Antoin Duffy was jailed seven years ago for hatching a plot to murder former loyalist paramilitary leaders Adair and Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory.
Expensive art works by Donegal man Antoin Duffy include a stunning psychedelic painting of American guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, as well as a series of local landscapes of Donegal’s famous Errigal Mountain.
And it seems the artist’s terrorist past isn’t putting off interest – dealers and private buyers have been advised to attend early, as several of the paintings were expected to reach premium prices.
But artist Duffy didn’t appear in person at the exhibition at the Caisleán Oir Hotel in the Gaeltacht village of Annagry because he’s still languishing behind bars in Scotland where he is serving a sentence for conspiracy to kill.
Duffy was jailed seven years ago for hatching a plot to murder former loyalist paramilitary leaders Adair and Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory.
Duffy and his team were snared in a major MI5 sting operation in Scotland, after the Donegal man attempted to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle.
In 2015, Duffy was sent down for 17 years when he was jailed alongside other members of the would-be republican gun gang.
Duffy is also wanted in connection with the murder of IRA spy Denis Donaldson.
Donaldson was killed in a shotgun attack at his secret Donegal hideaway in 2006.
Earlier this year, the Sunday World revealed that gardai in Donegal plan to extradite Duffy back to Donegal in connection with Donaldson’s death.
Donaldson had been a previously trusted member of the Gerry Adams leadership team and headed Sinn Féin administration at Stormont.
He dramatically outed himself as a British spy and fled without trace.
But less than three weeks after the Sunday World tracked him down to a remote cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal, he was shot dead. Three years later, a spokesman for the Real IRA claimed the killing.
It’s understood that gardaí believe Duffy could have been that gunman.
Duffy’s plot to assassinate ‘Mad Dog’ Adair was hatched when the Donegal man was in a Scottish prison, having been jailed for having a gun in a nightclub in Glasgow during a fight.
And it was while serving time in HMP Castle Huntly, near Dundee, that Duffy hatched a plot to murder Adair and his right-hand man McCrory.
He had spotted the two loyalists visiting a friend from Northern Ireland. Duffy knew the prisoner had a young son who was ill and he asked him for his photograph so as he could paint the boy’s portrait.
He used the connection to glean information about Adair and McCrory. And on his release, he hatched a plot to murder them.
Duffy planned to shoot Skelly through the side of the head as he walked along a country lane near his home in Ayr. The Skelly killing was to be followed up by shooting Adair with an AK-47 a short time later.
But because Duffy couldn’t keep his mouth shut, the blueprint for murder soon came to the attention of MI5 and Duffy was arrested by armed police at Buchanan Street Bus Station in Glasgow. A jury found him guilty of conspiracy to murder and he was handed a 17-year prison sentence.
Earlier this year at a court in Donegal, a senior garda officer told a judge that he hoped to press charges relating to the murder of Donaldson, following the release of a man from prison in another jurisdiction.
Yesterday, artist Morag McCafferty – a well-known artist from Rannafast in Donegal who helped organise this week’s exhibition – said she was expecting a large turnout.
“His painting of Jimi Hendrix is truly excellent. It is 3x2-inch in size and his painting of Mount Errigal is 6x4. It would be suitable for a big wall or a hotel lobby.
“But I have no idea how much Antoin’s paintings will sell for.
“There has been a great interest in the whole exhibition. But the paintings will be sold on a first come first served basis, so my advice is to get here as early as possible,” she said.