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Johnny Adair: 'PIRA fought a justified war'

NewsBy Paula Mackin
Johnny Adair (Pic: Conor McCaughley)
Johnny Adair (Pic: Conor McCaughley)

Loyalist terror chief Johnny Adair has lauded Northern Ireland’s peacemakers – Sinn Fein and the IRA.

The republican movement has found the unlikeliest of admirers in the shape of former terrorist commander `Mad Dog’ Adair.

In an exclusive, no-holds barred interview, the one-time feared UFF leader revealed his new-found respect for Sinn Fein, its leaders and the IRA.

Perhaps the unlikeliest words  to come from a man who dedicated his life to wiping out the now defunct paramilitary group.

Adair, interviewed at his home in Troon on Scotland’s Ayshire coast, spoke candidly about why he has changed his perception of the men he once viewed as enemies of the state, and the republican terrorists who tried to take his life.

“The IRA, I grudgingly respect the IRA. The IRA were genuine in their quest, I mean they weren’t criminals. I absolutely, grudgingly respect them, yep. I mean the IRA wasn’t running around doing what loyalists were,” Johnny Adair told Sunday World.

And again he poured scorn on the dissident terrorists in existence in Northern Ireland, cheap and unrecognisable comparisons to his one-time enemies.

“Look,  I am going to say one thing. It’s the Provisional IRA, right, full stop. That’s the only IRA, that’s it, none of this f**king Real IRA, new IRA , IRA here, Oglaigh na hEireann there. Provisional IRA, full stop, that’s it!

“They were the ones that fought and the ones that, call it what you want, surrendered or waved the white flag for peace,  but they were the men who fought over Europe, they were the ones having weapons coming from all over the world. Libya, America, I mean these people, for f**k sake so-called loyalists,  couldn’t even bring guns in from Scotland.”

The loyalist Godfather, who as head of the notorious  UFF  C Company orchestrated a brutal and indiscriminate campaign of violence, said he can understand the IRA campaign.

It has been suggested the IRA leadership resisted  calls for  Adair to be taken out because of the murderous sectarian backlash it would unleash.Johnny Adair says PIRA fought a justified war (Pic: Conor McCaughley)

“PIRA, they were fighting a justified war. They went to Germany, they killed British soldiers in Germany, they went to England, they blew up Downing Street for f**k sake. These boys weren’t playing at it, these boys were genuine in their quest for the United Ireland.”

The  53- year-old  father of five and grand-father of two, says the future is politics, but admits loyalist communities have  been  left behind. As loyalist violence continued Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness led Sinn Fein and the  republican movement into peace.

 “You have to admire the IRA and Sinn Fein members who have had their cars burned by dissidents. Big Storey (Bobby Storey) had his car burned, McGuinness has had his car burned and they have still bitten their lips. If those boys weren’t genuine for peace those dissidents would have been out down a hole a long time ago, that’s fact.

 “I respect them. Adams has done a great job, the IRA walked off the stage and they stuck to that, they never came back and that earns respect in my book.

“McGuinness more so. He’s no idiot, he’s cunning and cute and he’s a good politician. I believe he is sincere, I believe the majority of the republican movement are sincere.”

The ultimate loyalist warrior said the days of political violence  are over – providing politicians and the  PSNI stick to the task.

 “Stormont seems to be going all right, no big issues,” he said.

“Parades were a sticking point but we got Ardoyne sorted -  I think!

“The majority of violence has been taken away, that went on for years, now that has been resolved. Politically I think the country is stable.

“It’s all down to leadership, sometimes amongst that leadership there is just one person not thinking right and sometimes that one person can make things not go the way they should go.”

The man who viewed republicans as his sworn enemy said his country’s future lay in equal citizenship and he pleaded for the security service to ensure dissidents are not allowed to ruin that vision.

“If they get the leadership right the country should be resolved, parity of esteem. That’s what it’s about.

 “Peace, it’s a long drawn out process, and that’s why certain elements are being tolerated but there will come a time when the politicians and the police will have to get real and say,  listen we need to be real about this now, that was 20 years ago, we need to either do what’s right to achieve peace or sit back and be dictated to by a fu**ing few monkeys, and that’s what’s happening in certain areas,”  he fumed.

He poured further scorn on a loyalist leadership that has overseen the fragmenting of their communities –  a stark contrast to their republican counterparts who have bought into the peace process. 

 “You just have to look at Sinn Fein and every election, every election it grows and grows, it shows you the support they have.

“They might lose votes here and there,  but every time they go to the polls they still increase so that tells you that it’s the republicans that are doing it.”