Rose Dugdale: Where is Ex-IRA Member Now?

Sundance Now’s ‘The Heiress and the Heist’ is an eye-opening documentary that revolves around the life of Rose Dugdale, a prominent member of the Irish Republican Army. Even though Rose had a wealthy British upbringing, she became radicalized during her university days and soon revolted against everything the rich noble folk stood for. On top of it, she also found her ideology to match the IRA’s, leading to her playing an active role in their struggle. Well, with the show documenting Rose Dugdale’s early life and her transition into a revolutionary, let’s dive into the details and find out where she is at present, shall we?

Who Is Rose Dugdale?

Born in 1941 to millionaires Eric and Carol Dugdale, Rose was brought up in the neighborhood of Chelsea in London. Reports mentioned that her early life was molded in luxury and affluence as she had a wealthy upbringing and was never in want of anything. In fact, she attended the prestigious Miss Ironside’s School for Girls in Kensington, and people who knew her back then described Rose as a lively and cheerful young girl who was excited about attending a finishing school and being introduced as a debutante. However, Rose’s mindset changed once she began attending St Anne’s College at the University of Oxford, where she studied philosophy, politics, and economics.

Image Credit: Mná an IRA

Naturally, Oxford University was a hotbed of politics back then, and once Rose began interacting with people from other walks of life, she realized how easy her life was compared to others. Moreover, she also began developing a disdain for the extremely wealthy, as she had witnessed first-hand how people in high societies waste money while the poor are forced to go to bed hungry. Interestingly, during Rose’s time in Oxford, the University Union did not allow female students to become members. Determined to put an end to such a rule, Rose allegedly forced her way into one of the Union meetings while wearing clothes typically for men as a protest.

It showed how Rose preferred active demonstrations over armchair debates, and the British native even gathered a diverse view of the world while earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of London. Reports claimed the 1968 student protests and a subsequent trip to Cuba inspired Rose to get actively involved with the civil rights movement in London. Moreover, she and her then-boyfriend Walter Heaton also took an interest in the Irish Freedom Movement and would often travel to Ireland to participate in demonstrations and protests.

However, when valuables amounting to thousands of pounds were stolen from the Dugdale family home in Devon in June 1973, law enforcement officials zeroed in on the couple as the prime suspects, and Rose was handed a suspended prison sentence of two years after being convicted of the robbery. Since Rose’s father was forced to testify against her in court, she saw this as the ultimate betrayal and even claimed she hated everything the wealthy stood for. Furthermore, soon after the trial, Rose left England for Ireland, where she joined the IRA and began climbing up the ranks.

Interestingly, during her time with the IRA, Rose was involved in numerous operations, including several bombing runs and raids on British politicians. However, she was infamously known for leading the raid on Russborough House on April 26, 1974, when a group of IRA members broke into the home of British Conservative Party politician Sir Alfred Beit, restrained him and his wife, and stole paintings and artwork worth around 8 million Irish Pounds. However, the police were quick to investigate the crime, and on May 4, about a week after the heist, they recovered the stolen goods from a property in Glandore, County Cork, Ireland, before arresting Rose Dugdale.

Rose Dugdale is Leading a Quiet Life Today

When presented in court, Rose pleaded guilty to the charges against her and was sentenced to nine years in prison in June 1974. Besides, sources mention that she even became a mother while behind bars, as her son was born on December 12, 1974. Moreover, in 1978, Rose made history as she and the father of her child, Eddie Gallagher, who was also imprisoned at that time, became the first couple to tie the knot while incarcerated in Ireland. Nevertheless, Rose was released about two years later, in 1980, and she immediately moved to Dublin, where she became involved in the inner workings of the IRA.

Image Credit: Mná an IRA

Rose Dugdale has since become an important figure in Irish politics and is considered to be a notable member of the political party Sinn Féin. Furthermore, despite the hardship she faced during her career as a revolutionary, Rose is determined to speak her mind and has been a vocal advocate for several issues in world politics. However, even though she is currently leading a quiet life in a Dublin Nursing Home, we are sorry to report that Rose is estranged from her immediate family back in the United Kingdom.

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