June 21, 2011




Jonathan Adair, better known as Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair (born 27 October 1963 in BelfastNorthern Ireland) is the former leader of the “C Company”, 2nd Battalion Shankill Road, West Belfast Brigade of the “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF). This was a cover name used by theUlster Defence Association (UDA), an Ulster loyalist paramilitary organisation. Adair was expelled from the organisation in 2002 following a violent internal power struggle. Since 2003, he, his family and a number of supporters have been forced to leave Northern Ireland by other loyalists.

Paramilitary activities

By the early 1990s, a new leadership had emerged on the Shankill Road following the killing of powerful South Belfast Brigadier and the UDA’s Deputy Commander John McMichael in 1987 by a booby-trap car bomb planted by the IRA; less than three months later, the Supreme Commander Andy Tyrie resigned after an attempt was made on his life. He was not replaced; instead the organisation was run by its Inner Council. With the West Belfast UDA brigadier and spokesman Tommy Lyttle in prison and gradually eased out of the leadership, Adair, as the most ambitious of the “Young Turks”, established himself as head of the UDA/UFF’s “C Company”, 2nd Battalion based on the Shankill.[2] When Adair was charged with terrorist offences in 1995, he admitted that he had been a UDA leader for three years up to 1994. During this time, Adair and his colleagues were involved in multiple and random murders of Catholic civilians, mostly carried out by a special killings unit led by Stevie “Top Gun” McKeag.[3] At Adair’s trial in 1995, the prosecuting lawyer said he was dedicated to his cause against those whom he “regarded as militant republicans – among whom he had lumped almost the entire Roman Catholic population”.[4] Royal Ulster Constabulary detectives believe his unit killed up to 40 people in this period.[5] Adair once remarked to a Catholic journalist from the Republic of Ireland upon the discovery of her being Catholic, that normally Catholics travelled in the boot of his car.[6] According to a press report in 2003, Adair was handed details of republican suspects by theIntelligence Corps, and was even invited for dinner with them in the early 1990s.[7] In his autobiography, he claimed he was frequently passed information by sympathetic British army members, and that his own whereabouts were passed to republican paramilitaries by the RUC Special Branch, who, he claimed, hated him.[8] As brigadier of the West Belfast UDA Adiar was entitled to one of the six seats on the organisation’s Inner Council and in this role Adair, who wanted to continue on the path of violence, clashed frequently with East Antrim brigadier Joe English, who advocated seeking a peace settlement.[9]

The Provisional Irish Republican Army‘s Shankill Road Bombing of a fish shop in October 1993 was an attempt to assassinate Adair and the rest of the UDA’s Belfast leadership in reprisal for attacks on Catholics. The IRA claimed that the office above the shop was regularly used by the UDA for meetings and one was due to take place shortly after the bomb exploded. The bomb went off early, killing one of the IRA men, Thomas Begley, and nine Protestant civilians. The UFF retaliated by carrying out the Greysteel massacre, a random attack on the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel, County Londonderry, in which eight civilians, two of whom were Protestants, were killed. Adair has survived 13 assassination bids, most of which were carried out by the IRA and Irish National Liberation Army.[10]

During this time, undercover officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary had recorded months of discussions with Adair, in which he boasted of his activities, producing enough evidence to charge him with directing terrorism. He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in the The Maze prison.

Adair was held with other loyalist prisoners in their “block” of the prison. In prison, according to some reports, Adair sold drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy tablets and amphetamines to other loyalist prisoners, earning him an income of £5,000 a week.[10]

In January 1998, Adair was one of five loyalist prisoners visited in the prison by British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam. She persuaded them to drop their objection to their political representatives continuing the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement in April that year. In 1999, Adair was released as part of early-release scheme for paramilitary prisoners under the Agreement.


Exile from Northern Ireland and personal life

He was released from prison again on 10 January 2005. He immediately left Northern Ireland and joined his family in BoltonLancashire where it was claimed he stayed with supporters of the far-rightCombat 18 group. [12]

The police in Bolton have questioned his wife, Gina about her involvement in the drugs trade, and his son (nicknamed both ‘Mad Pup’ and ‘Daft Dog’ [2]) has been charged with selling crack cocaine and heroin.[13] Adair himself was arrested and fined for assault and threatening behaviour in September 2005. He had married Gina Crossan, his partner for many years and the mother of his four children, at the Maze Prison on 21 February 1997.[14] She is three years Adair’s junior and grew up in the same Lower Oldpark neighbourhood. Gina was part of the local skinhead scene and Adair began dating her in 1980 when she was 14 years old. Adair and Gina have four children: Jonathan, Natalie, Chloe, and Jay.

A former girlfriend, Jackie “Legs” Robinson, claimed that after a UDA/UFF killing had been set up and carried out, he would become highly aroused and afterwards be “particularly wild in bed”.[15][16] It was also alleged that the mere discussion of an operation’s details gave him a “sexually charged excitement”; even when the actual killings had been done by others he had personally chosen as hitmen.[17]

After being released, he was almost immediately arrested again for violently assaulting Gina, who suffers from ovarian cancer.[18] Since this episode Johnny Adair is reported as having moved to Scotland, living in Troon in Ayrshire.[19] The Adair family moved to Horwich, Lancashire in early 2003.[20]

In May 2006, it was reported that Adair had received £100,000 from John Blake Publishing for a ghost-written autobiography.[5]

In November 2006, the UK’s Five television channel transmitted an observational documentary on Adair made by Donal MacIntyre. The focus of the film centred around Adair and another supposedly reformed character, a former neo-Nazi from Germany called Nick Greger, and their trip to Uganda to build an orphanage. Adair was seen to fire rifles, stating it was the first time he had done so without wearing gloves.

In November 2008 Adair appeared in an episode of Danny Dyer‘s Deadliest Men which profiled fellow C Company inmate Sam “Skelly” McCrory.


%d bloggers like this: