Northern Ireland

Man alleged to be LVF ‘Army Council’ member ran a sporting event at a Tyrone hotel before Catholic man shot dead

Details of LVF leadership emerged during inquest into murder of Seamus Dillon

Seamus Dillon, shot dead by the LVF
Seamus Dillon, shot dead by the LVF

An alleged member of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) ‘Army Council’ hosted a sporting event at a Tyrone hotel months before a Catholic man was killed at the same venue.

Seamus Dillon (45), a former republican prisoner, was shot dead by the LVF as he worked on the door at the Glengannon Hotel, near Dungannon, in December 1997.

It was previously thought that the father-of-three, from Stewartstown in Co Tyrone, was gunned down in revenge for the INLA killing of LVF founder Billy Wright inside the H-Blocks hours earlier that day.

However, police intelligence documents indicate the attack at the hotel was pre-planned.

It has now emerged that Dungannon loyalist Stuart Kirk hosted a kickboxing event at the hotel venue in May 1997, just months before Mr Dillon was gunned down.

The kick boxing competition ended in tragedy after 18-year-old Sean McBride, who was from near Dungannon, died after a fight.

It was later reported that there had been no doctor at the ringside when Mr McBride, who died later in hospital, collapsed.

During an inquest hearing into Mr Dillon’s murder last week, Kirk was identified as a member of the LVF ‘Army Council’.

A Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) mural
A Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) mural

Des Fahy KC, acting for the Dillon family, raised concerns about redactions in information disclosed by MI5, including a section headed “LVF Army Council pen pics”.

“All bar one of these has been redacted,” he said.

“And there is a named individual, Stuart Kirk.

“The question I ask on behalf of the next of kin is ‘why can’t the other redactions of those pen pics be rolled back?’

“If they are in the LVF Army Council, what arises in relation to PII in relation to those individuals, that doesn’t arise in relation to Mr Kirk?

Billy Wright
LVF leader Billy Wright was killed in prison on the same day

“And the obvious question is, is it because they are state agents or informers? Is that why PII has been inserted in relation to those pen pics?”

The Irish News understands the document describes Kirk as the “OC (Officer Commanding) Dungannon LVF” and that he first came to the attention of the police in 1987 when he was involved in a stone-throwing incident in the town.

In 1990 he was arrested with two other men after a quantity of drugs were seized in the Eastvale Avenue area of the town.

According to the MI5 document which was provided for the inquest process but was not read out in full at last Friday’s hearing, Kirk was thought to be a member of the UVF in Mid Ulster up until 1997.

However, by mid ‘97 he was “identified as OC Dungannon LVF” - around the same time the kick boxing event took place.

Kirk is described by MI5 as being “most active” in Portadown and confirms he was arrested for the murder Richard Jameson, “described as OC Mid Ulster UVF”, near the town in 2000, before being released without charge.