- Rose Dugdale
Bridget Rose Dugdale (born c. 1941), better known as Rose Dugdale, is a former
debutantewho rebelled against her wealthy upbringing, becoming a volunteer in the militant Irish republicanorganisation, the Provisional Irish Republican Army(IRA). As an IRA member, she took part in the theft of paintings worth IR£8 million and a bomb attack on a Royal Ulster Constabulary(RUC) station using a hijacked helicopter.
Dugdale was born into a wealthy English family, her millionaire father was an
underwriterat Lloyd's of Londonwho owned a convert|600|acre|km2|sing=on estate near Axminsterin Devon.cite web | title = Renegade Debutante | author = | url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944833-1,00.html | publisher = "TIME" | date = 20 May 1974| accessdate = 2007-11-06] [cite book | last = MacCarthy | first = Fiona | authorlink = Fiona MacCarthy | title = Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes | publisher = Faber and Faber| date = 2007 | pages = pp. 253–254 | doi = | isbn = 978-0-571-22860-7] The family also owned a house in Londonnear Chelsea Hospital,"Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", p. 254.] and Dugdale was educated at the nearby Miss Ironside's School for Girls in Kensington, West London. ["Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", pp. 248–249.] She was a popular pupil, with Virginia Ironside stating "Everyone adored this generous, clever and dashing millionaire's daughter, who was life and laughter". After completing her early education Dugdale was sent abroad to attend finishing school, then in 1958 she was presented as a debutante before Queen Elizabeth IIat the start of the social season.cite web | title = High Society: Whatever happened to the last of the debs? | author = Liz Hoggard | url = http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article1716419.ece | publisher = " The Independent" | date = 24 September 2006| accessdate = 2007-11-06] Her debutante ball was held in 1959, with Dugdale describing it as "one of those pornographic affairs which cost about what 60 old-age pensioners receive in six months". Later that year Dugdale began reading philosophy, politics and economicsat St Anne's College, University of Oxford."Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", p. 255.] While studying there she began what newspapers would later describe as a "lunge to the left", when she and a fellow student gatecrashed Oxford Unionwearing wigs and men's clothing in protest at the Union's refusal to admit women. After completing her studies at Oxford she travelled to the United Statesattending Mount Holyoke Collegein South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she obtained a master's degreein philosophy, submitting a thesison Ludwig Wittgenstein. She also studied at the University of London, obtaining a Ph.D.in economics.
Early political activity
By the early 1970s Dugdale had become politically radicalised due to the 1968 student protests, and she had also been inspired after visiting
Cuba. By 1972 she had devoted herself to helping the poor, after resigning from her job as an economist for the government, selling her house in Chelsea, and moving into a flat in Tottenhamwith her lover, Walter Heaton, who described himself as a "revolutionary socialist". Heaton was a court-martialled former guardsmanand militant shop stewardwho was married with two daughters, and had been imprisoned for several minor criminal offences including burglary, obstructing the police and fraudulent consumption of electricity. [cite book | last = Laskey | first = Melvin | authorlink = | title = On the Barricades and Off | publisher = Transaction Publishers| date = 1988 | pages = p. 72 | doi = | isbn = 978-0887387265] Dugdale cashed in her share of the family syndicate at Lloyd's, estimated to be £150,000, and distributed the money to poor people in north London. Dugdale and Heaton were involved in the civil rights movement, and together ran the Tottenham Claimaints' Union from a corner shop. They shared a common interest in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, and they made frequent trips there to take part in demonstrations.
In June 1973 the couple were arrested after a burglary at the Dugdale family home in Devon."Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", pp. 255–256.] Paintings and silverware valued at £82,000 were stolen, and police believe the proceeds were destined to be sent to the IRA by Heaton. At the trial at
Exeter Crown CourtDugdale claimed to have been coerced and plead not guilty, and used the proceedings to publicly denounce her family and background."Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", p. 256.] Her father appeared as a witness for the prosecution and was cross-examined by Dugdale, who said to him "I love you, but hate everything you stand for". The couple were found guilty, prompting Dugdale to address the jury saying "In finding me guilty you have turned me from an intellectual recalcitrant into a freedom fighter. I know no finer title". Heaton was sentenced to six years imprisonment, and Dugdale received a two year suspended sentenceas the judge considering the risk of her committing any further criminal acts to be "extremely remote".
In the months following the trial, Dugdale travelled to Ireland and joined an IRA
active service unitoperating along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.cite book | last = McLeave | first = Hugh | authorlink = | title = Rogues in the gallery: The modern plague of art thefts | publisher = D. R. Godine | date = 1981 | pages = p. 72 | doi = | isbn = 978-0879233785] In January 1974 Dugdale and other IRA members, including Eddie Gallagher, hijacked a helicopter in County Donegalin the Republic of Ireland. [cite web | title = Rebel bombers’ World Cup air raid | author = Jeremy Page | url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article1722868.ece | publisher = " The Times" | date = 30 April 2007| accessdate = 2007-11-06] cite web | title = Herrema kidnapping threatened economy | author = Jim Cusack | url = http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/herrema-kidnapping-threatened-economy-473793.html?startindex=-1 | publisher = " Irish Independent" | date = 30 October 2005| accessdate = 2007-11-06] Dugdale and Gallagher used the helicopter to drop bombs in milk churns on the RUC station in Strabanein Northern Ireland, the first helicopter bombing raid in the history of the British Isles. The bombs failed to explode, and Dugdale became wanted for questioning regarding the bombing with her picture in police stations across Britain and Ireland. A warrant was also issued for her arrest by Manchester Magistrates Court on 23 February 1974on charges of conspiring to smuggle arms.cite book | last = Bowyer Bell | first = J. | authorlink = J. Bowyer Bell | title = The Secret Army: The IRA | publisher = Transaction Publishers | date = 1997 | pages = p. 407 | doi = | isbn = 1560009012]
26 April 1974Dugdale took part in a raid on Russborough Housein County Wicklow, the home of Sir Alfred Beit.cite web | title = Adventures of a mobile masterpiece | author = Deirdre McQuillan | url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_n44_v11/ai_17611800 | publisher = " Insight on the News" | date = 20 November 1995| accessdate = 2007-11-06] Dugdale and three other IRA members forced their way into the house, and pistol-whipped Sir Alfred and his wife before tying and gagging the couple."Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", p. 257.] The IRA members then stole nineteen old masters valued at IR£8 million, including paintings by Gainsborough, Rubens, Vermeerand Goya. The Vermeer taken was "Lady writing a Letter with her Maid", the only Vermeer in private ownership except for one at Buckingham Palace. The IRA members sent a ransom note offering to exchange the stolen paintings for IR£500,000 and the release of Dolours and Marian Price, two sisters convicted of IRA bombings who were on hunger strikein Brixton Prisonattempting to secure repatriationto Ireland. The Gardaístarted a nationwide hunt for the paintings, and on 4 Maythey raided a house rented by Dugdale in Glandore, County Cork, and discovered all nineteen paintings in the boot of a car. Dugdale was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act, and the next day she was charged in relation to the helicopter attack and the art theft.
As at her previous trial in 1973, Dugdale once again used the courtroom as a political platform, shouting "The British have an army of occupation in a small part of Ireland—but not for long!" during her
arraignmentin Dublin. Dugdale's father issued a statement saying "I don't want to appear hardhearted, but I've done everything I can for her. She knows perfectly well she could turn to me if she wanted to". In Dugdale's submission to the court during her trial she denounced Britain as "a filthy enemy" and stated the Dublin government was guilty of "treacherous collaboration" with England. On 25 June 1974she was sentenced to nine years imprisonment after pleading "proudly and incorruptibly guilty", and she gave a clenched fist salute to supporters in the public gallery.
Dugdale was pregnant with Eddie Gallagher's child when she was imprisoned, and on
12 December 1974she gave birth to a son, Ruairí, in Limerick Prison. ["The Secret Army: The IRA", p. 417.] On 3 October 1975Gallagher and fellow IRA member Marion Coylekidnapped industrialist Tiede Herremanear his home in Castletroy, a suburb of Limerick.cite web | title = Herrema recalls 1975 kidnap drama | author = Jimmy Woulfe | url = http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/10/19/story213067566.asp | publisher = " Irish Examiner" | date = 19 October 2005| accessdate = 2007-11-06] They were traced to a house in Monasterevin, County Kildare, and a two week siege began. Coyle and Gallagher had demanded the release of Dugdale and two other IRA members, but the authorities refused to grant any concessions. [cite web | title = The Hostage Dilemma | author = | url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,946574,00.html | publisher = "TIME" | date = 20 October 1975| accessdate = 2007-11-06] cite web | title = 1975: IRA kidnappers release industrialist | author = | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/7/newsid_2539000/2539461.stm | publisher = BBC| date = | accessdate = 2007-11-06] The siege ended on 7 Novemberwhen Herrema was released, and Coyle and Gallagher were arrested. Gallagher and Coyle were sentenced to twenty years and fifteen years imprisonment respectively, and in 1978 Gallagher and Dugdale received special dispensation to marry."Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes", p. 258.] The wedding took place on 24 January 1978inside Limerick Prison, and was the first wedding between convicted prisoners in the history of the Republic of Ireland. [cite web | title = Selected Irish historical events by month | author = | url = http://www.traleetimes.com/files/januaryHistory.html | publisher = "Tralee Times" | date = | accessdate = 2007-11-06] Dugdale was released from prison in October 1980.
After her release from prison Dugdale was active in the campaign in support of protesting Irish republican prisoners during the
1981 Irish hunger strike.cite book | last = Beresford | first = David | authorlink = | title = Ten Men Dead | publisher = Atlantic Monthly Press | date = 1987 | pages = p. 198 | isbn = 0-87113-702-X] She is a veteran activist in Sinn Féin.cite web | title = Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2007 : the All Ireland Agenda | author = Robbie Smyth | url = http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/18177 | publisher = " An Phoblacht" | date = 8 March 2007| accessdate = 2007-11-06] [cite web | title = Not quite everyone sang from the same hymn sheet | author = Lorna Reid | url = http://www.independent.ie/national-news/not-quite-everyone-sang-from-the-same-hymn-sheet-61814.html | publisher = "Irish Independent" | date = 29 January 2007| accessdate = 2007-11-06] In 2007 she spoke out in support of the Shell to Seacampaign against the proposed construction of a high-pressure raw gas pipeline through Rossportby Shell, saying the Shell contract was invalid and needed "to be renegotiated on behalf of the people of Ireland". She is also a director at Dublin Community Television.
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