Historical Experience

Sergeant Tim Bowe

Interviewed 8 September 2021

DOMINIC MCGLINCHEY

Retired Sergeant Tim Bowe joined An Garda Síochána on the 8th of May 1968 and served until 2004. He is a native of County Tipperary where his family are steeped in the GAA. His grandfather, Ned Bowe was a member of the Tipperary hurling team that won the first All Ireland in 1887. In this selection, Tim recalls being a Sergeant in Carrigtwohill when he encountered Dominic McGlinchey, a well-known former IRA Volunteer and then INLA man, who was ‘on the run’. Dominic “Mad Dog” McGlinchey was an Irish republican paramilitary leader, who moved from the Provisional IRA to become head of the Irish National Liberation Army paramilitary group in the early 1980s. He was shot dead in a phone box in Drogheda on 10 February 1994, a year after he had been released from prison, where he had been since his arrest in County Clare on 17th March 1984.

JOHN O’BRIEN: I think, Tim, back in 1983 you were back down south again and you were stationed as a Sergeant in Carrigtwohill. That was to be a very interesting experience for you because you had, obviously did the normal duties in Carrigtwohill but you were to have an encounter with the well-known terrorist, former professional IRA man, then INLA man, Dominic McGlinchey, on a particular fateful day in 1983. So, Tim, you might tell us about your experiences in Carrigtwohill.

RETIRED SGT. TIM BOWE: Yes, John. I was transferred to Carrigtwohill Garda Station in County Cork on the 26th of May ’83. But just prior to that the Chief Superintendent at the time, now deceased Chief Superintendent Frank Keaney, he met me in his office and he spoke to me about Carrigtwohill and the transfer. While sharing some local history with me he just mentioned sarcastically, you know, that there was an old saying about Carrigtwohill and was I aware of it, and I said no. He said, well you can walk through any village in Ireland but you run through Carrigtwohill. Now as it turned out five months later it turned out to be very true in my case. But nevertheless, I can tell you today that Carrigtwohill is a lovely village. It’s a lovely village with schools and shops and houses, and it has changed completely. But that remark I think was associated with Civil War and a Republican stronghold.

But five months later after my transfer to Carrigtwohill a nationwide search was going on for Don Tidey who had been, who was kidnapped on the morning of the 24th November ’83 while driving his daughter to college near Rathfarnham in Dublin. He was held up by armed men believed to be members of the Provisional IRA. Over the next 23 days, massive giant garda and army search operations were undertaken to track down the whereabouts of the kidnapping gang.

So on Friday, the 2nd December 1982, that nationwide search commenced. In Carrigtwohill, myself and John Dennehy, at 10 am in the morning, we commenced a house-to-house search of Carrigtwohill. Shortly after 2 pm, our search moved to a housing estate near Pearse Place housing estate not far from the Catholic church in Carrigtwohill. At 2.40 we called to the home of John, or Jack Hartnett who was aged 77. He lived there in a very small bungalow with his wife. The owner raised no objection whatsoever to gardaí walking through his small bungalow. Garda John Dennehy walked along the corridor and I remained in the kitchen speaking to Mrs. Dennehy. Within seconds, while I was in the kitchen, a low-sized man who I now know to be Dominic McGlinchey, he ran into the kitchen with a submachine gun, an ArmaLite rifle. He burst into the kitchen, placed the rifle behind my back and ordered me to match down the hallway.

In the presence of three armed gang members, one a female, who turned out to be Mrs. Mary McGlinchey, I was forced to remove my garda coat, my tunic and I was forced to lay down on the ground. I was bound and tied up, and so was my colleague, John Dennehy. After three hours I eventually succeeded in loosening the bondage and was unable to untangle my colleague. We escaped from the house and got to the garda station where we raised the alarm.

Next morning the Cork Examiner said that:

“Mad Dog, Dominic McGlinchey, the most wanted man in these islands, he stripped two gardaí and he slipped the dragnet yesterday, Friday the 2nd December 1982.”

Dominic McGlinchey at the time, he was wanted on warrant in Northern Ireland where he had murdered a woman called Mrs. Hester McMullan, 67 years old, a retired postmistress. He was suspected of 20 other deaths and 200 bombing incidents in the North. A warrant was issued for his arrest because he had failed to turn up in court for a hearing.

Now while on the run, he was interviewed by Vincent Browne for the Sunday Tribune newspaper. In the Sunday Tribune paper of the 27th November 1983, Dominic McGlinchey, he openly admitted to over 30 murders, 200 bombings and supplying a rifle in the Darkley Gospel massacre in Northern Ireland. Within five days of that Sunday Tribune article, the gardaí, myself and John Dennehy in Carrigtwohill, we came face to face with the most wanted terrorist in Britain and Ireland. That was the day that we were held up for three hours and held up in a bungalow close to the church at Carrigtwohill in which it sort of instilled in my memory to this day. All I can say, we are fortunate to be alive.
Afterwards, Dominic McGlinchey was, he was on the run until the 17th of March 1984 where he was arrested after a shootout by gardaí near the village of Newmarket on Fergus. He became the first person in the Republic of Ireland, he came became the first person to be extradited from the Republic to Northern Ireland to face a trial for a so-called political offence. As a result Dominic, it said that although he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in Northern Ireland, this was overturned in 1985. As a result Dominic McGlinchey, he returned to the Republic where he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for firearm charges.

On the 31st of January 1987, while he was serving a prison sentence, his wife, Mary McGlinchey, was shot dead while minding her nine-year-old and ten-year-old sons in a house in Dundalk. Dominic McGlinchey was released from prison in March 1983, and while standing at a telephone kiosk near Drogheda on the 10th of February 1994, he was gunned down by two armed men. The postmortem report showed he was shot 14 times.