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IRA arms raid of 1954 is marked

(Darran McCann, Irish News)

Republicans who participated in an arms raid on one of the most heavily fortified British army barracks in Northern Ireland 50 years ago plan to mark the incident today (Saturday).

It is believed up to 24 IRA members took part in the mid-afternoon raid on Gough Barracks in Armagh city on June 12 1954, escaping with more than 300 guns. It was reported at the time that no shots were fired.

An organiser of today's event, Liam Sutcliffe, said 12 of the men are to meet in Dublin to mark the anniversary of the arms raid.

The 72-year-old Dubliner was not involved in the Gough incident but was involved in a second, abortive raid on Gough in 1955.

The episodes led up to what became known as the IRA's border campaign of 1956-62, which resulted in the death of six RUC members and two IRA members.

Liam Sutcliffe said very few British soldiers were in the barracks during the 1954 raid.

"As I remember, the officers were all at a function at Hillsborough Castle. The place was deserted," he said.

The soldiers that were on duty were overpowered by the IRA members who quickly escaped with weapons including 250 rifles.

August 7, 2004
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This article appeared first in the June 12, 2004 edition of the Irish News.


This article appears thanks to the Irish News. Subscribe to the Irish News



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