Former loyalist terror boss Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair has told how a tear rolled down his cheek when he learned that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth had died.
And the deposed Brigadier of the Ulster Freedom Fighters also said he firmly believes Queen Elizabeth II is aware of his existence as director of terror in Ulster.
And he firmly believes the late monarch had been fully briefed over the years on the role he had played in the UFF’s terror in support of Northern Ireland’s link with the UK.
“I have no doubt about that,” he said. “The Queen was very interested in Northern Ireland and knew who was who.”
“I don’t mind admitting it though, my eyes filled with tears when I heard the news that she had passed away. I never thought it would affect me like this, but it did.
“And I just said that earlier in conversation with friends. I honestly believe the Queen was briefed all about C Company on the Shankill Road.
“It makes sense because the Queen was regularly briefed on what was going on in Northern Ireland and who was responsible.
“The Queen, the royal family and monarchy, and Northern Ireland’s connection to the UK have been at the heart of our work. Our “raison d’être” was to maintain these connections. That’s why we did what we did.
“She was a highly intelligent woman who took a keen interest in the affairs of her country. So when you think about it, why wouldn’t the Queen know who I am?” the former UFF boss insisted.
But he added: “Did that mean she supported what I was doing? The answer is absolutely not!”
Speaking from his home on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast, Adair, 58, put aside his tough guy image to show a softer side as he spoke of his admiration for the monarch who died this week.
“I must admit I was touched when I received the news. Queen Elizabeth has sat on the throne of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland every day of my life.”
And he added: “Apart from everything else, she was an incredible human being who was absolutely committed to the task. Of course I appreciate them very much.”
Queen Elizabeth II was 10 years on the British throne when Johnny Adair was born on Sunday 27 October 1963 at his childhood home in Fleming Street off Old Lodge Road in Belfast.
Johnny – as the new baby was to be called – was his mother Mabel’s seventh child and her second son. In time he would bring the women of the Shankill Road their greatest joy, but also their greatest sorrow.
But Mabel Adair had a disappointment that day, which of course paled in comparison to the birth of her new baby.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was due to be in Belfast the next day, where she would cut the ribbon on a new international airport at Aldergrove, 20 miles north of Belfast.
It had been Mabel Adair’s intention to take a trip into town later that day to catch a glimpse of the royal visitor. But the labor pains that heralded the arrival of their infamous son-to-be ruined their 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 still remembers his mother’s diligence in making sure the glass cover was always clean and polished.
“We weren’t the only ones. Every house I entered as a teenager had a picture of Queen Elizabeth on the wall.
“It was a permanent reminder that we are British. And it was a manifestation of the love we had for the queen and the royal family,” Adair said.
Johnny Adair also detailed how support for the monarchy played a large part in his interpretation of loyalty.
“The UVF represented an older form of loyalty. The motto was ‘For God and Ulster’.
“But I must honestly say that God has not played a big part in our thinking. I mean how could it? How could anyone say God supported these things? They could not.
“But it is an unequivocal fact that the royal family represented our British connections. During my time on the Shankill I greenlit two murals.
“One was to commemorate Queen Elizabeth and the other to commemorate Princess Diana. And that’s because I knew how much they meant to ordinary people,” Adair said.
And he added: “But it is important to note that no one in the royal family would have approved of our methods. That’s imaginative.”
“To be honest, the Queen melted people’s hearts. I mean if you gauge opinion on things like Facebook you’ll see that both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland had admiration for the Queen. And it is clear that Catholic people sympathized with Protestant people because of their death.
“She was a thoroughly decent person who never made a mistake. Many of us lost our parents and grandparents, but the Queen was like a grandparent to the whole nation.
“She wasn’t like a politician that you can like and then dislike again,” he said.
Although Johnny Adair was a strong supporter of the monarchy, he was not uncritical of previous management decisions that cast a bad light on the Queen and her family.
“The only time I remember criticizing the Queen was 25 years ago when Diana died.
“The Queen stayed at Balmoral in Scotland when her people really wanted her in London. At that time we were a little annoyed. That’s the only time I could say there was anything negative about her reign as queen.
“Besides, she never made a mistake and I’m very sad that she left,” Adair said, sadness in his voice.
And he added: “One thing can’t be said about Queen Elizabeth, but it can be said about many of today’s so-called loyalist leaders. And that means you can’t say the queen didn’t have a loyalist bone in her body!”
The former ‘C’ Coy terror boss also revealed that his recently deceased friend and former Ulster Freedom Fighters right-hand man Sam ‘Skelly’ McCrory also had strong affections for the monarchy, the royal family and the Queen in particular.
“Big Skelly loved the Queen as much as I did. But I always remember him one day joking about being eligible for knighthood.
“He was with friends and he imagined a scenario where the queen put me in charge of the knighthood. He said he was afraid to kneel before me with a sword in his hand if I cut his head off!”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/former-loyalist-terror-chief-johnny-adair-says-tear-ran-down-his-cheek-when-queen-died-41984842.html Former loyalist terror boss Johnny Adair says tears rolled down his cheeks when the Queen died