazer and unionist politicians are demanding O'Hare be arrested and charged in the North with a litany of crimes they say he committed in the 1970s and early 80s.

Frazer has lodged a complaint about the failure to arrest O'Hare with Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan. Unionist peer, Lord Laird, has also raised the issue in the House of Lords.

May 12, 2006

This article appeared in the May 7, 2006 edition of the Sunday Tribune.