Tag Archives: Raymond Gilmour

Martin McGartland – Dead Man Walking

 

Martin “Marty” McGartland (born 30 January 1970 in Belfast, Northern Ireland)[1] is a former British agent who infiltrated the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA)[2] in 1989 to pass information to RUC Special Branch.

When he was exposed as an agent in 1991 he was abducted by the IRA, but escaped and was resettled in England. His identity became publicly known after a minor court case. He was later shot six times by an IRA gunman, but recovered from the injuries. He has written two books about his life, Fifty Dead Men Walking: The Terrifying True Story of a Secret Agent Inside the IRA and Dead Man Running

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Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this documentary/ies and page are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

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The Informer – BBC Panorama Martin McGartland

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Childhood in west Belfast

Born into a staunchly Irish republican, Roman Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland, McGartland grew up in a council house in Moyard, Ballymurphy at the foot of the Black Mountain. His parents were separated and he had one brother, Joe, and two sisters, Elizabeth and Catherine. As the violent religious-political conflict known as the Troubles escalated, republican areas such as Ballymurphy increasingly came under the control of the local Provisional IRA (IRA) who, in the absence of normal policing, took on some policing functions. Their methods were not met with approval by all residents.[4] One of the effects of the continuous rioting and the campaign of bombings and shootings in Belfast and all over Northern Ireland was to make McGartland grow up quickly.[5]

McGartland described his childhood in West Belfast as one in which he would join with older boys in stone-throwing to goad the British Army. He also became involved in battles with other Catholic youths against Ulster Protestant boys from nearby loyalist estates; this mostly involved throwing stones at each other. His sister Catherine was one of many children who joined the youth movement of the IRA. She was later killed after accidentally falling through a skylight at her school. He attended Vere Foster Primary School, a “controlled” school located in Moyard, Ballymurphy. The school closed in 2011. McGartland later attended St. Thomas’ Secondary School.[6] He befriended a homeless man who sheltered in the disused Old Broadway cinema on the Falls Road, and provided the man with food and money. McGartland’s first job was working a paper round, and later delivering milk.[7]

Special Branch agent

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IRA Informers Documentary

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McGartland became involved in petty crime, which brought him to the notice of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). His activities also attracted the attention of the IRA and on several occasions he narrowly escaped local disciplinary squads. Since the beginning of the Troubles, many Irish republicans reported offences to Sinn Fein, a political party associated with the IRA, rather than the RUC. This effectively made the IRA a police force in some areas.[8] McGartland says because he was sickened by increasing Provisional IRA violence directed at young Catholic petty lawbreakers in the form of punishment beatings (often carried out with iron bars and baseball bats) and knee-cappings, in 1986 at the age of 16 he agreed to provide information to the RUC about local IRA members, thereby preventing them from carrying out many attacks against the security forces. At the same time, the IRA employed him as a security officer in a protection racket; his job was to guard a building site in Ballymurphy which was under the protection of the IRA.[9] He then worked for a local taxi firm as an unlicensed driver, paying a percentage to the IRA. This enabled him to better identify suspects who had been targeted by RUC Special Branch. He recounted in his book Fifty Dead Men Walking that he occasionally drove IRA punishment squads around and overheard them boast about the beatings they had meted out to their victims. McGartland asserts many were innocent people who had somehow incurred the wrath of a member of the IRA.[10]

Infiltration of the IRA

McGartland later infiltrated the IRA in autumn 1989, having been asked to join by Davy Adams, a leading IRA member and a nephew of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams. This was after being recommended by childhood friend Harry Fitzsimmons, part of an IRA bomb team, whom McGartland often drove around Belfast. Davy Adams immediately gave McGartland his first assignment which was to check the house of a well-known Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) figure.[11] McGartland was given the code name Agent Carol by the RUC.[12]

Holding the rank of lieutenant in the IRA Belfast Intelligence unit, he ended up working mainly for Davy Adams, whom he drove to meetings and to survey potential IRA targets. McGartland had a special tracking device attached to his car.[13] He was also recruited by an IRA Active Service Unit (ASU) which was headed by a man known as “Spud”.[14] He convinced his IRA associates that he was a committed member of the organisation and he successfully led a double life, which was kept secret even from the mother of his two sons. From 1989-91, he provided information about IRA activities and planned attacks to the RUC Special Branch. During his time as a Special Branch intelligence agent, he became close to senior IRA members, having daily contact with those responsible for organising and perpetrating the shooting attacks and bombings throughout Northern Ireland.[15] He also worked closely with Belfast actress Rosena Brown, a prominent and highly skilled IRA intelligence officer.[16] Working in the IRA Intelligence unit enabled McGartland to learn about the organisation’s command structure pertaining to finance, ordnance, intelligence and the detailed planning of operations.[17] He discovered how IRA sympathisers had infiltrated various public institutions and businesses, and many members acquired computer skills, thereby enabling the IRA to gain access to detailed information on a wide range of people in Northern Ireland including politicians, lawyers, judges, members of the security forces, Ulster loyalist paramilitaries, and prison officers.[18]

Although McGartland prevented the IRA from carrying out many “spectaculars”, including the planned bombing of two lorries transporting British soldiers from Stranraer to Larne that could have resulted in the loss of over a dozen lives,[19] his reported greatest regret was his failure in June 1991 to save the life of 21-year-old Private Tony Harrison. Harrison, a soldier from London, who was shot by the IRA at the home of his East Belfast fiancee where they were making wedding plans. McGartland had driven the IRA gunmen’s getaway car and had been brought into the operation so late he had no time to advise his handlers although he had previously indicated the IRA’s interest in the area.[20] A taxi driver and republican sympathiser, Noel Thompson, who picked Harrison up at Belfast airport and informed the IRA was later jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to murder.[21]

Exposed as an agent

In that same year 1991, McGartland provided information about a mass shooting attack planned on Charlie Heggarty’s pub in Bangor, County Down, where British soldiers frequently drank after what was generally a football match between the prison wardens. The RUC intercepted the two couriers delivering the guns to be used to shoot the soldiers and McGartland was exposed as an infiltrator.[22] Diaries of the late Detective Superintendent Ian Phoenix, head of the Northern Ireland Police Counter-Surveillance Unit, revealed that he and the other Special Branch officers had advised senior RUC officers against stopping the gun couriers’ vehicles as doing so would put McGartland’s life at risk as well as allow the actual IRA gunmen to escape.[23] The penalty for informing on the IRA was death, often preceded by lengthy and sometimes brutal interrogations.

With his cover blown, McGartland was kidnapped in August 1991 by Jim “Boot” McCarthy and Paul “Chico” Hamilton, two IRA men with previous convictions for paramilitary activities. He would later allege that McCarthy and Hamilton were RUC informers based on what he had personally observed of the men during his kidnapping as he waited to be interrogated, tortured and subsequently executed. These allegations, however, were strongly denied by both men.[24] McGartland escaped being killed by jumping from a third floor window in the Twinbrook flat where he had been taken for interrogation following his abduction.[25]

England

He moved to England and received nearly £100,000 to buy a house and establish a new life in Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, going by the name Martin Ashe.[26] He failed in his attempt to receive compensation for his injuries.[27]

Three years after moving to England, the IRA sent his mother a Catholic mass card with McGartland’s name written on it. Mass cards are sent as tokens of sympathy to bereaved families when a member of the family has died.[28]

In 1997, his identity was revealed publicly by the Northumbria Police in court when he was caught breaking the speed limit and subsequently prosecuted for holding driving licences in different names, which he explained as a means of avoiding IRA detection.[12] He was cleared of perverting the course of justice.[29] In June 1997, the BBC broadcast a television documentary on his story.[30]

Journalist Kevin Myers praised McGartland’s heroism and the Sunday Express newspaper described him as a “real-life James Bond“.[31]

Shooting

McGartland
The street in Whitley Bay where McGartland was shot in June 1999

 

In 1999, he was shot six times at his home by two men receiving serious wounds in the chest, stomach, side, upper leg and hand. He had attempted to wrestle the gun away from his assailant, but was shot in the left hand, the blast almost destroying his thumb. He received assistance from his neighbours and was rushed to intensive care in hospital where he recovered from his injuries. The IRA was blamed.[32][33] He was relocated immediately, protected by 12 armed officers and given a specially armoured car. Total costs, including the investigation, amounted to £1,500,000.[34]

In 2000, Lord Vivian asked in the House of Lords whether the government intended to remove police protection from McGartland and was told by Lord Bassam of Brighton that “Individual protection arrangements are a matter for the chief constable of the police force concerned and are not discussed for security reasons.”[35]

The day after he was shot, the incident, along with the murders of Eamon Collins, Brendan Fegan, and Paul Downey, was cited by Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble in an interview with reporters in Belfast, to question whether the IRA ceasefire was being maintained. He reminded Mo Mowlam, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, that this was a condition of the early release of paramilitaries under the Good Friday Agreement.[36] A week later, it was mentioned in the Northern Ireland Grand Committee as evidence that IRA arms decommissioning had not taken place,[37] and in January 2000 by Robert McCartney in the Northern Ireland Assembly.[38]

In 1997 McGartland published a book about his life, Fifty Dead Men Walking.[3] The title indicates the number of lives he considers he saved through his activities.[12] The following year he won his lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Daily Mail, The Evening Standard and This is London web site, which had published an article alleging the shooting might be related to connections with local criminal gangs.[39]

In 2003, PIRA member Scott Gary Monaghan,[40] a native of Glasgow, whose republican career began there in the Kevin Barry Flute Band, and who had been sentenced to 1004 years imprisonment in 1993, sued Northumbria Police for £150,000 for alleged ill-treatment when he was arrested (but not charged) over McGartland’s shooting.[40] McGartland criticised the police for inadequate protection but offered to testify on their behalf, saying: “There are people who have been the victims of terrorist attacks, who’ve lost loved ones, and some of them haven’t been compensated. It’s a scandal. I am the victim of an attack and I got around £50,000 in compensation, which is not a big amount considering my injuries. I’m not complaining. At the end of the day I was grateful to be alive. The reason I will help Northumbria Police is that this is an injustice.”[29] Monaghan’s main claims were for false imprisonment, assault and wrongful interference with goods. They were rejected by the High Court in January 2006. However, he was awarded £100 for a delay in returning items of property. As of September 2008, no one was ever charged with the shooting.[41][42]

Threats to his family

After the 1994 ceasefire, McGartland appealed to be allowed to return home to West Belfast. When he asked Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, when he would be able to, he was informed that it was a matter between him and the IRA.[12] McGartland has said that his relatives have received harassment from Republicans;[12] in 1996, his brother Joe was subjected to a severe and prolonged IRA punishment beating with baseball bats, iron bars and a wooden plank embedded with nails. The assault left him confined to a wheelchair for three months.[43] In August 2006 Ian Paisley told Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, “We have also heard how the sister of IRA informer Martin McGartland was told by police that her safety was under threat. This news broke immediately after the Secretary of State’s comments that he believed the IRA had ended all of its illegal activity.”[44]

Home Secretary denial

Despite McGartland being known as one of the best agents to operate during the Troubles,[45] British Home Secretary Theresa May told a court in early 2014 that she refused to confirm or deny that he was a British agent working for MI5 offering as explanation, “in case providing such information would endanger his life or damage national security”.[45]

McGartland responded by lambasting May, pointing out that “this is one of the daftest things I have ever heard; everyone who is interested knows my past … “[n]o current security interest is at stake.” After highlighting the two books he has written about his life as an undercover agent, one of which was made into a successful film, there have also been six television documentaries on him and a number of newspaper articles. He went on to state, “the authorities wrote to the BBC back in 1997 admitting that I have been resettled and was being protected because of my service to them. I wonder how well briefed the Home Secretary is?”.[45]

There are letters extant which demonstrate that Crown authorities through their solicitors Burton & Burton wrote to the BBC and confirmed that McGartland had worked for them under the code name Agent Carol. And while MI5 admitted in a letter that there was a continued threat to McGartland’s life, they commented “it is not such that he needs immediate police protection or to abandon immediately his residence”. The Crown authorities advised in the same letter that he take up the offer of a new identity. All the comments within the letters had been agreed with Northumbria Police.[46] The following is an extract from the Northumbria Police newspaper “The Crown authorities reject any suggestion that Mr. McGartland has been treated unreasonably. Individuals who have given valuable service to the country and who may be at threat as a result deserve – and receive – considerable support at public expense to ensure their safety”.[citation needed]

May’s department the Home Office oversees MI5 and she herself had signed the application in a court case brought by McGartland and his partner, both of whom are obliged to live under secret identities that were provided by MI5. McGartland additionally has a contract which was signed by MI5 after he was shot in England in which the representatives of the PSNI and Northumbria Police acknowledged his service in general terms. Because he is unable to claim State benefits due to security reasons MI5 had previously helped him financially; however this assistance was withdrawn after he gave an interview to the Belfast Telegraph. He commented, “Refusing to confirm or deny my role is simply a trick to avoid the State’s responsibilities toward someone who has risked his life for it.”[45]

In the same month, May made an application using the controversial “Closed Material Procedures” (CMPs) which are secret courts under the recent Justice and Security Act. If these were to be used in McGartland’s lawsuit against the government for negligence and breach of contract, they would ensure that the public, media, as well as McGartland and his lawyers, would be denied access to the hearings. Instead his case would be heard by a “Special Advocate”. By not being present with his lawyers at the closed court, he would not be privy to anything pertaining to his case that the court submitted. McGartland pointed out that the case had nothing to do with national security or his undercover work 24 years earlier. This move by May was described by some lawyers and Human Rights’ groups as “Kafkaesque”. May argued that were the government to confirm in one case that a person was an agent then refused to comment in another, that would give rise to the suspicion that the person worked as an agent thereby putting his life in danger, McGartland replied that May’s argument would be reasonable if “those particular horses had not bolted long ago

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Other high profile Republican informers

Denis Donaldson

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Denis Donaldson Sinn Fein Stormontgate press conference

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Denis Martin Donaldson (Short Strand, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1950 – 4 April 2006 in County Donegal, Republic of Ireland) was a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a member of Sinn Féin who was murdered following his exposure in December 2005 as an informer in the employ of MI5 and the Special Branch of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (formerly the Royal Ulster Constabulary). It was initially believed that the Provisional IRA were responsible for his killing although the Real IRA claimed responsibility for his murder almost three years later.

His friendship with the French writer and journalist Sorj Chalandon inspired two novels: My Traitor, published in 2008, and Return to Killybegs, published in 2011

Paramilitary and political career

Donaldson had a long history of involvement in Irish republicanism. He joined the Irish Republican Army in the mid-1960s while still in his teens, well before the start of the Troubles.[1] According to his former friend, Jim Gibney, writing in the Irish News, he was a local hero in Short Strand in 1970 because he took part in the gun battle between Ulster loyalists and Irish nationalists at St. Matthew’s Chapel (see Battle of Saint Matthew’s). He was a friend of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, and the two men served time together in Long Kesh for paramilitary offences in the 1970s. Donaldson has been accused, by an unnamed republican source, of being part of the IRA team that carried out the La Mon restaurant bombing in 1978, one of the most notorious bomb attacks of the Troubles.[2]

In 1981 he was arrested by French authorities at Orly airport, along with fellow IRA volunteer, William “Blue” Kelly. The duo were using false passports and Donaldson said that they were returning from a guerrilla training camp in Lebanon. At the 1983 general election, Donaldson was the Sinn Féin candidate in Belfast East.

In the late 1980s, he travelled to Lebanon again and held talks with both Lebanese Shia militias, Hezbollah and Amal, in an effort to secure the freedom of the Irish hostage Brian Keenan.

As the Sinn Féin leadership under Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness turned toward a “peace process” strategy, Donaldson was dispatched to New York City, where he helped establish Friends of Sinn Féin, an organisation that solicited mainstream political and financial support for the new strategy while attempting to isolate hard-line activists in Irish Northern Aid and other support organisations in the US. Martin Galvin, a Bronx-based Irish-American attorney and future “dissident republican“, later claimed that he had warned the republican movement’s leadership that he suspected Donaldson of being a British government informer.[3]

In the early 2000s, Donaldson was appointed Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland Assembly group administrator in Parliament Buildings. In October 2002, he was arrested in a raid on the Sinn Féin offices as part of a high-profile Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation into an alleged republican spy ring – the so-called Stormontgate affair. In December 2005, the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland dropped the espionage charges against Donaldson and two other men on the grounds that it would not be in the “public interest” to proceed with the case.

British agent

On 16 December 2005, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams announced to a press conference in Dublin that Donaldson had been a spy in the pay of British intelligence. This was confirmed by Donaldson in a statement which he read out on RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster, shortly afterwards.[4]

He stated that he was recruited after compromising himself during a vulnerable time in his life, but did not specify why he was vulnerable or why he would risk his life as a mole for British intelligence in an area such as West Belfast.[5]

Donaldson’s daughter Jane is married to Ciaran Kearney, who was arrested along with Donaldson in the Stormontgate affair. The couple had two young daughters at the time of the arrest. Kearney is a son of the civil rights and MacBride Principles campaigner, Oliver Kearney.[6]

On 19 March 2006, Hugh Jordan, a journalist for the Sunday World tracked him down to an isolated pre-Famine cottage near Glenties, County Donegal. The dwelling had not been modernised and so there was no running water or electricity.[7]

Death

Last picture at cottage in Donegal

 

On 4 April 2006, Donaldson was found shot dead inside his cottage, where he had been living for several months. The extended Donaldson family had used it as a holiday retreat for several years. Gardaí (ROI police) said they had been aware of his presence since January and they had warned him of a threat to his life. They had offered him protection, but he refused it, and exchanged phone numbers with him. The cottage was located in the townland of Classey, 8 km from the village of Glenties on the road to Doochary.

The last person he is believed to have spoken to is Tim Cranley, a census taker, who spoke to him in the cottage around 8:30pm on the previous day. His body was found by Gardaí about 5pm after a passer-by reported seeing a broken window and a smashed-in door. Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn, the local Garda commander, said that the cottage belonged to Donaldson’s “son-in-law Ciaran Kearney” and that members of his family had been visiting him in the days before his death.

A statement by Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain referred to his death as a “barbaric act”, while ROI Prime Minister Bertie Ahern condemned “the brutal murder” of Donaldson. Two shotgun cartridges were found at the threshold of the cottage and a post mortem revealed that he had died from a shotgun blast to the chest. ROI Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Michael McDowell initially said that Donaldson had been shot in the head.[8] His right hand was also badly damaged by gunshot.

The Provisional IRA issued a one-line statement saying that it had “no involvement whatsoever” with the murder. The murder was also condemned by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. The Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley blamed republicans for the killing, saying that “eyes will be turned towards IRA/Sinn Féin on this issue”. In May 2005, Minister McDowell advised a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland that he believed the outing of Donaldson as an informant was a clear message from the British Government that it had another, more valuable, source of information within the republican leadership.[9] On 8 April 2006 Donaldson was buried in Belfast City Cemetery, rather than at Milltown Cemetery, the more common burial place for republicans.

In February 2009, Gardaí announced they had a new lead in the inquiry into his death.[10] On 12 April 2009, the Real IRA claimed responsibility for his death.[11]

In April 2011, two arrests were made in County Donegal by the Garda Special Detective Unit in connection with the murder – a 69-year-old man and a 31-year-old man. They were subsequently released without charge. The Garda and PSNI murder investigation is ongoing.

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Raymond Gilmour

Raymond Gilmour (born 1959) is a former Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer who worked clandestinely from 1977 until 1982 for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) within those paramilitary organisations. His testimony was one of the main elements of the supergrass policy, which hoped to convict large numbers of paramilitaries.

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MI5 – Raymond Gilmour full interview and news story

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Early life

He was born in 1959 into a working class Catholic, nationalist family in Creggan, Derry to Patrick and Brigid Gilmour. He was the youngest of eleven siblings and grew up as The Troubles began in Derry City in the early 1970s. A cousin, Hugh Gilmour, was shot dead by the British Army on Bloody Sunday, a seminal event in the development of the “Troubles” and a traumatic event witnessed by the 12-year-old Gilmour himself.[1] His parents were reportedly split over the issue of political violence. He described his father as an “armchair supporter” of the IRA, while his mother was reportedly fiercely opposed to their actions.[citation needed]

Two of Gilmour’s brothers were kneecapped by the IRA for alleged anti-social behaviour.[2] He was also given a beating by British soldiers at age 13 for petty crime and they attempted to recruit him as an informer.[3] Gilmour left school without sitting for his O Level exams and drifted into crime. When he was 16, he was again in trouble with the authorities, this time for armed robbery. On remand in Crumlin Road Prison, he was severely beaten by IRA prisoners.[4] It was at this point that he apparently agreed to become an undercover agent for British security forces.

INLA member

Several months later, he joined the INLA. He chose the INLA over the IRA as a number of his friends were already in the organisation.[5] Gilmour participated in, among other activities, a botched car hijacking in which a friend, Colm McNutt, also an INLA member, was shot dead by an undercover soldier.[6] In 1978, after two years with the INLA as an RUC agent, he left on police instructions. He got married the same year and fathered the first of two children.

IRA career

After an interlude of several months, Gilmour was instructed by his RUC handler to join the IRA. He was offered £200 a week with bonuses for arrests and weapons finds.[7] The IRA vetted him for several weeks before accepting his application in late 1980. They attached him to an active service unit in the Brandywell area of Derry. Over the following two years, he was involved in many IRA operations, mostly as a getaway driver. Most of these operations were “shoots” or sniping attacks, but on only one occasion, in January 1981, did his activities result in the death of a British soldier, who was shot and killed at Castle Gate, near Derry’s city walls.[8] Gilmour claims that he helped to foil many other IRA attacks, saving the lives of numerous police and soldiers. In November 1981, he was arrested by the RUC, along with two other IRA members, on their way to carry out a shooting attack on riot police, who were combating disturbances arising out of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike. Gilmour was sent on remand to Crumlin Road Prison. After a riot that destroyed much of the republican wing there, he was transferred to the Maze Prison. His RUC handler then applied pressure on the authorities for his release, he was freed on 1 April 1982.[9]

Supergrass

He left the IRA and went into protective custody in August of that year, as he believed that his position in the IRA was about to be discovered after his information led to the capture of an M60 machine gun.[10] Around 100 IRA and INLA members were then arrested in Derry on his evidence, of whom 35 were charged with terrorist offences.[11]

In November, Gilmour’s father was abducted by the IRA. He was held in secret in an unknown location for almost a year.[12] Gilmour was then sent to Cyprus and then Newcastle by the RUC. The following year, Gilmour gave evidence in a special Diplock Court, jury-less trial against the 35 people he had incriminated. Under the “supergrass” scheme, his was the only evidence available against them.[13] On December 18, 1984, the presiding judge, Lord Lowry, ruled that Gilmour was not a credible witness. He said he was, “entirely unworthy of belief … a selfish and self-regarding man, to whose lips a lie comes more naturally than the truth”.[14]

Exile and plea to return home

Since then, Gilmour has been in hiding outside Northern Ireland. He states that of the IRA and INLA members he knew, almost half were dead or missing by the end of the conflict.[15] In 1998, he published a book, Dead Ground (ISBN 0-7515-2621-5), telling of his experiences.

In 2007, Gilmour publicly voiced his desire to return home to Derry, asking Martin McGuinness for assurances of his safety. He also revealed that he had a heart complaint and was an alcoholic. McGuinness said Gilmour must decide for himself whether or not it was safe to return to Derry and that he was not under threat from Sinn Féin, nor – he believes – from the IRA.[16] McGuinness stated that if de facto exiles such as Gilmour wanted to return home, it was a matter for their own judgment and their ability to make peace with the community.[16]

Gilmour’s former RUC handler advised him not to return, citing the 2006 murder in Glenties, County Donegal, of Denis Donaldson, a high-ranking Sinn Féin politician and activist who was revealed to have been a long-term informer.[17]

In April 2014, Gilmour’s second book What Price Truth was published; in the book Gilmour goes into greater detail about his life within the IRA and INLA.

 

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Sean O’Callaghan

Sean O’Callaghan (born 26 January 1954) is a former member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Between 1979 and 1988, he was also an informant for the Garda Síochána‘s Special Branch. In 1988, he resigned from the IRA and voluntarily surrendered to British prosecution. Following his release from jail, O’Callaghan published his memoirs, The Informer: The True Life Story of One Man’s War on Terrorism.

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IRA Informer Sean O’Callaghan

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Early life

O’Callaghan was born on 26 January 1954 into a republican family in Tralee, County Kerry. His paternal grandfather had taken the Anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War. O’Callaghan’s father, who had served in the IRA, had been interned during World War II at the Curragh Camp in County Kildare.[1]

By the late 1960s, the teenaged O’Callaghan had ceased practising the Catholic religion, regarding himself as an atheist and a Marxist. He sympathised with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. In 1969, violent attacks were perpetrated against civil rights organizers and many other Catholics by unionists. Believing that he would be helping to combat British imperialism, O’Callaghan volunteered for the newly founded Provisional IRA at the age of 16.

Soon afterwards, O’Callaghan was arrested by local Gardaí after he accidentally detonated a small amount of explosives, which caused damage to his parents’ house and those of his neighbours.[2] After demanding, and receiving, treatment as a political prisoner, O’Callaghan quietly served his sentence.

After becoming a full-time volunteer, O’Callaghan was involved in various IRA operations, including a May 1974 mortar attack on a British army base at Clogher, County Tyrone in which a female “Greenfinch” Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) soldier, Private Eva Martin, was killed. In his memoirs, O’Callaghan wrote that, although some individual UDR soldiers had had links to loyalist paramilitary gangs, he subsequently learned that Private Martin was not one of them. A secondary school teacher, she and her husband had both volunteered for the UDR. It was Martin’s husband who found her body on a shattered staircase inside the base.[3]

In August 1974, O’Callagan walked into a bar in Omagh, County Tyrone and fatally shot Detective Inspector Peter Flanagan of the RUC Special Branch. D.I. Flanagan, a Catholic, was regarded as a traitor by both the IRA and many local residents. Flanagan was also rumoured, falsely, to have used excessive force while interrogating IRA suspects.[4]

Becoming an informant

In 1976, aged 21, O’Callaghan resigned from the Provisional IRA, and moved to London. In May 1978, he married a Scottish woman of Protestant unionist descent.[5] For several years afterward, he ran a moderately successful mobile cleaning business.[6]

O’Callaghan later recalled, “In truth there seemed to be no escaping from Ireland. At the strangest of times I would find myself reliving the events of my years in the IRA. As the years went on, I came to believe that the Provisional IRA was the greatest enemy of democracy and decency in Ireland.”[7]

In 1979, O’Callaghan was the target of an overture by his former IRA colleagues, who wished him to rejoin the organisation.[8] In response, O’Callaghan decided to become an informer. In his memoirs, O’Callaghan described his reasons as follows, “I had been brought up to believe that you had to take responsibility for your own actions. If you did something wrong then you made amends. I came to believe that individuals taking responsibility for their own actions is the basis for civilization, Without that safety net we have nothing.”[9]

“The final straw,” was O’Callaghan’s disgust over the IRA’s fatal bombing attack on the yacht of Lord Mountbatten, which also killed Mountbatten’s 14-year-old grandchild and a 15-year-old “boat employee”.[10][11] After rejoining the IRA, O’Callaghan claims he heard allegations that the bombing was planned to obtain money from the Soviet military intelligence service (the GRU) and the East German Stasi.[12]

In 1979, O’Callaghan and his wife moved to Tralee, where he arranged a clandestine meeting with a local officer of the Garda Special Branch. In Tralee’s Roman Catholic cemetery, O’Callaghan expressed his intention to subvert the IRA from within. He insisted that he would only speak directly to his contact and would not be blackmailed into providing information, but would freely give whatever information was asked for. At this point O’Callaghan was still opposed to helping the British in a similar manner.[13]

Infiltration

A few weeks later, O’Callaghan made contact with Kerry IRA leader Martin Ferris and attended his first IRA meeting since 1975. Immediately afterwards, he telephoned his Garda contact and said, “We’re in.”[14]

According to O’Callaghan, “Over the next few months plans to carry out various armed robberies were put together by the local IRA. It was relatively easy for me to foil these attempts; an occasional Garda car or roadblock at the ‘wrong time’; the routine arrest of Ferris or myself; or simple ‘bad planning’, such as a car arriving late — a whole series of random stratagems.”[15]

Then, during the 1981 hunger strike in the Maze Prison, O’Callaghan attempted to start his own hunger strike in support of the Maze prisoners but was told to desist by the IRA for fear it would detract focus from the prisoners. O’Callaghan successfully sabotaged the efforts of republicans in Kerry from staging hunger strikes of their own.[16]

In 1984, O’Callaghan informed his Garda handler of an attempt to smuggle seven tons of AK-47 assault rifles from the United States. The shipment had been purchased from the Winter Hill Gang, an Irish-American crime family based in South Boston, Massachusetts. The actual planning of the shipment was carried out by Patrick Nee, a South Boston gangster and staunch IRA supporter. The security on the American end of the shipment was handled by Kevin Weeks and Whitey Bulger, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant.

Overseen by Bulger and Nee, the guns were loaded aboard the Valhalla, a fishing trawler from Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, O’Callaghan had already briefed his handlers on the shipment. As a result, the cargo was intercepted by a combined force of the Irish Navy and the Garda Síochána. The Valhalla’s crew was arrested by US Customs agents immediately after returning to Gloucester. One of the crewmembers, John MacIntyre, agreed to wear a wire on meeting Bulger, Weeks, and Nee. After learning of MacIntyre’s deal from FBI agent John Connolly, Bulger murdered him and buried him in a South Boston basement. Nee subsequently served a long sentence in the US Federal Prison system for his role in the shipment. In his 2006 memoir A Criminal and an Irishman, Nee compares O’Callaghan to Judas Iscariot.

O’Callaghan claimed to have been tasked in 1984 with placing 25lb of Frangex in the toilet of a theatre in London.[17] At the time Prince Charles and Princess Diana were due to attend a benefit concert featuring Duran Duran and Dire Straits among other performers.[18] A warning was phoned in and royal correspondent, James Whitaker noted later that the early departure of the Royal couple had seemed rude at the time. The theatre had been searched before the concert and a second search following the warning revealed no device.[17]

O’Callaghan escaped to Ireland despite being hunted by British police and in 1985 he was elected as a Sinn Féin councillor for Tralee Urban District Council, and unsuccessfully contested a seat on Kerry County Council.[citation needed] He claimed to have been in regular contact with its leaders, Gerry Adams (now TD for Louth) and Martin McGuinness (now deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland).

Imprisonment and release

On 29 November 1988, after having again resigned from the Provisional IRA, O’Callaghan walked into a police station in Tunbridge Wells, England. He confessed to the murders of Private Eva Martin and D.I. Peter Flanagan and voluntarily surrendered to British prosecution.[19] Although the RUC repeatedly offered him witness protection as part of the supergrass policy, O’Callaghan refused to accept. In his memoirs, he states that he intended to continue combating Sinn Féin and the IRA through the press after his release.

O’Callaghan served his sentence in prisons in Northern Ireland and England and foiled several planned escapes by imprisoned IRA members. While in jail he told his story to The Sunday Times. O’Callaghan was released as part of a Prerogative of Mercy by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. In 1999, he published an autobiography entitled The Informer: The True Life Story of One Man’s War On Terrorism.

Robbery victim

O’Callaghan appeared as a Crown Prosecution witness in August 2006 during the trial of Yousef Samhan, 26, of Northolt, London, after an incident in which O’Callaghan was bound to a chair by two young men whom he met in a gay bar in West London. The court heard that O’Callaghan was held at knifepoint while the two men ransacked the property that O’Callaghan had been staying in at Pope’s Lane, Ealing, London.

During the trial O’Callaghan stated that he had been looking after the property for a friend, the author Ruth Dudley Edwards, and he invited the two men back to the house for a drink after socialising with them in a nearby gay pub, West Five. O’Callaghan informed the court that had frequented the pub “only because it was the nearest” public house. He further outlined that when they arrived back at Dudley Edwards’ home, he was then knocked to the floor, tied with an electrical flex to a chair and then held at knifepoint while Samhan and another man proceeded to burgle the property.[20][20][21][22]

In his defence, Samhan claimed that O’Callaghan was a willing participant and had requested that he be tied up during a gay bondage session with the two men. Samhan was nevertheless found guilty of robbery on 6 September 2006.[22][23]

Present occupation

He now lives relatively openly in England, having refused to adopt a new identity, and works as a security consultant, occasional advisor to the Ulster Unionist Party,[24] and media pundit, usually whenever the IRA has made a major announcement.

In 1998, O’Callaghan declared, “I know that the organization led by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness would like to murder me. I know that that organization will go on murdering other people until they are finally defeated. It is my belief that in spite of IRA/Sinn Féin’s strategic cunning, and no matter how many people they kill, the people of the Irish Republic expect, because they have been told so by John Hume, that there will be peace. There may come a time when their patience runs out. If that were to happen there would be no place for IRA/Sinn Féin to hide. We must work tirelessly to bring that day forward.”[25]

Controversy

Many Irish republicans have strongly denied the allegations made by O’Callaghan in his book The Informer and subsequent newspaper articles. O’Callaghan stated that he had risen to leader of Southern Command and a substitute delegate on the IRA Army Council both in print and before a Dublin jury under oath. However, these claims have been disputed by Sinn Féin. A 1997 article in An Phoblacht alleges that O’Callaghan “…has been forced to overstate his former importance in the IRA and to make increasingly outlandish accusations against individual republicans.”[26]

O’Callaghan’s claimed to have attended an IRA finance meeting alongside Pat Finucane and Gerry Adams in Letterkenny in 1980.[27][28] However, both Finucane and Adams repeatedly denied being IRA members.[29] In Finucane’s case, both the RUC and the Stevens Report have said that he was not a member

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Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is a British agent from Newry, Northern Ireland, who allegedly spied on the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) for MI5. He is believed to be in London, where he is suing the Crown, claiming his British military handlers cut off their connections and financial aid to him. In 2004 he reportedly sued the Andersonstown News, an Irish republican news outlet in Belfast, for revealing his identity as well as publishing his photograph. The result of that suit has not been made public.

Background

Fulton’s real name is purportedly Peter Keeley, a Catholic from Newry, who joined the Royal Irish Rangers at the age of 18. He was selected and trained by the Intelligence Corps and returned to civilian life to infiltrate the IRA. He reportedly gave evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal, in which he reasserted his claim that Garda Owen Corrigan was a double agent for the IRA.[1]

Undercover activity

In Unsung Hero, “Fulton” claims he worked undercover as a British Army agent within the IRA. He was believed to have operated predominantly inside the IRA South Down Brigade, as well as concentrating on the heavy IRA activity in South Armagh.[2] “Fulton” and four members of his IRA unit in Newry reportedly pioneered the use of “flash guns” to detonate bombs.[3]

In one incident, “Fulton” was questioned on responsibility for designing firing mechanisms used in a horizontal mortar attack on a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) armoured patrol car on Merchants Quay, Newry, County Down, on 27 March 1992. Colleen McMurray, a constable (aged 34) died and another constable was seriously injured.[4] “Fulton” claims he tipped off his MI5 handler that an attack was likely.[3]

Arrest

On 5 November 2006, he was released without charge after being arrested in London, and transferred to Belfast to be questioned about his knowledge or involvement in the deaths of Irish People’s Liberation Organisation member Eoin Morley (aged 23), Royal Ulster Constabulary officer Colleen McMurray (34), and Ranger Cyril Smith (aged 21). “I personally did not kill people”, he stated. His lawyers have asked the British Ministry of Defence to provide him and his family with new identities, relocation and immediate implementation of the complete financial package, including his army pension and other discharge benefits, which he had been reportedly promised by the MoD for his covert tour of duty. His ex-wife, Margaret Keeley, filed a lawsuit in early 2014 for full access to documents relating to her ex-husband. She claims to have been wrongfully arrested and falsely imprisoned during a three-day period in 1994 following a purported attempt by the IRA to assassinate a senior detective in East Belfast.[5][6]

Legal cases

On 26 November 2013, it was reported that The Irish News had won a legal battle after a judge ruled against Keeley’s lawsuit against the newspaper for breach of privacy and copyright, by publishing his photograph, which thereby also, he argued, endangered his life. Belfast District Judge Isobel Brownlie stated at least twice that she was not impressed with Keeley’s evidence and described him as “disingenuous”. Under British law, Keeley will also be billed for the newspaper’s legal costs.[7]

On 31 January 2014, the Belfast High Court ruled that “Fulton” had to pay damages to Eilish Morley, the mother of IPLO member Eoin Morley, shot dead at age 23 by the Provisional IRA (PIRA).[8] The order was issued based upon his failure to appear in court. The scale of the pay-out for which he is liable is to be assessed at a later stage

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 Freddie Scappaticci

See Is time running out for Freddie Scappaticci

Freddie Scappaticci (born c. 1946)[1] is a purported former high-level double agent in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), known by the codename Stakeknife.

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Freddie Scapatticci British Agent License to Kill

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Early life

Scappaticci was born around 1946 and grew up in the Markets area of Belfast, the son of Daniel Scappaticci, an Italian immigrant to the city in the 1920s. In 1962 at the age of 16 he was encouraged to sign for the football club Nottingham Forest although his father is said to have resisted the idea. He took up work as a bricklayer.[2]

He was fined for riotous assembly in 1970 after being caught up in “the Troubles” and, one year later, was interned without trial at the age of 25 as part of Operation Demetrius.[2] Among those interned with him were figures later to become prominent in the republican movement, such as Ivor Bell, Gerry Adams, and Alex Maskey. He was released from detention in 1974 and was by this time a member of the Provisional IRA.[3]

IRA career

By 1980, Scappaticci was a lead member in the Internal Security Unit (ISU) for the IRA Northern Command.[4] The ISU was a unit tasked with counter-intelligence and the investigation of leaks within the IRA along with the exposure of moles/informers (also known as “touts“). Via the ISU, Scappaticci played a key role in investigating suspected informers, conducting inquiries into operations suspected of being compromised, debriefing of IRA volunteers released from Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Army questioning, and vetting of potential IRA recruits. The ISU has also been referred to as the “Nutting Squad”. Various killings as a result of ISU activities have been attributed to Scappaticci.[5]

After the original allegations broke in 2003, Scappaticci, by now living in the Riverdale area of West Belfast, claimed his involvement with the IRA ended in 1990 due to his wife’s illness. He denied that he had ever been linked to any facet of the British intelligence services, including the Force Research Unit.[6]

Involvement with British Intelligence

Scappaticci’s first involvement with British Intelligence is alleged to have been in 1978, two years before the Force Research Unit (FRU) was formed in 1980. He is said to have worked as an agent for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Special Branch. The role of the FRU was to centralise Army Intelligence under the Intelligence Corps.

The former FRU agent turned whistleblower using the pseudonym “Martin Ingram” has said in his 2004 book Stakeknife that Scappaticci eventually developed into an agent handled by British Army Intelligence via the FRU. Ingram says that Scapaticci’s activities as a high grade intelligence source came to his attention in 1982 after Scappaticci was detained for a drunk driving offence. In 2003, Scappaticci was alleged to have volunteered as an informer in 1978 after being assaulted in an argument with a fellow IRA member.[7] Ingram paints Scappaticci at this time as “the crown jewels”, (the best) agent handled by the FRU. He cites a number of allegations against Scappaticci. His accusations centre on various individuals who died as a result of the activities of the ISU between 1980 and 1990. Ingram also alleges that Scappaticci disclosed information to British intelligence on IRA operations during the time period, involving:

  • IRA members involved in the kidnapping of wealthy Irish supermarket magnate Ben Dunne in 1981. Ingram alleges that Scappaticci was influential in identifying his kidnappers to the authorities.
  • the attempted kidnapping of Galen Weston, a Canadian born business tycoon in 1983. Weston kept a manor outside Dublin where the kidnapping was to take place.
  • the kidnapping of supermarket boss Don Tidey from his home in Rathfarnham in Dublin. Ingram alleges that Scappaticci tipped off the FRU on the details of the kidnapping which eventually resulted in the killings of a trainee Garda Síochána (Gary Sheehan) and an Irish Army soldier (Private Patrick Kelly).

Aside from providing intelligence to the FRU, Scappaticci is alleged to have worked closely with his FRU handlers throughout the 1980s and 1990s to protect and promote his position within the IRA. The controversy that has arisen centres on the allegation by Ingram that Scappaticci’s role as an informer was protected by the FRU through the deaths of those who might have been in a position to expose him as a British agent.[8]

Involvement with the Cook Report

In 1993 Scappaticci approached the ITV programme The Cook Report and agreed to an interview on his activities in the IRA and the alleged role of Martin McGuinness in the organisation. The first interview took place on 26 August 1993 in the car park of the Culloden Hotel in Cultra, County Down. This interview was, unknown to Scappaticci, recorded and eventually found its way into an edition of the programme. The interview was posted on the World Wide Web as the 2003 allegations against Scappaticci surfaced.

Scappaticci appears to give intimate details of the modus operandi of the IRA’s Northern Command, indicated some of his previous involvement in the organisation and alleges, amongst other things, that Martin McGuinness was involved in the death of Frank Hegarty – an IRA volunteer who had been killed as an informer by the IRA in 1986. It has since been alleged that Scappaticci knew the intimate details of Hegarty’s killing because, as part of his duties in the ISU, he had reportedly been involved in the interrogation and execution of Hegarty regarding a large Libyan arms cache, which the Gardaí found. Ingram stated that Hegarty was a FRU agent whom other FRU members had encouraged to rise through the organisation and gain the confidence of key IRA members. His allegations indicate that, to the handlers of the FRU, it was more important to keep Stakeknife in place rather than save the life of Hegarty.[9]

Involvement with the Stevens Report

Things deteriorated for Scappaticci when Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan police commissioner who has been probing RUC and British Army collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in the killing of Protestant student, Brian Adam Lambert in 1987 and the killing of solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989, revealed that he knew of his existence. In April 2004, Stevens signalled that he intended to question Scappaticci as part of the third Stevens inquiry.

A report in a February 2007 edition of the Belfast News Letter reported that a cassette recording allegedly of Scappaticci talking about the number of murders he was involved in via the “Nutting Squad”, as well as his work as an Army agent, had been lodged with the PSNI in 2004 and subsequently passed to the Stevens Inquiry in 2005.[10] It is unclear whether this audio is a recording made via the Cook Report investigation. There were several inconsistencies with the various media reports alleging that Scappaticci was Stakeknife. The Provisional IRA reportedly assured Scappaticci of their belief in his denials, and has issued public statements suggesting that the announcement of the former as a “tout” was a stunt by the British government to undermine Sinn Féin and the Republican movement.[11]

Personal Life

He enjoys occasional games of backgammon and eating tiramisu

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Come back  soon for  a feature on loyalist Supergrasses

See Is time running out for Freddie Scappaticci

See Brian Nelson

Brian_Nelson_Loyalist

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Brian Nelson – Loyalist Informer

Brian Nelson (30 September 1947 – 11 April 2003) was an Ulster loyalist during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. He was simultaneously an informant for the British Army‘s Intelligence Corps and the intelligence chief of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a terrorist organisation.

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The views and opinions expressed in this documentary/ies and page are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

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Early life

shankill road

Nelson, a Protestant from the Shankill Road, Belfast, served with the Black Watch regiment before joining the Ulster Defence Association in the early 1970s, where he was a low-level informant for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

In 1974 he was jailed for seven years for the kidnap and torture of a Catholic man, Gerald Higgins, who died several weeks later from his injuries. Nelson served three years. After his release, Nelson resigned from the UDA and left for a construction job in West Germany. In 1985, however, the Intelligence Corps asked Nelson to rejoin and infiltrate the UDA. He rose to become the UDA’s senior intelligence officer while receiving assistance from his handlers. In one instance, IC operatives allegedly organised, streamlined and returned to Nelson a suitcase full of disorganised UDA intelligence.

Stevens Inquiry

In the early 1990s, following the shooting death of Loughlin Maginn, John Stevens was named to investigate allegations of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Stevens was able to use advanced fingerprint technology, then unavailable to the RUC. The Inquiry team uncovered Nelson’s fingerprints on some security force documents. The team began an investigation that, despite the obstructions encountered, would lead to Nelson’s arrest.

When the Stevens Inquiry Team arrested and interrogated Nelson, he claimed that he had been acting on behalf on the British government. Stevens spoke to John Deverell, head of MI5 in Belfast, who confirmed that Nelson had worked for Army Intelligence and not the RUC. Sharp disagreements developed between the two security branches as the extent of Nelson’s illegal activities within the Force Research Unit (FRU) was uncovered.

Over a period of two months, Nelson dictated a police statement covering 650 pages. He claimed that he had been tasked by the British Army to make the UDA a more effective killing machine. Using information that should have been confidential to his handlers he produced dossiers or “Intelligence Packages” including backgrounds, addresses, photos and movements on proposed targets, which were passed on to UDA assassins.[6]

Blue card index system

Nelson had a blue card index system whereby he would pick out information on individuals from the mass of information reaching him. The selection of names for the index was Nelson’s alone and Stevens concluded that Nelson was actually choosing the people who were going to be shot. Nelson passed on the names of only ten people to his FRU handlers, claiming he could not remember the others.

Those ten were never targeted. Four others, including solicitor Pat Finucane, were all shot dead. In Stevens’ words “the FRU had been inexcusably careless in failing to protect the four who lost their lives”. Nelson handed out his blue cards, between twenty and fifty at a time, to members of the Ulster Volunteer Force. The FRU had no agents within the UVF and these targeted people were consequently unprotected. Many loyalists never bothered to destroy their blue cards, however, and the Stevens team was able to obtain fingerprint evidence.

Brian Nelson represented as a silhouette holding a placard in a Belfast mural (February 2006).

Trial

At his trial in 1992,  the prosecution alleged that he failed to alert his handlers to all the assassination plans of which he was aware.  Gordon Kerr (“Colonel J”), a senior officer, who was later investigated himself, testified on Nelson’s behalf.

Kerr claimed that Nelson had warned the Intelligence Corps of more than 200 murder plots by loyalist death squads, including one which targeted Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Kerr claimed that Nelson’s warnings allowed the British Army to prevent all murders but three.

Nelson claimed that, in 1989, he had warned his handlers of UDA plans to murder solicitor Pat Finucane, who had been successfully representing IRA suspects in court. According to Nelson, Finucane was given no warning and was fatally shot in front of his wife and children.

Eventually Nelson pled guilty to 20 charges, including five of conspiracy to murder and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. A number of charges, including two counts of first degree murder, were dropped as part of his plea bargain.

Further allegations

Following Nelson’s conviction, the BBC Panorama programme Dirty War, broadcast on 8 June 1992, made new claims about Nelson’s involvement in further murders and conspiracies. One allegation was that, following a tip off from Nelson, the Intelligence Corps kept secret a plot to murder Paddy McGrory, a solicitor representing the families of the Gibraltar Three.

In January 1993, Gerry Adams claimed the British government was fully aware of Nelson’s involvement in Ulster Resistance‘s January 1988 importation of weapons from South Africa including 200 AK47 rifles; 90 Browning pistols; 500 fragmentation grenades and 12 RPG 7 rocket launchers. This, together with the reliance by loyalists on leaked, although often outdated, military and police intelligence files on potential targets, meant that by 1992 loyalists were killing more than the republicans, a situation not seen since 1975.

Jimmy Smyth extradition case

Sir Patrick Mayhew, Northern Ireland Secretary, declared the Nelson affair was dead and buried. However, in May 1993, a San Francisco, California judge, in the extradition case of a Maze prisoner escapee, James Joseph “Jimmy” Smyth, who had used the alias “Jimmy Lynch”, demanded disclosure in court of suppressed reports, including documents on Nelson, or risk having the case dismissed.

The papers were not produced, but Smyth was eventually extradited back to Northern Ireland and to jail on 17 August 1996.

Francisco Notarantonio

Frederico Scappatici

Nelson was accused of setting up the killing of an Irish republican, Francisco Notarantonio, to divert the UDA from targeting Frederico Scappatici, an alleged IRA informer. Loyalist Sam McCrory shot Notarantonio, aged 66, who had been interned in 1971.  but had not been active for many years, dead at his home in Ballymurphy, West Belfast on 9 October 1987.

 

Death

Nelson died, reportedly from a brain haemorrhage, on 11 April 2003, aged 55, after suffering a heart attack a fortnight before his death. Although news reports described Nelson as living in a secret location in England, it was not disclosed whether he had been granted witness protection as part of the supergrass policy.

See Martin McGartland and Republican Informers

See Freddie Scappaticci

See Raymond Gilmour

“Stakeknife” – Is time running out for Freddie Scappaticci ?

Will the IRA’s ‘double-agent assassin’ face justice at last?

TO the IRA, he was one of their trusted, cold-blooded killers — yet to the British military, “Stakeknife” was their top informant.

  “Stakeknife

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Freddie Scappaticci Stakeknife Secret Recordings.

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See Martin McGartland and Republican Informers

See Brian Nelson

The Nutting Squad

Freddie Scapatticci British Agent License to Kill

That was the codename given to Alfredo “Freddie” Scappaticci by his spy handlers at the top secret Force Research Unit (FRU).

As chief of the IRA’s Nutting Squad, who shot victims through the head, he is thought to have killed at least 40 people over 25 years.

Yet at the same time Stakeknife — who always taped his victims screaming for mercy as he tortured them — was pocketing £80,000 a year from the Brits for information that led to the deaths and imprisonment of dozens of IRA members.

Families of some of his victims claim Stakeknife was allowed to get away with murder because he was the “jewel in the crown” of informants.

Britain has always said it did not deal with the IRA during the Troubles, but a new probe could blow that assertion out of the water

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Gen. John Wilsey confirms: Stakeknife is Freddie Scappaticci

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This week Northern Ireland’s director of public prosecutions, Barra McGrory, ordered an inquiry into Stakeknife. He announced he had asked PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton to look into the case.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton

It comes as three investigations into alleged police and Army collusion in around 24 murders have been collectively examined by Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman.

A major Stakeknife investigation promises justice at last for the relatives of his victims, who will finally hear just how much he and British military intelligence were involved in Northern Ireland’s “dirty war”.

Shauna Moreland,

People like Shauna Moreland, 31, whose mother Caroline was tortured then executed by Stakeknife and his Nutting Squad in 1994, two months before the IRA ceasefire.

The bloodied body of the 34-year-old mother of three was found dumped on wasteland in Co Fermanagh. She had been held and tortured for 15 days for telling police about the location of a single rifle.

In one of Stakeknife’s sick recordings, released after her death, Caroline is heard pleading for her life.

Victim ... Caroline Moreland
Victim … Caroline Moreland

Remembering the last day she saw her mother, Shauna recalls: “It was just a normal day. She was in the kitchen ironing. She was going off for the day on a bus run somewhere.

“I was going over to my granny’s. It was just the normal getting stuff together, giving her a kiss and a hug and saying ‘I love you, goodbye’.”

She adds: “I was ten at the time she was killed. She was missing for 15 days and I don’t have memories of all that time, it was a hard time.

“She is on my mind always, it is every day. And I have a memory of the day I found out she was dead.”

Shauna believes her mother, like many of Stakeknife’s victims, was “sacrificed” by the British military to protect their agent.

When Stakeknife, now 68, was finally unmasked in 2003, he was allowed to flee Northern Ireland to a safe house abroad amid allegations that the British secret services were protecting him.

Martin Ingram, the former FRU member who first outed Stakeknife, said the double agent was allowed to kill because he was too valuable an agent to British military intelligence.

It is alleged that even when they had prior knowledge of his actions they did not stop him. And his victims are said to have included other military intelligence agents.

Martin says: “He was an agent who killed his own people. Simple as that.”

Shortly after he was outed as Stakeknife, Scappaticci — or “Scap” to his IRA pals — undertook a High Court action in the UK asking the British Government to publicly deny he was an agent. They refused, saying to do so would put other agents in danger.

They have consistently refused to comment on Stakeknife but it was revealed in court documents during another case that Scappaticci was being given security by the British Government at that time.

Since then there have been constant calls for Stakeknife to be prosecuted for the crimes he allegedly committed.

Shauna Moreland says: “Someone, somewhere is sitting in an office and deciding what I can and cannot know about my mother’s murder. That’s hard, really hard.” Earlier this year she confronted former IRA commander and Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, demanding something was done about Stakeknife.

Shauna said McGuinness assured her he was “looking into it” but she has heard nothing since.

Though pleased with this week’s announcement that Stakeknife WILL finally be investigated, she adds: “Justice is going to take a while, it’s not going to happen overnight.

“But I am hopeful we will get there in some way. There will be some sort of closure to this, I have to believe that . . . My hope is that one day the public might be told exactly what happened and wh

Why someone turned a blind eye, despite knowing the identity of those involved in her mother’s murder, before and after it took place.

Martin Ingram

Talking about why he unmasked Stakeknife, Martin Ingram says: “Certain activities of the FRU sickened me.I believe genuine secrets deserve to be protected, acquiescence in murder does not.”

Martin had not handled Stakeknife but was aware of his existence and what the FRU was doing with him.

He outed him to a journalist in 2000 after picking up Killing Range, a book by IRA member Eamon Collins in which Stakeknife was said to have joked about the killing of an informer. It horrified Martin because he knew Stakeknife had been the FRU’s top grass.

When he tried to whistleblow in the Press he was prosecuted by the British Government, his house burgled and important documents stolen. It was three years later that Stakeknife’s identity was finally revealed in the newspapers.

When Stakeknife was outed Scappaticci was, according to sources, ordered by the IRA to “go on the attack and brazen it out”.

He spoke to reporters on his doorstep. He pointed to the brickdust stains on his shorts and said, matter-of-factly: “Listen, I’ve been building blocks all day. Does it look like I’ve been getting £80,000 a year?”

He also said he was suffering “depression and stress” as a result of the allegations, and told Irish paper the Sunday Business Post: “My life’s been turned upside down.

“I’m not a religious person but I’ve been in touch with the priests. It’s for spiritual help.”

Scappaticci later said: “According to the Press I am guilty of 40 murders. But I am telling you this now, after this has settled I want to meet the families of the people that they said I murdered.

“And when I do I will stand in front of them and say, ‘I didn’t do it. I had no part in it’. And I will look them straight in the eye when I do it.”

But within weeks he had gone into hiding. His whereabouts remain unknown. Among those who would like to look him in the eye is the brother of Robin Hill, who was executed by the Nutting Squad in 1992.

Robin was kidnapped and held for a week before he was shot dead and dumped in a back alley in the Beechmount area of West Belfast.

Speaking of Stakeknife, Randolph Hill, 54, said, yesterday: “If I knew where he was, I would call at his door. It is good that the police are looking into all of this but there is a lot to get through to get to the bottom of it.

“The only thing that would satisfy me is an international investigation, an outside police force, outside the UK or Ireland, looking at it.”

Original story by The Sun

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Freddie “Stakeknife” Scappaticci

Bomb plot foiled, but at what cost?

SHORT, stocky and swarthy, Freddie “Stakeknife” Scappaticci is an unlikely looking secret agent.

His Italian grandfather was an ice-cream seller who migrated to Ireland in the 1920s and Freddie grew up in a small, red-bricked terraced house in West Belfast.

In his youth he was a talented footballer who tried out for Nottingham Forest.

A builder by trade, Freddie joined the IRA in 1970 and was interned twice — once with current Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

A committed republican, he quickly rose through the ranks to become chief of the Nutting Squad, but after falling out with a fellow IRA man he was given a brutal punishment beating.

He approached British military intelligence in around 1976 and was handed over to the FRU, which gave him his codename.

Such was the quality of Stakeknife’s information that soon a whole department, known as the Rat Hole, was set up to handle him. One of his biggest “successes” as far as the FRU was concerned was the “Death on the Rock” SAS ambush of three IRA members, believed to be planning a bomb attack in Gibraltar in 1988.

Stakeknife’s tip led to the three, who included a woman, being killed before they could carry out the murderous plot.

Such coups are said to be why even when Stakeknife warned the FRU he had been asked to target a suspect informer — even requesting the person be moved to the UK — the killing was allowed to go ahead.

Some of the victims are said to have included people the FRU knew were British agents, sometimes working for the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The FRU is said to have gone to extreme lengths to protect its “golden egg”.

In one case it is said to have set up an innocent 66-year old pensioner to be assassinated instead of Stakeknife.

Having got wind of a plot by the Ulster Freedom Fighters to assassinate the top agent it handed over a fake dossier suggesting the target was actually another Italian — retired taxi driver Francisco Notorantonio, who died in a hail of bullets.

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Additional Information

Stakeknife[1] is the code name of a spy who infiltrated the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) at a high level, while working for the top secret Force Research Unit (FRU) of the British Army. Reports claim that Stakeknife worked for British intelligence for 25 years.[2]

Stakeknife had his own dedicated handlers and agents and it was suggested that he was important enough that MI5 set up an office dedicated solely to him. Rumours suggested that he was being paid at least £80,000 a year and had a bank account in Gibraltar.[3]

Serious allegations have emerged to the effect that the British government allowed up to forty people to be killed via the IRA’s Internal Security Unit or “Nutting Squad” to protect his cover.[4] In 1987 Sam McCrory, an Ulster Defence Association/”Ulster Freedom Fighters” member, killed the 66-year-old Francisco Notarantonio at his home in Ballymurphy in West Belfast.[5] The UDA/UFF had discovered that a senior IRA member was working for the FRU.[clarification needed] It has been alleged that FRU agent Brian Nelson gave Notarantonio’s name to the UDA/UFF to protect the identity of the real spy.

On 11 May 2003, several newspapers named Freddie Scappaticci as Stakeknife. Scappaticci denied the claims and launched an unsuccessful legal action to have the British government state he was not their agent.[6] He later left Northern Ireland and was rumoured to be living in Cassino, Italy. There were also reported sightings in Tenerife.[7]

A report in a February 2007 edition of the Belfast News Letter reported that a cassette recording allegedly of Scappaticci talking about the number of murders he was involved in via the “Nutting Squad”, as well as his work as an Army agent, had been lodged with the PSNI in 2004 and subsequently passed to the Stevens Inquiry in 2005.[8]

The former British Intelligence agent who worked in the FRU known as “Martin Ingram” has written a book titled Stakeknife since the original allegations came to light in which it says Scappaticci was the agent in question.

In October 2015 is was announced that Scappaticci was to be investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland over at least 24 murders.[9]

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Force Research Unit

Republican mural explaining collusion between Force Research Unit operatives and the Ulster Defence Regiment

The Force Research Unit or Field Reconnaissance Unit (FRU)[1] was a covert military intelligence unit of the British Army that was active during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was established in the early 1980s by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and was a successor to similar units such as the MRF and SRU. The FRU was part of the British Army’s Intelligence Corps and was based at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn. From 1987 to 1991, it was commanded by Gordon Kerr.

The FRU used double agents to infiltrate Irish republican and Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups.[2] Its existence was revealed in the 1990s by the Stevens Inquiries. The inquiries found that—in its efforts to defeat the Provisional IRA—the FRU used these agents to help loyalists to kill people, including civilians. This has been confirmed by some former members of the unit.[3] The unit also mounted undercover surveillance operations.

Training

Because this unit was an Intelligence Corps-sponsored unit, all FRU personnel were trained at a “Top Secret” intelligence facility in Templer Barracks, Ashford, known as the Specialised Intelligence Wing (SIW)[citation needed] (often wrongly called the Special Intelligence Wing[citation needed]). The Specialised Intelligence Wing was part of the School of Service Intelligence within Templer Barracks and was commanded by an Intelligence Corps Lieutenant-Colonel. The Senior Instructor was always an Intelligence Corps officer but Directing Staff (DS) were drawn from a variety of British Army units, including Special Forces. The unit was simply referred to as “The Manor” by soldiers because the unit was based in Repton Manor, a grade 2 listed building. Repton Manor also contained the Photographic Section run by Royal Air Force personnel. There were additional pre-fabricated buildings at the rear of the manor house used by SIW’s L Branch who had the responsibility of re-settling and protecting former high-value Irish informers and agents throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. Much FRU training took place nearby at the Cinque Ports Ranges in Hythe and Lydd (Northern Ireland Training and Advisory Team) and at Overhill Camp, Cheriton, Folkestone (an Intelligence Corps sub-unit). The barn and stables behind Repton Manor were used to keep surveillance-adapted cars and vans which were used by soldiers for surveillance tasks.[citation needed]

Collusion with loyalist paramilitaries

A mural of the UDA/UFF

In the mid 1980s, the FRU recruited Brian Nelson as a double agent inside the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The UDA was a legal Ulster loyalist paramilitary group that had been involved in hundreds of attacks on Catholic and nationalist civilians, as well as a handful on republican paramilitaries. The FRU helped Nelson become the UDA’s chief intelligence officer.[4] In 1988, weapons were shipped to loyalists from South Africa under Nelson’s supervision.[4] Through Nelson, the FRU helped the UDA to target people for assassination. FRU commanders say their plan was to make the UDA “more professional” by helping it to kill republican activists and prevent it from killing uninvolved Catholic civilians.[2] They say if someone was under threat, agents like Nelson were to inform the FRU, who were then to alert the police.[2] Gordon Kerr, who ran the FRU from 1987 to 1991, claimed Nelson and the FRU saved over 200 lives in this way.[2][5] However, the Stevens Inquiries found evidence that only two lives were saved and said many loyalist attacks could have been prevented but were allowed to go ahead.[5] The Stevens team believes that Nelson was responsible for at least 30 murders and many other attacks, and that many of the victims were uninvolved civilians.[5] One of the most prominent victims was solicitor Pat Finucane. Although Nelson was imprisoned in 1992, FRU intelligence continued to help the UDA and other loyalist groups.[6][7] From 1992 to 1994, loyalists were responsible for more deaths than republicans for the first time since the 1960s.[8]

Allegations exist that the FRU sought restriction orders in advance of a number of loyalist paramilitary attacks in order to facilitate easy access to and escape from their target. A restriction order is a de-confliction agreement to restrict patrolling or surveillance in an area over a specified period. This de-confliction activity was carried out at a weekly Tasking and Co-ordination Group which included representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, MI5 and the British Army. It is claimed the FRU asked for restriction orders to be placed on areas where they knew loyalist paramilitaries were going to attack.[9]

Alleged infiltration of republican paramilitary groups

FRU are also alleged to have handled agents within republican paramilitary groups. A number of agents are suspected to have been handled by the FRU including IRA units who planted bombs and assassinated.[citation needed] Attacks are said to have taken place involving FRU-controlled agents highly placed within the IRA. The main agent to have been uncovered so far was codenamed “Stakeknife“. There is a debate as to whether this agent is IRA member Freddie Scappaticci or another, as yet unidentified, IRA member.[10]

“Stakeknife” is thought to have been a member of the IRA’s Internal Security Unit – a unit responsible for counter-intelligence, interrogation and court martial of informers within the IRA. It is believed that “Stakeknife” was used by the FRU to influence the outcome of investigations conducted by the IRA’s Internal Security Unit into the activities of IRA volunteers.

It is alleged that in 1997 the UDA came into possession of details relating to the identity of the FRU-controlled IRA volunteer codenamed “Stakeknife”. It is further alleged that the UDA, unaware of this IRA volunteer’s value to the FRU, planned to assassinate him. It is alleged that after the FRU discovered “Stakeknife” was in danger from UDA assassination they used Brian Nelson to persuade the UDA to assassinate Francisco Notarantonio instead, a Belfast pensioner who had been interned as an Irish republican in the 1940s.[11] The killing of Notarantonio was claimed by the UFF at the time.[12] Following the killing of Notarantonio, unaware of the involvement of the FRU, the IRA assassinated two UDA leaders in reprisal attacks. It has been alleged that the FRU secretly passed details of the two UDA leaders to the IRA via “Stakeknife” in an effort to distract attention from “Stakeknife” as a possible informer

See Martin McGartland and Republican Informers

See Brian Nelson

See Raymond Gilmour

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The Dirty War

Click to buy this book

1969 was a year of rising tension, violence and change for the people of Northern Ireland. Rioting in Derry’s Bogside led to the deployment of British troops and a shortlived, uneasy truce. The British army soon found itself engaged in an undercover war against the Provisional IRA, which was to last for more than twenty years.

In this enthralling and controversial book, Martin Dillon, author of the bestselling The Shankill Butchers, examines the roles played by the Provisional IRA, the State forces, the Irish Government and the British Army during this troubled period. He unravels the mystery of war in which informers, agents and double agents operate, revealing disturbing facts about the way in which the terrorists and the Intelligence Agencies target, undermine and penetrate each other’s ranks.

The Dirty War is investigative reporting at its very best, containing startling disclosures and throwing new light on previously inexplicable events.

 

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26th September – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

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Click to buy this book

                   Making Sense of the Troubles

by David McKittrick and David McVea’s

is a comprehensive history of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Now completely revised and updated this is widely regarded as one of the most ‘comprehensive books on the Troubles

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Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

26th    September

Saturday 26 September 1970

There was serious trouble in Belfast when groups of Protestant youths attacked the Catholic Unity Flats. Rioting continued in the Protestant Shankill Road area for four nights.

Sunday 26 September 1971

David Bleakley resigned as Minister of Community Relations in protest over the introduction of Internment and the lack of any new political initiatives by the Northern Ireland government.

Monday 27 September 1971

There was a series of tripartite talks, over two days, involving the prime ministers of Northern Ireland, Britain, and the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, which took place at Chequers, England.

Saturday 26 September 1981

liam mccluskey 2
Liam McCloskey

Liam McCloskey, then on day 55 of his hunger strike, ended his fast. McCloskey’s family had said that they would call for medical intervention to save his life if he became unconscious.

Monday 26 September 1983

Patrick Gilmour, the father of ‘supergrass’ informer Raymond Gilmour, was released by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) having been held for 10 months.

A group of representatives from the New Ireland Forum paid a visit to Derry during which there were attacked by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) demonstrators. James Prior, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, established an inquiry into the Maze escape (on 25 September 1983) under the direction of James Hennessy.

[The report of the inquiry was published on 26 January 1984. See also: 11 October 1983.]

(??) September 1983

The Director of Public Prosecutions ordered four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers to stand trial for murder in the ‘shoot-to-kill’ investigation.

Wednesday 26 September 1990

Peter Brooke, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated that he might produce his own proposals for the future of Northern Ireland.

Saturday 26 September 1992

In a radio interview John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), declared that Northern Ireland was “not a natural entity and therefore you cannot have a normal democracy”. In addition he went on to describe the SDLP’s proposal, already outlined at the political talks, for the governance of Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 26 September 1995

John Major, then British Prime Minister, held a meeting with John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), in London. Major also had a separate meeting with Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Friday 26 September 1997

Following a request by the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, approved the transfer of Jason Campbell from a Scottish prison to the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.

The decision drew criticism from Unionists and Nationalists.

[Campbell was serving a sentence for the murder of a Celtic football supporter in Glasgow in October 1995. The killing was purely sectarian in nature and the man had been attacked because he was wearing the colours of the Celtic team. Later it was revealed that Campbell had no close family connections in Northern Ireland. The PUP later withdrew its request for Campbell’s transfer.]

Mowlam held a meeting with Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but failed in her effort to persuade Paisley to join the multi-party talks. A memorial to the 33 people who were killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974 was unveiled in Talbot Street in Dublin. Five Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners who were serving sentences in Portlaoise Prison in the Republic of Ireland were granted early release.

Sunday 26 September 1999

Ken Maginnis, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP, said the meeting of UUP Assembly members in Glasgow at the weekend was not an attempt to discuss a change of policy on Irish Republican Army (IRA) decommissioning. He insisted that tactics in the Assembly, not overall party strategy, had been discussed. The ‘Long March’ walked from Sandy Row in south Belfast to Stormont. Approximately 600 people took part in the march to protest against “terrorists in government”.

Wednesday 26 September 2001

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) discovered a pipe-bomb in north Belfast. The device was found at the Everton Complex, Ardoyne Road, at about 3.00am (03.00BST) and was made safe by the British Army.

Tension remained high in north Belfast during the evening and a Loyalist protest, which blocked the Crumlin Road, turned into a serious riot as the RUC came under gun fire, and pipe-bomb, blast bomb, and petrol bomb attack. The RUC said they had moved to prevent Loyalists from attacking Catholic homes.

Thirty-three RUC officers were reported to have been injured in the riot. The RUC said that approximately 50 shots were fired at police lines, six blast bombs were thrown, along with 125 petrol bombs. The RUC returned fire with four bullet rounds and also fired nine ‘L21 A1’ plastic baton rounds.

The Loyalist protesters at the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School threw fireworks at Children and parents returning from the school during the afternoon. It was reported that the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a cover name used by members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had renewed its threat against parents taking their children to school.

The Police Federation criticised an internal RUC draft report suggesting how the new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) could maintain a neutral working environment. The Federation said that a “clean walls policy” could airbrush out any reference to the RUC. Shorts, the aerospace manufacturers based in Belfast, announced it would have to lay off 900 people in the period up to the end of January 2002 because of the anticipated fall in demand for aircraft caused by the attacks in the United States of America. It was also announced that another 1,100 people may may have to be made redundant after January.


Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the follow  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

  3 People lost their lives on the 26th September  between 1972 – 1982

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26 September 1972
Paul McCartan,   (52)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Found shot near his home, Park Avenue, Strandtown, Belfast.

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26 September 1981


George Stewart,  (34)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while in the Ann Boal Inn, Killough, County Down.

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26 September 1982


William Nixon,   (68)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Shot outside his home, Harland Walk, off Newtownards Road, Belfast

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