Today, the 25th of July, marks the 31st anniversary of the death of one Brendan ‘Ruby’ Davison, PIRA ‘commander‘ in South Belfast, who was shot dead at his home in the Markets area by a UVF active service unit, dressed as police officers.
I draw your attention to this anniversary, not to gloat in any way, nor celebrate Davison’s violent demise but to recount the circumstances surrounding his, rather sordid, life and the facts behind his death.
Davison was a native of the Markets area, a staunchly republican enclave in South Belfast. At the outset of The Troubles, the area was an Official IRA stronghold but the teenage Davidson decided to join the emerging Provisional IRA.
In 1971 Davison was convicted for his part in a botched Provo gun attack and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Within months of being released in 1980, he was arrested again, this time on the word of PIRA ‘supergrass‘ Kevin McGrady, but was released, albeit after serving more than two years on remand.
Brendan ‘Ruby’ Davison
By the time of his assassination Davison, whose name is often misspelled as ‘Davidson’ (by, among others, the Irish Independent newspaper) had risen to the rank of PIRA ‘commander’ in South and East Belfast.
Davison was also one of the two most highly placed informers that MI5 and RUC Special Branch had within the ranks of the Provisional IRA, the other being Freddie Scappaticci, codename “Stake knife”.
In Davison’s case, blackmail was the main factor in his recruitment. A Special Branch file on him noted he was a secret homosexual who visited public toilets and had sex with men in a “massage centre“. RUC Special Branch also knew that ‘Ruby’ had raped a number of young boys in South Belfast in the 1980s and that he liked to ‘discipline’ teenage PIRA members by having them strip naked before beating them with a brush.
At least two of his victims’ families made complaints to the Provisional IRA but, unsurprisingly, were silenced with threats of murder. Republican sources say Davison was secretly filmed by undercover soldiers sexually abusing a teenage boy, rumoured to have been just 14 at the time, in the sauna of the Maysfield Leisure Centre in South Belfast and subsequently blackmailed him into becoming a paid informant.
The funeral of Provo godfather and paedophile rapist Brendan Davison.
Though this is common knowledge in the area of Belfast where Davidson lived, his name is still on a wall mural commemorating PIRA/Sinn Fein “martyrs” in the Markets area.
Such was Davison’s reputation, it is alleged that some people in the Markets area actually cheered upon learning of ‘Ruby’s’ violent death at the hands of Loyalist gunmen.
UVF volunteers posed as police in order to kill Ruby Davison
To this day, many republicans still deny that Davison was a paedophile, an informer, or even that he was a promiscuous homosexual, preferring instead to cling to (yet another) tissue of lies regarding the life and death of one of their Provo ‘heroes’.
It is curious though that there have been no high-profile calls for an inquiry into the assassination of Brendan Davison.
One would have thought that, if the republican movement really believed their own narrative, and were sure that Davison wasn’t a paedophile rapist and an informer, that his case would be an ideal one to highlight.
A PIRA/Sinn Fein mural in the Markets area. Note how the mural, in particular the portion of it depicting Davison, has been defaced by locals
Would it not suit the Provisional Sinn Fein narrative absolutely perfectly to highlight the killing of a senior republican who was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries wearing stolen RUC uniforms? Wouldn’t the fact that the dead man also happened to be gay not be the “icing on the cake” for the apparently LGBT obsessed Sinn Fein?
If Davison was the person that republicans say he was, why has he not become the Provo’s first genuine gay ‘martyr’?
The truth of the matter is that the republican movement would rather that Brendan Davison be forgotten, at least by those outside of republican ranks, not because he was a paedophile but because they know full well that he was an informer and that inconvenient fact undermines their entire collusion narrative.
You see, it simply defies belief that if, as republicans allege, Loyalist armed groups worked hand-in-hand with the Security Forces, those same Security Forces would have ‘allowed’ the Ulster Volunteer Force to kill one of their top assets within the Provisional IRA in Belfast.
Make no mistake about it- had Davison really not been a paid informant, the cries of “collusion” would be almost deafening.
Davison’s paedophilia would be airbrushed out, I have no doubt his homosexuality would be too; it is ‘progressive’ and ‘on trend’ for Provisional Sinn Fein to masquerade as the champions of the LGBT community, but it is a different matter when it comes to the Provisional IRA. For, as much as they would like to deny it, the Provisional republican movement still operates a ‘twin track’ approach, wherein SF are portrayed as progressive, tolerant socialists whilst on the other hand, PIRA is still presented, especially to impressionable young males, as being a ruthless army of hard, dedicated “guerilla Fighters”.
Thus, any reference to Ruby Davison’s sexuality would, undoubtedly, be omitted.
Davison’s home, the ironically titled ‘Friendly Way’
Let me refresh your memory with regard to the republican movement’s collusion narrative; it is their assertion that collusion was-
B) Institutional, and that
C) Collusion only happened on the Loyalist side.
(Apparently, at least two different states arming and funding the Provisional IRA is not considered collusion by republicans)
This is in opposition to what Loyalists (and many neutrals) say about collusion- that it was neither institutional nor widespread, that it happened on both sides and that the Security Forces had no qualms about playing off one side against the other.
The republican narrative has now been taken to it’s logical conclusion; most republicans now allege that every Loyalist operation was carried out in collusion with the Security Forces, and that, essentially, Loyalist armed groups were merely unthinking, almost zombie like, proxies of the state.
A heavily armed UVF unit, complete with RPG rocket launcher, part of the arms shipment brought into Ulster jointly by the UFF and UVF. The arms had been purchased from an arms dealer in Lebanon.
This is not only patently ridiculous, it is frankly laughable. One wonders how such republican dullards would explain away the fact that thousands of young Loyalists ended up in prison, some of them sentenced to multiple life terms, or the fact that many Loyalist combatants were killed by the very same Security Forces they were supposedly acting in concert with.
One might also wonder why the Security Forces would permit their supposed “Loyalist proxies” to kill prison officers and, occasionally, RUC officers.
Freddie Scappaticci, the other high ranking Provo informer at the time of Davison’s death
Irish republicans, for the most part, do not deal well with historical complexities or the subtle nuances of a low-intensity conflict like The Troubles. Rather than face the uncomfortable truth about the “Dirty War”, republicans, especially those from the younger generation, would rather buy into a myth that asserts that their Loyalist and Unionist neighbours are completely incompetent, stupid and inferior.
They prefer a reductionist and purely binary view of Ulster’s recent past. A black and white, ‘us vs them’ scenario in which any troublesome details, or indeed, any sense of context, is simply pushed aside or buried.
The majority of Irish republicans seem to take comfort in ignorance, preferring Sinn Fein’s childish ‘cowboys and Indians’ narrative to the real, complex, uncomfortable and challenging truth about the conflict.
That is precisely why it is important for Loyalists, and indeed everyone who is concerned about the truth, to challenge the playground rhetoric of republicanism at every opportunity.
If collusion took place in the manner that republicans say it did, then why do they seem so reticent to bring the case of Ruby Davison to wider public attention? It is because they know that close scrutiny of the case would soon collapse their pathetic narrative.
The fact that Davison was an informer has been asserted by numerous people, including at least three published authors and dozens of others, including a former MI5 officer who operated out of the “Puzzle Palace” within Thiepval army barracks in Lisburn.
If one accepts that fact, then doesn’t the fact that he was killed by Loyalist militants not critically undermine the republican narrative? Some might suggest that he had “outlived his usefulness”, but that is a ludicrous claim since Davison was, arguably the most senior informer that the Security Forces had within PIRA/Sinn Fein. Certainly he was among the top two!
Davison was not under suspicion by his republican comrades. His cover had not been blown, in fact, the Security Forces had allowed Davison to kill in order to protect himself from accusations made by one of his ‘comrades’.
There is also the matter of the angry reaction that Davidson’s killing apparently provoked from among the security services personnel based in Lisburn.
The facts of the case are rather obvious to any but the most mentally challenged republicans.
Davison was killed by the UVF because he was a senior member of the Provisional IRA. An individual that the UVF alleged had been involved in at least two murders.
The UVF ASU disguised themselves as police officers, using uniforms stolen from a dry cleaners. They knew who Davison was, what he was and where he lived. They made their way to his home and executed him.
There was no collusion of any kind. Whether or not the UVF team knew that Ruby Davison was a paedophile is immaterial, they did not know that he was an RUC Special Branch and MI5 informer. As a consequence they may have inadvertently actually helped the Provos in the long term, ridding them of a highly placed mole.
Such were the complexities and intrigues of The Troubles. The Ulster Volunteer Force carried out a highly professional and well planned operation; Loyalists, a few high ranking republicans (who detested Davison for his sexual perversions) and many of the ordinary people of the Markets area were pleased; whilst most republicans, RUC Special Branch and the other ‘Spooks‘ in the “Puzzle Palace” were left devastated.
The security services lost one of their most important sources of information and, in the long run, Davison’s death may well have been a blessing in disguise for the Provos.
Nevertheless, Brendan Davison is the “martyr” that republicans dare not speak of. A sick and perverted individual whose violent death could yet prove to be the rock upon which Irish republican myth is smashed to splinters.
The republican movement can tell as many lies as they wish but they can never change the fundamental truth. They cannot change the nature of the thugs, rapists, paedophiles and child killers that made up the ranks of the Provisional IRA, and that, in the final analysis, is the reason that they will never succeed. “A movement without morals cannot stand” and there is no movement so utterly devoid of any sense of morality as that of PIRA/Sinn Fein.