November 1st, 2014

Jonny Adair linked to Florida gun-running saga after BBC Spotlight programme

Northern IrelandBy Jamie McDowell
Johnny Adair in Troon
Johnny Adair in Troon

Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair is expecting a knock on his door from the cops – once again.

The one-time self-confessed director of UFF terrorism may be living in exile in Troon, Scotland now. 

But he could be pulled into the new PSNI probe into the IRA Florida gun-running saga, which has surfaced again back home in Northern Ireland. 

The PSNI has launched a new investigation into the trans-Atlantic gun-running racket after a BBC Spotlight programme was broadcast. 

It featured claims from American ex-stockbroker Mike Logan that he had been part of the gun-running Provo plot headed up by Belfastman Conor Claxton, eventually tried and jailed in Florida for sending guns to Ireland hidden in childrens’ toys. 

In the Spotlight programme, Mike Logan claimed that senior republican Sean ‘Spike’ Murray – recently one of Sinn Fein’s delegates at the talks chaired by American envoy Richard Hass – had ordered guns from the US-based gun-running gang.

Sean Murray has dismissed the allegation, in which Mr Logan claimed illegal arms had been smuggled into NI even after the IRA ceasefire, as ‘without foundation’. 

However, after the DUP called for an inquiry, the PSNI announced they are now holding a ‘re-investigation which will include an examination of existing evidence together with the examination of any potential new evidence that has come to light’.

And that’s where Johnny Adair comes back into the gun-running picture of the late ’90s. 

For he still believes that a weapon smuggled in from Florida was used in an assassination bid on him.

He was at a UB 40 open-air rock concert in the city’s Botanic Gardens with his then wife Gina in May, 1999. 

He was out on leave from prison while serving a 16-year sentence after copping his ‘director of terrorism’ plea. 

A bullet fired from the handgun grazed Adair’s head, before he fled and jumped into a taxi outside the public park gates. 

But he has always maintained that a leading republican from the lower Ormeau area of Belfast spotted him at the concert, and sent for the gunman to shoot him…even though the IRA was officially on ceasefire at the time. 

Adair has told the Sunday World that he was later told the gun used on him was one of the consignment sent by Conor Claxton’s clique from Fort Lauderdale in Florida. 

Adair was not available for comment yesterday. 

But a source close to him said: “Johnny is expecting a knock on the door. He will be quite happy to tell the cops investigating the Florida episode all he knows.”

Shortly after the attack, Adair said: “I was watching the band UB40 performing with my wife when someone came up behind me and shot me in the head.

“I turned to run, but I was set upon from within the crowd, who assaulted myself and my wife. 

“We ran to safety outside the Botanic Gardens where we stopped a taxi and jumped into it. It took us to the Shankill Road.”