Nee, Patrick 1943-
Nee, Patrick 1943-
Born 1943, in Rosmuc, County Galway, Ireland; immigrated to United States, 1952; children: two daughters.
Laborer. Military service: U.S. Marines; served in Vietnam.
(With Richard Farrell and Michael Blythe) A Criminal and an Irishman: The Inside Story of the Southie Gang Wars and the Boston Mob-IRA Connection (memoir), Steerforth Press (Hanover, NH), 2006.
Patrick Nee spent many years as a member of the Irish mobs in Boston and served eighteen months in prison for his part in a planned shipment of weapons from the United States to the Irish Republic Army (IRA) in 1984. He recalls his life, beginning with his childhood, in a memoir titled A Criminal and an Irishman: The Inside Story of the Southie Gang Wars and the Boston Mob-IRA Connection, which he wrote with the assistance of journalist Richard Farrell and screenwriter Michael Blythe.
Nee was born in Rosmuc, County Galway, Ireland, in 1943, and he immigrated with his family to South Boston, Massachusetts, in 1952. He became a gang member at a young age and returned to gang life after seeing combat in Vietnam in the 1960s. Nee was a leader in a turf war with mob boss Donald Killeen, whose execution led to the gang's takeover by Howie Winter. The two Boston gangs joined forces, but when Winter was convicted of fixing horse races in 1979, James "Whitey" Bulger became boss.
Bulger, whose sexuality adds another thread to the story, urged Nee not to serve his other master, the IRA, because the profit didn't offset the risk, but Nee ignored the advice. He helped the IRA on and off for several years and then, with Bulger's help, planned the smuggling of seven tons of assault rifles. The weapons were loaded on the Valhalla, a fishing trawler docked in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but the scheme was thwarted when an informant leaked information of the plan, and the ship and its cargo were seized by the Irish Navy and the Garda Siochana, the Irish police force. U.S. Customs agents arrested the American crew when they returned to Gloucester.
Mobster John McIntyre, the Valhalla crew member who had informed U.S. Customs about the weapons shipment, was murdered by Bulger and other mob members, and Nee, who was not directly involved in the killing, left Boston to avoid arrest by federal agents. He was found in 1987, however, and convicted. He left federal prison after eighteen months, and within two months, he had formed a gang that planned and staged robberies in order to raise money for the IRA. Nee was arrested in 1990 during an armored car robbery in Abington, Massachusetts. He was convicted and sentenced to thirty-seven years in federal prison, but he was released after he served eight years. Nee has made his living as a laborer since and worked on Boston's "Big Dig." His family consists of two daughters and their children.
A Criminal and an Irishman was reviewed by a Publishers Weekly contributor, who wrote that the story of Nee's "youth and teenage descent into gang membership will sound familiar to most readers." Mike Tribby commented in Booklist that Nee's story has value because "books about the post-1970 state of organized crime and its leaders aren't legion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Nee, Patrick, Richard Farrell, and Michael Blythe, A Criminal and an Irishman: The Inside Story of the Southie Gang Wars and the Boston Mob-IRA Connection, Steerforth Press (Hanover, NH), 2006.
Booklist, March 1, 2006, Mike Tribby, review of A Criminal and an Irishman, p. 50.
Publishers Weekly, January 23, 2006, review of A Criminal and an Irishman, p. 202.