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James Patrick McDade (24 July, 194614 November, 1974) was a volunteer and a lieutenant in the Birmingham Battalion of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who was killed in a premature explosion while planting a bomb at the Coventry telephone exchange.

Early life

Born in Oakfield Street in the Ardoyne area of north Belfastmarker, McDade was educated to primary level at Holy Cross Primary School on Butler Street, Belfast and to secondary level St. Gabriel's Secondary School on the Crumlin Road. McDade's family of five brothers and two sisters were a highly musical family, and he was an accomplished singer. McDade also enjoyed sporting activities was known as a talented Gaelic football player. McDade emigrated to Englandmarker and Sparkhillmarker, Birmingham were he married and had two sons, Gerard and Anthony.

Gerard McDade, James' brother, was also an IRA Volunteer (reported to be Quartermaster with A company, 3rd Battalion, (Belfast Brigade). He was shot in the back by a British Army soldier on 21 December, 1971.

Republican activities

McDade joined the IRA in England in September and was involved in the bombing campaign on the mainland. He was killed on 14 November 1974 in a premature explosion while planting a bomb at a telephone exchange and postal sorting office at Salt Lane, Greyfriars, Coventry.

Obituary and Funeral

The Saturday 16 November edition of The Irish News carried many tributes to McDade. Respects were paid by London and Birmingham Comhairle Ceantair, Sinn Féin; Coventry and Belfast Cumann, Sinn Féin; Command Staff, Óglaigh na hÉireann, England; and GHQ staff.

The Republican Movement in England planned to honour McDade a with local paramilitary Guard of honour but Archbishop of Birmingham George Dwyer forbade a funeral service in the local diocese. Sinn Féin declared there had never been an intention to bury him locally.

The Home Secretary Roy Jenkins resisted attempts to ban the IRA but declared an aggressive stance towards paramilitary displays Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull Councils banned all processions for one month in the West Midlands under the Public Order Act 1936. Ground staff at Aldergrovemarker, Belfast refused to handle the coffin; The Times reported evidence of their intimidation. Instead his remains were flown to Dublin.

Liam Hannaway a senior member of the Republican Movement, give the oration at the funeral. His coffin was drapped in the same Tricolour that was used for the funerals of Terence MacSwiney and Michael Gaughan. IRA Volunteers fired three volleys of shots at his graveside. He was buried in the Republican plot at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast on the 23rd November 1974.

Birmingham Six

The Birmingham Six, all of whom were from North Belfast and knew McDade through the Birmingham Irish community, five of them were arrested on their way to his funeral, whilst the sixth was arrested in Birmingham.

References




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