ROYAL GRIEF | 

Ex loyalist terror chief Johnny Adair says tear ran down his cheek when Queen died

Adair also said he believed the Queen was aware of his existence as a Director of Terrorism: “She knew who I was”

Ex-terror chief Johnny Adair admits he shed a tear on hearing of the death of the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II© PA

Hugh JordanSunday World

Former loyalist terror chief Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, last night told how a tear ran down his cheek when he learned the Queen had died, the Sunday World can reveal.

And the deposed Ulster Freedom Fighters’ Brigadier also said he firmly believed Queen Elizabeth II was aware of his existence as a Director of Terrorism in Ulster.

And he is firmly convinced that over the years, the deceased Monarch had been fully briefed on the role he played in the UFF’s terror was in support of Northern Ireland’s link with the United Kingdom.

“I’ve no doubt about that,” he said. “The Queen took a great interest in Northern Ireland and she knew who was who.”

“I don’t mind admitting it though, my eyes filled with tears when I heard the news that she had died. It never thought it would affect me like that, but it did.

“And I was only saying this earlier in conversation with friends. I honestly believe the Queen had been briefed all about ‘C’ Coy on the Shankill Road.

“It stands to reason, because the Queen received regular updates about what was happening in Northern Ireland and who was making it happen.

“The Queen, the Royal Family and the Monarchy, along with Northern Ireland’s link with the United Kingdom, were central to what we were doing. Our ‘raison d’être’ was to maintain these links. That’s why we did what we did.

“She was a highly intelligent woman, who took a great interest in her country’s affairs, so when you think about it, why wouldn’t the Queen know who I was?” insisted the former UFF boss.

But he added: “Did that mean she supported what I was doing? The answer is absolutely not!”

Queen Elizabeth II© PA

Speaking from his home on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast, Adair (58) set aside his tough-guy image to reveal a softer side, as he spoke of his admiration for the Monarch who passed away this week.

“I have to admit, I was moved when I got the news. Queen Elizabeth was on the Throne of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland every day of my life.”

And he added: “Apart from anything else, she was an incredible human being who was absolutely dedicated to duty. Of course, I held her in the highest regard.”

Queen Elizabeth II had already been on British Throne for 10 years when Johnny Adair was born in his parents’ home in Fleming Street off Belfast’s Old Lodge Road on Sunday October 27 1963.

Johnny - as the new baby was to be known - was his mum Mabel’s seventh child and her second son. In time, he would bring the Shankill Road women her greatest joy, as well as greatest heartache.

But Mabel Adair had one disappointment that day though, which of course, paled into insignificance when it was compared to the birth of her new baby boy:

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was due in Belfast the following day, where she would cut the tape of a new International Airport at Aldergrove, 20 miles north of Belfast.

It had been Mabel Adair’s intention to take a trip into town to catch a glimpse of the Royal visitor later that day. But labour pains heralding the arrival of her future infamous son put paid to her plans.

But like every other family living in loyalist areas of Belfast, a picture of a young Queen Elizabeth adorned the wall of the Adair’s living room.

And Johnny Adair remembers well, the care his mother took in making sure its glass cover was always clean and polished.

“We weren’t the only ones. Every house I went into as a youngster had a picture of Queen Elizabeth on the wall.

“It was a permanent reminder that we were British. And it was a manifestation of the love we had for the Queen and the Royal Family.” said Adair.

Johnny Adair also went into detail about how support for the Monarchy played a big part in his interpretation of loyalism.

“The UVF represented an older form of loyalism. It’s motto was ‘For God and Ulster’.

“ But I have to be honest and say, God didn’t play a big part in our thinking. I mean how could it? How could anyone say, God supported these things? They couldn’t.

“But it’s a definite fact that the Royal Family represented our British links. I my time on the Shankill, I gave the go-ahead for two murals.

“One was to commemorate Queen Elizabeth and the other one was to Princess Diana. And that’s because I knew how much they meant to the ordinary people.” said Adair.

And he added: “But it’s important to state, no one in the Royal Family would have agreed with our methods. That’s fanciful.”

“To be honest, the Queen melted peoples’ hearts. I mean if you gauge opinion on things like Facebook, you’ll see both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland had admiration for the Queen. And it’s clear Catholic people sympathised with Protestant people over her death.

“She was a thoroughly decent human being who never put a foot wrong. Many of us have lost our parents and grandparents, but the Queen was like a grandparent to the whole nation,

“She wasn’t like a politician who you could like and then dislike.” he said.

Despite being a strong supporter of the Monarchy, Johnny Adair wasn’t uncritical of past management decisions which showed the Queen and her family in a bad light.

“The only time I remember any criticism towards the Queen was 25 years ago when Diana died.

“The Queen stayed on at Balmoral in Scotland, when really her people wanted her in London. At that time we got a bit upset. That is the only time I could say there was something negative about her reign as Queen.

“Other than that, she never put a foot wrong and I find it very sad that she is gone.” said Johnny Adair with sincere sadness in the tone of his voice. And he added: “One thing you can’t say about Queen Elizabeth, but you can say it about plenty of today’s so-called loyalist leaders. And that is, you can’t say the Queen didn’t have a loyalist bone in her body!”

The former ‘C’ Coy terror boss also revealed his recently deceased friend and former Ulster Freedom Fighters right hand man, Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory was also a strong affection for the Monarchy, the Royal family and the Queen in particular.

“Big Skelly loved the Queen every bit as much as me. But I always remember him joking one day about whether he’d be eligible for a knighthood. “He was with friends and he imagined a scenario where the Queen put me in charge of knighthoods. He said, he’d be afraid to kneel down in front of me with a sword in my hand, in case I chopped his head off!”

hjordan.media@btinternet.com


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