Gaalen O'Shay, also known as the "Butcher of Belfast", was a leading True IRA member on the FX original series Sons of Anarchy. Played by American actor Timothy V. Murphy, Gaalen makes his debut on the episode "Kiss" in the series' fourth season. A senior member of the council in Belfast, known as the Irish Kings, Gaalen is involved in weapons trafficking with SAMCRO. Playing a recurring role through the series' fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons, he was one of the two main antagonists of Season 6 (the other being Tyne Patterson), and met his demise on the episode "Aon Rud Persanta", in the same season.
Gaalen is from County Armagh, Northern Ireland. He says that Kellan Ashby took him out of the streets and saved his life. Gaalen was not present in Belfast during SAMCRO's visit. It Is possible that he met John Teller then SAMCRO was in Ireland in the late 80's because he describes Jax as his old man Weak, lost loyalties In the wrong place
After a deal was struck with the Galindo Cartel, the Sons of Anarchy discovered that the cartel wanted more high caliber weaponry so had to pull deeper from the IRA's weapons supply. Gaalen became the Sons of Anarchy's new connection in the True IRA for weapons trafficking to aid in the dealing of the more destructive weapons. When SAMCRO requested heavier weaponry to sell to the cartel, Gaalen called Chibs and asked to speak to SAMCRO president Clay Morrow, who Gaalen had a long history and friendship with. The True IRA council, the Irish Kings, whom Gaalen was a member of, were dubious about selling to a Mexican cartel given their reputation for extreme violence and reneging on business deals. Clay convinced Gaalen to meet with Galindo's head of security, Romero 'Romeo' Parada, using the volume of sales they could expect from the cartel. ("Kiss")
Gaalen then made his way to California with a few other members of the Kings, meeting with SAMCRO at the Sons' warehouse. He happily greeted Clay, listening to his friends' assurances that the warehouse was a secure location to house the weapons. When Jax arrived, Gaalen offered him an unfriendly welcome, belittling him for being late to the meeting despite knowing that Jax's old lady, Tara, had been hospitalized after an attack. He even used the news to his advantage, citing it as a reason that the Kings were not excited about getting in bed with the Galindo Cartel. Further making his argument, Gaalen told them that he understood the need to get rid of Putlova's Russians and that to do that, the Sons needed to supply the cartel with small arms but Gaalen criticized them for everything that had happened since, including SAMCRO needing to use their RPGs to ward off the cartel's rival, Lobos Senorda. Clay tried to counter, telling him that those RPGs saved all of their lives but Gaalen refused to listen to their reasoning, reminding them that there'd be no need to have their lives saved if they didn't get involved with the cartel. Chibs tried to assure Gaalen and the Kings that the big guns would only be used south of the border and that what happened was an isolated incident that would only happen once and that none of it would blow back on the IRA's cause. Gaalen considered it and decided that he would meet with Romeo to hear assurances but it had to be on neutral ground.
Shortly after, Gaalen brought Jax and the Sons to a house owned by Irish American members of the IRA. The Sons were going to stand by as backup while Gaalen tried to get the Irish Americans, who had been conducting indecent business, to get back in line. They entered the house where Gaalen told the Sons to wait by the door while he proceeded further into the house. After noticing a woman taking a baby upstairs, however, Jax followed only to find that it was a "baby factory", where the Irish would care for babies before selling them to Catholic families. It was an American branch of the same IRA human trafficking business Jax had seen in Belfast that Abel had been sold through. This ignited extreme anger in Jax and he attacked the Irish Americans with the club members doing the same. Gaalen arrived to witness the brawl and was furious with Jax's reckless behavior even after Clay told Gaalen about Jax's history with the infant selling. Gaalen refused to work more with Jax and Clay promised him that when it came to the cartel deal, Gaalen would be working with Clay only. ("Burnt and Purged Away")
When it came time for the meet, Clay had been shot by Opie Winston and put in the hospital over an internal conflict within the club. Jax went to conduct the meeting between the Irish and Galindos but underestimated Gaalen's stubborness. Gaalen refused to work with Jax, not trusting him, and telling him that he was promised that he'd be making this deal with Clay at his side. Gaalen's refusal to work with Jax caused the meet to not happen, with Gaalen leaving with the IRA members. ("To Be, Act 2")
Once Clay was on the road to recovery and able to get on his feet, the meeting between the IRA and Galindos was rescheduled. Gaalen was glad to see Clay alive but was surprised by the fact he was no longer president, replaced by Jax. Clay assured him that the shift in power would not change the relationship between them. When Gaalen continued to speak badly about Jax, Jax challenged him to a fight, to work out any beefs. Gaalen refused at first, telling Jax that the Sons' trip to Belfast got Father Ashby, one of Gaalen's oldest friends, killed. When Jax insulted Ashby, Gaalen threw the first punch and they brawled while Romeo and the Galindos arrived. After settling his feud with Jax, Gaalen brought the Sons and Galindos into the warehouse where a shipment of their heavy guns were waiting. Once the terms of the deal was negotiated, Gaalen insisted that he give the Mexicans a demonstration of the guns. He blew apart a few of the Sons' motorcycles with a heavy machine gun and though some of the Sons were furious, Jax simply congratulated Gaalen on sealing the deal. ("Orca Shrugged")
Later, after Jax told Gaalen that they were severing ties with the Galindos and getting back to business as usual, they were confronted by the cartel at the warehouse where the cartel planned on taking some of their guns by force. Gaalen ordered them to not touch the guns but when they didn't comply, opened fire on the cartel leading to a firefight. The cartel overpowered the Irish and forced them to leave. Gaalen, seeing this as a Sons betrayal, told Jax that this would blow back on the club. Jax put all of the club and their associates under lockdown at TM but the Irish kidnapped Wendy at the hospital, believing she was Jax's old lady. Clay brokered a deal for Wendy back, calming things between the Irish and the Sons but telling Gaalen that he would be leaving Charming and going to Belfast since his crimes against the club had been made public. He also told him that Jax was planning on pulling the Sons out of guns and that he'd need someone to pick up that slack, offering to do that once he established himself in Belfast. Gaalen was also going to be responsible for getting Clay to Ireland. ("To Thine Own Self")
After Clay had been imprisoned and there was a school shooting in Stockton where the Sons' guns were used, the Sons met with the Irish where Gaalen introduced them to the IRA member who would be running the meetings with the Sons personally now. However, Jax pulled him aside to have a private talk where he told him his intentions of getting SAMCRO out of the guns, saying that he would try and get the San Bernardino charter to pick up the slack of arms dealing. Gaalen was visibly angered, bringing up that Clay warned him about Jax wanting to get out of the guns and warning Jax that he wasn't going to ruin the relationship between them, saying that the Kings wanted to double their business in the States. He then said he was going to send the Sons the next shipment of KG-9s and Jax was furious, asking him if he had heard what he'd just said. Gaalen explained that the school shooting was actually probably beneficial to their business since people were scared before leaving. ("Straw")
On the day the Irish were bringing their shipment of KG-9s, Jax spoke with Gaalen, telling him that they were done being the pawns of the Irish and finally getting out of guns. Gaalen, despite knowing Jax's intentions for some time, was annoyed by his argument. Jax brought up his father's dream but Gaalen didn't care, telling him John Teller lived in a different lifetime and told Jax that he was abandoning the cause. Jax countered by saying that the IRA's cause was in a different lifetime too, comparing Gaalen to Jimmy O'Phelan and he was just using religion and his cause as a means to fill his own pockets. Gaalen was enraged by Jax's insult, throwing a punch at him but Jax avoided the swing and punched Gaalen in the ribs. Gaalen laughed while Jax proclaimed that they were through and told Gaalen hands off the club. Gaalen repeated Jax's words with a smile, that there'd be hands off.
Shortly after, Gaalen and the Irish went to the Oswalt warehouse where the Sons kept their arsenal. Their patched member, Filthy Phil was there with the prospect, V-Lin. They called Jax, telling him that the Irish were there and Jax, confused and panicked, told Phil to tell them that he was on his way. When Phil told Gaalen that Jax was on his way, Gaalen shot Phil and Connor shot V-Lin and then Gaalen requested a saw from his men. The Irish mutilated Phil and V-Lin's bodies, cutting off their hands and leaving them on their cuts, fulfilling Gaalen's promise that there'd be hands off the club, living up to his name "The Butcher of Belfast". With his men, he then took all of the Sons' weapons supply but left the KG-9s as a final insult to Jax. ("Wolfsangel")
Jax reached out to the Irish Kings, explaining his feud with Gaalen and accused Gaalen of having done deals with Clay, outside of the IRA's knowledge, for the past two decades. Jax also talked about is plan to get out of guns but hand over the distribution business to August Marks. Despite not being keen on working with Marks, the Kings seemed to comply. However, once they hung up, they turned to Gaalen, who had been sitting at the table the whole time. He assured them that all his dealings with Clay were only ones that the council had approved of and reminded Clay was still their connection to the Northern California gun business, despite Jax claiming otherwise. He wanted to keep the plan he had made with Clay before Clay had been arrested that he would be in charge of distribution from Belfast. Gaalen explained that he already had a plan to spring Clay from prison and that Jax would get what he wanted to be out of guns and that ties would be severed.
Later, Gaalen put his plan to sever the ties with the Sons in motion, having explosives shipped into the clubhouse during the Sons' lockdown where all of their friends and family were barricaded until the violence with the Irish would blow over. As it approached eight o'clock, when the Irish Kings said they would call Jax with a decision, Jax noticed a pen that was left behind, with shamrocks on it. He discovered that an Irishman had delivered the beer kegs. Knowing eight o'clock was only two minutes away, he evacuated everyone in the clubhouse as the explosives went off, blowing up the clubhouse in a massive fireball that would have killed them all. ("The Mad King")
The morning after the explosion, the Sons contacted the Irish Kings and Gaalen laid out the terms of negotiation, saying that Sons had betrayed the IRA by wanting to pull out of the gun distribution. He threatened that if they didn't comply with the Kings' terms, they would blow up more of the MC's clubhouses. He explained that Clay would be in charge of distribution in Northern California now and that the Sons would set up all their buyers for the transition but get no profit. Jax, seeing no other option, said he understood, telling the Kings that he didn't want a war and that Gaalen did, proving it by saying that he'd set the Irish he had captured free. The other Kings had thought Jax had killed them, glaring at Gaalen, having apparently been told that the Sons would kill them and fueling the fire for war. Gaalen seemed to notice the annoyance of the council but simply told them he'd push the deal with Clay forward and left the table, leaving the other Kings to their thoughts. ("Salvage")
After returning Connor and the other Irish, Clay had to force himself into mental ward of the prison to get in touch with his former contacts to see if they were onboard with the transition. However, after he'd done that, the trial had been pushed forward, giving the Irish less time to free him from captivity. Gaalen came back to the States where he called for a meeting with the Sons. They told him that all of their contacts were onboard except for the Italians, led by Jimmy Cacuzza, who were on the fence whether to go along with the transition or take up their business with the Chinese providing their weapons instead of the Irish. Gaalen knew that Cacuzza was the Sons' biggest buyer so refused to allow him to pull out of business with them. He told Jax to set up a meeting and requested that they meet with Cacuzza in person but Jax said he'd handle it, though settled at Gaalen's demand for Connor to at least tag along. He then told them about Clay's trial being pushed forward and the small window they had to get him out of custody. However, because of the new schedule, he didn't have enough time to put a crew together so asked the Sons to help in the breakout. Jax initially refused but Gaalen insisted, making it an order and not a request. Jax put it to a vote at the table and they all agreed to help.
Later, despite saying earlier that he wouldn't go, Gaalen arrived at the meeting with Cacuzza unexpectedly, showing off the guns to the Italians. Lin and the Chinese arrived but when they did, Gaalen opened fire on them, wounding Lin and killing one of the Chinese as they fled, sending a message that the IRA were the only ones who were going to be dealing guns in Northern California, effectively monopolizing the local gun industry. Cacuzza gave in to his pressure and made the deal with Gaalen. Jax was furious over Gaalen's unexpected assault, knowing that it would have serious consequences for all of their connections. ("Huang Wu")
After the Sons managed to go through with the plan to free Clay, they brought him to the airstrip to meet up with Gaalen and making preparations for his transition to Belfast. However, once Gaalen greeted Clay warmly and then turned to Jax, complimenting him, Jax shot Gaalen in the head while Chibs and Tig killed his underlings as part of a plan the club voted on to help force the Irish Kings into dealing their weapons with August Marks. To cement their deal, Jax proceeded to kill Clay and make it look like he had killed Gaalen in a dispute. He then forced Connor to back his story up wtih the Irish Kings.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Gaalen is shown to be a very ruthless man who allows his stubborness and set ways dictate his decisions. During his transactions with the Sons of Anarchy, he is shown to treat Clay with a level of respect, having done business with him for years. In contrast, he felt Jax was brash and impulsive, angered by Jax's role in Father Ashby's death. Gaalen's presence demands respect and if he feels he has been insulted, he holds it against the one who wronged him. Gaalen is also cutthroat, willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of his business arrangements, shooting a Mexican who tried to take a shipment of guns without a second thought and brazenly murdering fully patched Son Filthy Phil and prospect V-Lin simply to send a message to Jax, who had just told Gaalen his plans for the MC to back out of the gun business. Gaalen is also shown to be a racist individual, like the other Irish Kings, refusing to do business with Mexicans or African Americans simply because of their skin color. Gaalen's respect is hard to earn but it has been shown it's possible as Jax managed to ease the tension between them by showing he could fight him to a standstill.
Gaalen is a middle-aged man with short gray hair. He is muscular and well built, particularly for his age. He is almost always seen wearing collared shirts with suit jackets over them, rarely ever sporting a tie.
- Unnamed Galindo Cartel member - Shot. ("Darthy")
- Filthy Phil Russell - Shot in the head. ("Wolfsangel")
- Unnamed Lin Triad member - Shot in the chest. ("Huang Wu")
|Season 4 appearances|
|"With An X"||"Fruit For The Crows"||"Family Recipe"||"Kiss"||"Hands"|
|"Call of Duty"||"Burnt and Purged Away"||"To Be, Act 1"||"To Be, Act 2"|
|Season 5 appearances|
|"Sovereign"||"Authority Vested"||"Laying Pipe"||"Stolen Huffy"||"Orca Shrugged"|
|"Small World"||"Toad's Wild Ride"||"Ablation"||"Andare Pescare"||"Crucifixed"|
|"To Thine Own Self"||"Darthy"||"J'ai Obtenu Cette"|
|Season 6 appearances|
|"Straw"||"One One Six"||"Poenitentia"||"Wolfsangel"||"The Mad King"|
|"Salvage"||"Sweet and Vaded"||"Los Fantasmas"||"John 8:32"||"Huang Wu"|
|"Aon Rud Persanta"||"You Are My Sunshine"||"A Mother's Work"|