Monday, February 20, 2006

MI5, Sinn Fein/IRA (sic) and the Intelligence War

Try separate the wood from the trees:
MI5, Sinn Fein/IRA (sic) and the intelligence war

Paul Maguire • Forum Magazine, Feb-Mar 2006

For three decades British intelligence pursued a dual
strategy vis-à-vis the provisional movement. This
parallel strategy had as its twin objectives a gradual
diminution of the [P]IRA's militarily capacity and a
concurrent strengthening of the position of those
within the provisional leadership who were pioneering
a constitutional reformist agenda. Well placed MI5
agents within both the [P]IRA and Sinn Fein (sic) were
essential for the successful attainment of these twin
objectives. The exposure of Denis Donaldson and
Freddie Scapaticci as British agents illustrates the
extent to which the higher echelons of both the
political and military wings of the provisional
movement had been infiltrated by MI5. These
revelations also undermine - in very stark terms - the
veracity of Gerry Adams' repeated assertion that the
[P]IRA is an undefeated army.

Paving the way

By the mid-1980s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness
were privately determined to guide the provisional
movement down a purely constitutional path. The 1981
election of hunger-strikers and the 1983 election of
Gerry Adams as MP for West Belfast highlighted a
previously untapped reservoir of political support
which whetted the appetite of those Adamsistas who
wished to exchange armed struggle for the ballot box.
By May 1987 Gerry Adams felt confident enough to
secretly present Charles Haughey with a 15 page
document outlining the terms for an IRA ceasefire and
the creation of "a pan-nationalist front". Although
the vast majority of IRA volunteers and a minority of
the IRA Army Council were totally unaware of this
development, it was clearly only a matter of "when"
and not "if" an IRA ceasefire would transpire.

British intelligence was wholly cognisant of these
internal shifts. However, the defeat of the IRA or the
diminution of its capacity to wage war remained its
primary objective. This would not only eradicate the
explosion of bombs on the streets of London [a
perennial concern of the successive British
governments], but also strengthen the hand of those
within the provisional movement who were promoting a
new purely political approach.

British intelligence recruited informants, imprisoned
experienced IRA activists and ambushed and executed
hardline active service units as part of its campaign
to weaken the IRA. An iron fist was brought to bear on
republican heartlands hostile to the new
Adams-McGuinness strategy. For example, the hardline
and vehemently anti-Adams IRA East Tyrone Brigade was
practically decimated by a combination of British
intelligence gathering and the deployment of the SAS.
By the early 1990s the IRA's armed campaign appeared
increasingly unproductive and inefficient. The din of
internal voices supporting the "peace strategy" grew
louder. Who among Adams' hardline opponents could
convincing argue that armed struggle remained a viable
means to deliver political progress, when all evidence
suggested otherwise?

MI5 and the [P]IRA

British intelligence was relentless and extremely
successful in infiltrating the IRA. Freddie
Scapaticci's recruitment as a British agent was a
major MI5 coup and perhaps one of the single most
important turning points in its intelligence war
against the IRA. As head of security and intelligence
Scapaticci had full access to every IRA department. No
person was better placed to provide MI5 with a
topographical survey of the IRA and a breakdown of its
personnel. Furthermore, his involvement in numerous
IRA internal inquiries would also have enabled him to
identify individual personal weaknesses among various
republican activists and provide MI5 with priceless
information that could prove useful in turning other
agents. But it would be extremely naive to think that
Scapaticci is the only senior IRA member to turn
informant. Indeed some have argued he may not even be
the agent code-named 'Stakeknife', as MI5 never
exposes an agent unless another is equally or better
placed to provide similar high grade intelligence.

Although Freddie Scappaticci and Sean O'Callaghan
[former Adjutant-General IRA Southern Command] are
perhaps two of the best known IRA apostates, there
have been other traitors of a similar or higher rank
whose names have been withheld from both the IRA rank
and file and the general public. In 1996 the IRA
uncovered another MI5 agent within its higher
echelons. John Carroll was a senior member of the IRA
Southern Command and an elected Sinn Fein councillor
in County Offaly when he was recruited by MI5. He was
exposed as a British agent after an indepth IRA
investigation into his suspicious travelling habits
and his personal finances. However, Carroll was spared
a summary execution because of the political damage it
might cause Sinn Fein and the negative impact such a
revelation might have on IRA volunteers at a sensitive
time in the peace process. The entire sordid saga was
kept well under wraps. It is believed that over the
years Carroll possessed sensitive information
concerning the IRA's "England campaign" and was
responsible for numerous operations being compromised.
However, the true extent of the damage he inflicted on
the IRA will never be established.

What is indisputable is that MI5 was singularly
successful in infiltrating the higher echelons of the
IRA. The IRA's intelligence and security department
was basically administered by British intelligence.
The IRA Executive [one of the highest IRA decision
making bodies], the Southern Command and the GHQ
Department [the body responsible for the day to day
running of the IRA] were also compromised.

By the early 1990s the lines separating sections of
the IRA hierarchy and British intelligence were most
definitely blurred. Indeed it sends a shiver down
one's spine when one considers the odds stacked
against IRA volunteers in the field. The bleakness of
this scenario is further compounded when one takes
into account the fact that a majority of the IRA
leadership was, for close on two decades, only too
prepared to accept far less than what its volunteers
were fighting, dying and being sent to prison for.
However, the fact remains that by 1994 the IRA was
thoroughly infiltrated and rendered militarily
impotent. One aspect of MI5's dual-strategy was - for
the most part - completed.

MI5 and Sinn Fein (sic)

While weakening or defeating the IRA remained its
primary objective, MI5 did not ignore or dismiss
developments within Sinn Fein. MI5 monitored all
internal political discussions and even contributed to
those debates through well-placed agents and thereby
influenced the political trajectory of the movement.
It is a well document fact that the Adams-McGuinness
leadership is surrounded by a "revolutionary
think-tank" comprised of current or former IRA
volunteers and veteran Sinn Fein members. If it had
been previously suggested that some of these prominent
republicans were British agents, Sinn Fein spin
doctors would have treated the accusation with
contempt. But not any more. The image of a smug Denis
Donaldson flanked on the steps of Stormont by Adams
and McGuinness, while both party leaders hailed his
virtue and innocence, rests absurdly alongside the
spectacle of the Sinn Fein president, only seventy-two
hours later, informing a party press conference that
their head of administration in Stormont was expelled
for unsuspected treason stretching over a 20 year

Donaldson shed crocodile tears for the "suffering and
pain" his actions have caused over a twenty year
period. As is the case with Scapaticci, O'Callaghan
and Carroll, we will never know how many people he
dispatched to an early grave or consigned to a grey
prison cell. Sinn Fein attempted to diminish
Donaldson's importance in the public mind. But what
cannot be denied is that Donaldson was part of the
Adams-McGuinness "think tank" and that he was a
stalwart defender not only of that leadership but also
the peace process - a position entirely consistent
with his secret life as a MI5 operative. Donaldson
also participated in all major strategic debates
within the provisionals over the previous two decades.
He reorganised the Sinn Fein US support network, where
he replaced traditional republicans with loyal
Adamsistas. Donaldson was also a key aid during the
negotiations that led to the Belfast Agreement. What
an invaluable asset he must have been for his MI5
handlers? We know Sinn Fein was operating a spy-ring
at Stormont, as thousands of documents were uncovered.
But was this a subterfuge? Was Donaldson's "handlers"
feeding bogus intelligence to the Sinn Fein
leadership, thus swaying opinion and influencing
sensitive political decisions? Obviously British
intelligence was well aware of the party's negotiating
bottom line long before negotiations commenced.

But just as Scapaticci was not the only senior MI5
informant within the IRA, it is naive to imagine that
Donaldson is the only senior British agent within Sinn
Fein. Speculation concerning key MI5 agents at the
heart of the Adams-McGuinness leadership has reached
fever pitch over recent weeks. Recently the PSNI
Special Branch has attempted to exacerbate these
rumours by visiting numerous prominent Belfast
provisionals in the company of a flotilla of
landrovers and furniture removal vans. Such is the
level of internal paranoia, key Sinn Fein
apparatchiks, such as Jim Gibney, have publicly urged
party members "to remain calm and to hold their heads
high". Gerry Adams has stated that he believes further
prominent provisionals may be exposed as MI5 agents at
a future date. Upon what information is this opinion
based? Has the Sinn Fein president any evidence of MI5
agents among his party leadership, which he has been
reluctant to disclose lest it lower party morale?

Only a fool could believe that the Sinn Fein
leadership has not been heavily infiltrated by MI5. In
fact, since the early 1990s, a section of the IRA has
held a longstanding suspicion regarding the bona fides
of some prominent Sinn Fein members. In 1994 the
spotlight of distrust fell upon the prominent Sinn
Fein negotiator, Mitchell McLaughlin, after the IRA
received reports that McLaughlin was engaged in
unauthorised and protracted contact with a senior
British civil servant in Whitehall. At a sensitive
time in the peace process, the IRA leadership chose
not to abduct McLaughlin in order to avoid adverse
media publicity and lower party morale. Instead he was
invited to attend a meeting with several IRA members
on the grounds that they wished to interview him about
certain matters in Derry. The IRA investigators
detained and interrogated McLaughlin for a significant
period of time. However, the IRA leadership was later
informed that the outcome of the internal
investigation was "inconclusive".

Unlikely partners?

The Sinn Fein leadership may denounce the Scapaticcis
and Donaldsons of this world. But I would argue that
they lack the moral authority to do so. Where lies the
difference between a republican turned British agent
and a republican turned Minister of the Crown? Both
are employed by, and receive payment from, the British
state. Both function to preserve and administer
British rule in Ireland. Both are morally and
politically repugnant, albeit to varying degrees.

In the final analysis few can deny that the outcome of
the Adams-McGuinness "peace strategy" mirrored MI5's
longstanding objectives towards the IRA. MI5 and the
Adams-McGuinness leadership gradually sought a
termination of the armed campaign in favour of an
exclusively democratic approach. MI5 guarded British
sovereignty over the North and upheld the continued
existence of the northern state within the "United
Kingdom" - a constitutional reality which the Sinn
Fein/IRA leadership has now embraced. So just as it is
reasonable to ask where lies the dividing line between
certain senior members of the Provisional IRA and
British intelligence, is it not just as reasonable to
ask where lies the dividing line between the
Adams-McGuinness "peace strategy" and British
intelligence's favoured solution for militant Irish
republicanism? If you have the stomach, try and
separate the wood from the trees.

RSF to hold demonstration against Loyalist march

RSF news - Republican Sinn Féin -     
Republican Sinn Féin
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,
223 Parnell Street
Dublin 1, Ireland

For further information contact:
Des Dalton:
Vice-President: 086-329 1809
Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh
Publicity Officer: Dublin 872 9747,
087-648 2061

Phone: +353-1-872 9747
Fax: +353-1-872 9757

For release
20 February\Feabhra 2006

Press Release/Preas Ráiteas

RSF to hold demonstration against Loyalist march

REPUBLICAN SINN FÉIN, who were the first to speak out against the
staging of a Loyalist march in Dublin announced that they will be
assembling at the Parnell monument at the top of O’Connell St
assembling from 10.00am on February 25. RSF Vice President Des Dalton
said they were doing so to show solidarity with the beleaguered
nationalist people of the Six Counties as well as to oppose the staging
of sectarian marches.

“This march is offensive to all who oppose sectarianism, bigotry and
racism. Those who are organising this march represent the same people
who have burned homes, schools and churches across the Six Counties.
They represent groups who have murdered innocent uninvolved people as a
matter of policy simply because of their religion. They speak about
tolerance, yet when was a nationalist parade of any kind, cultural or
political been allowed to take place in Portadown or East Belfast? Many
nationalist communities are afraid to even display GAA club or county
colours in case of Loyalist attack.” He said. “We are calling on all of
our members and supporters as well as all who oppose this march to join
us on the 25th.”

To show that there is not a hierarchy of suffering Republican Sinn
Féin President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh will lead a wreath at the monument in
Talbot St, to the 33 victims, Protestant and Catholic of the 1974
Dublin and Monaghan bombs.



Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1,
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail:
Date: 20 Feabhra / February 2006

Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom

Irish Republican Information Service
THE body styling itself 'Limerick Republican
Information Service' is not connected with the Irish
Republican Information Service (IRIS), 223 Parnell
Street, Dublin 1, email and has not
been authorised either by IRIS or by the body that
sponsors IRIS, Republican Sinn Féin. Therefore it is
totally unauthorised and should be regarded as such.

In this issue:
1. Hunger Strikers honoured in Ballina
2. 'Display of solidarity with nationalist people of
the Six Counties'
3. Evidence that loyalist killer was RUC informer
4. Decision not to interview murder suspects
5. MI5 to replace RUC/PSNI Special Branch
6. Protesters prepared to take 'direct action' over
gas pipeline
7. British MPs ban 'glorifying terrorism'
8. 150 jobs go as two factories shut
9. SIPTU gives guarded welcome to Services Directive
10. Family anger with death in custody decision
11. Protesters block re-opening of pub near Stardust
12. Number of legally-held weapons in the Six Counties
13. M3 road through Tara challenged in court
14. Candle-lit Procession at McDowell's constituency


A LARGE crowd attended the Republican Sinn Féin
commemoration of the three Co Mayo hunger strikers -
Seán McNeela, Ballycroy; Michael Gaughan, Ballina and
Frank Stagg, Hollymount - in Ballina on February 12,
the 30th anniversary of Stagg's death.

The parade formed up at the 1798 Humbert Memorial and,
led by a piper from the Glens of Antrim and a colour
party bearing the National Tricolour, the Starry
Plough, the Fianna Éireann sunburst and the flags of
the four provinces marched to the Republican Plot in
Leigue Cemetery.

At the graveside of Republican martyrs Healy and Tolan
and Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, Ruairí Ó
Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin, presided at
the ceremony.

He recalled that Seán Ó Clérigh (Jackie Clarke) of
O'Rahilly Street was mainly responsible for the
erection of the memorial at the Plot in 1966, that
Dáithí Ó Conaill and General Tom Maguire gave the
funeral orations for Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg

Seán Mac an Iomaire, Gaillimh, recited a decade of the
Rosary in Irish, following which wreaths were laid by
relatives of the dead hunger strikers.

Carmel McNeela, Dublin (sister-in-law), Joan Gaughan,
Ballina (cousin), Rosaleen Stagg Doyal, Navan (sister
and Seán Stagg, Hollymount (brother) placed floral
tributes oin the graves. Dr Seán Maguire, Castlebar
(son of Tom Maguire) laid a wreath on behalf of the
McNeela-Gaighan-Stagg Cumann of Republican Sinn Féin,
Co Mayo.

Than Dan Hoban, Newport, read the Roll of Honour of
hunger strikers who died for Ireland - 22 names in all
- from 1917 to 1981.

The first speaker was George Stagg, Co Meath, brother
of Frank Stagg. He called on people to honour the
memory of the hunger strikers by seeking to achieve an
Ireland free of the British Occupation Forces and the
British government.

Máire Harrington Uí Mhongáin, Dú Thuama, spoke next.
This was the centenary year of the death of the great
Land League leader fdrom Mayo, Michael Davitt. In
keeping with Davitt's struggle for the land was the
fight for the natural resources of Ireland for the
Irish people. She called for support for the Rossport
Five and their followers in their endeavours.

Finally, Brendan Magill of Lurgan, Co Armagh was
introduced as the comrade of Michael Gaughan and Frank
Stagg in England and the close associate of the Stagg

"There is continuity in our Cause and our fallen
comrades all had one thing in common. All from the
time of Wolfe Tone to the present day wanted an end to
English interference in our affairs," he said.

"They died, whether in a prison cell on hunger strike,
in a prison ship, an ambush or bombing operation or by
assassin's bullet, all made the supreme sacrifice for
Ireland the people of Ireland.

"To pay tribute to them means to play a part, no
matter how small, in getting rid of the British and
building a free, united Ireland, a better Ireland, a
New Ireland - ÉIRE NUA of the four provinces.

"If the hunger strikers of Mayo were alive today we
know what they would do. Do this in their name. In the
names of Frank Stagg, Michael Gaughan and Jack
McNeela, I ask you today:

"Help us in the reconquest of our nation, break the
connection with England. An Phoblacht Abú!," he

The parade then reassembled and marched back to the
forming-up point where all stood to attention for
Amhrán na bhFiann.


SPEAKING at Republican Sinn Féin's 85th anniversary
commemoration on February 19 of the Clonmult massacre,
in which 12 IRA volunteers were killed by British
Crown forces, on February 20 1921,in Midleton Co Cork,
RSF Vice-President Des Dalton outlined why Republican
Sinn Féin were leading the protest against the staging
of a loyalist march in Dublin.

"On Saturday, February 25, loyalists plan to march in
Dublin, with it appears the compliance of the
26-County administration. In allowing the
representatives of groups who have murdered innocent
uninvolved nationalists over the past 40 years as a
matter of policy, not for the first time the 26-County
political establishment have turned their backs on the
beleaguered nationalist people of the Six-Counties.
RSF have from the beginning led the campaign against
this march taking place.

"On the front page of SAOIRSE this month we spell out
clearly our reasons for doing so. Firstly one of the
groups sponsoring the march FAIR claims for Loyalists
a near monopoly on suffering. British-backed loyalist
death squads have murdered more than 1000 innocent
uninvolved nationalists. Of the 698 members of the
protestant community to be killed during the present
conflict, 340, or 49 % died at the hands of loyalist
death squads, it appears FAIR should be marching on
the UDA and UVF in Belfast.

"Secondly Republican Sinn Féin are opposing this march
to express our solidarity with the nationalist people
of the Six-Counties, be it in Dunloy, the Garvaghy
Road, the Ardoyne or other such areas, who have had
such marches imposed on them year after year. Homes,
schools and churches have been burned and attacked, by
those who would preach to us about tolerance. Even
a-political symbols of identity, such as GAA club and
county colours cannot be displayed in some areas of
the Six Counties for fear of attack.

"The question must be asked would nationalist parades
of whatever kind would be allowed through Portadown or
East Belfast? I think we all know the answer; British
forces would certainly block them. As the editorial in
SAOIRSE declares. Thirdly the reason for this loyalist
march is clear, it is part of a softening up process
for an official visit to Dublin by the Queen of
England, who claims ownership of part of Ireland, a
claim enforced by military for.

"The duty of Irish Republicans is clear, RSF are
calling on all who oppose this march to join with us,
under a banner declaring 'Unite Protestant, Catholic
and Dissenter'... 'To break the connection with
England', next Saturday from 10.00am at the Parnell
monument, at the top of O'Connell St, and make your
protest known. When the British government finally
leaves Ireland and Loyalist marches will no longer be
a question of supremacy of Unionists over
Nationalists, then all interests will be welcome and
free to parade wherever they choose."


It was one of the most disturbing images of the
Troubles - a loyalist killer maniacally laughing at
relatives of his victims in a display of naked,
sectarian hatred. Now an even more disturbing
allegation has emerged: that Torrens Knight, convicted
of 12 murders, was a police informer while a member of
a Protestant assassination squad in Northern Ireland.
He was involved in the machine-gunning of a Catholic
bar in Greysteel, Co Londonderry, in 1993, when eight
people died. He also took part in another attack in
which four Catholic workmen were shot dead.
The idea that such a notorious figure could have been
working for the security forces has deepened the
unease about the role of the Special Branch in the
underground "dirty war". According to unconfirmed
reports, Knight was paid £50,000 a year for passing on
The police say they will not comment on any
allegations about who might or might not have been an
informer. The Chief Constable of the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, Sir Hugh Orde, has said that
regulations concerning undercover agents have been
tightened in recent years.
But a series of unconnected cases have created
suspicions that, during the Troubles, the Special
Branch routinely concealed information from other
parts of the police.
Knight, who is now in his thirties, was convicted as
one of the members of the Ulster Defence Association
(UDA) who burst into a Catholic bar on Hallowe'en
night in 1993 to stage an attack in retaliation for an
IRA bombing. After one of the gang shouted "Trick or
treat", gunmen raked the bar, leaving its floor and
walls splashed with blood, while Knight, armed with a
shotgun, stood at the door. The eight people killed
included an 81-year-old man while 19 others were
Knight received eight life sentences for this,
together with four more for the murders of four
Catholic workmen killed seven months earlier in
Castlerock, Co Londonderry. He served seven years in
prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a
general release under the Good Friday Agreement.
Unconfirmed rumours that Knight had been a police
informer had been in the air for some time. Suspicions
have been voiced by John Dallat, a campaigning
politician who is a member of the nationalist Social
Democratic and Labour Party. Mr Dallat, who says he
was in touch with police about Knight before the
Greysteel and Castlerock attacks, claims they might
have been prevented since it was known Knight was an
This week brought a piece of evidence that is seen as
strengthening the informer theory. In 2000, after his
release from prison, Knight is said to have attracted
the attention of staff at a bank where he was
withdrawing large amounts of money from an account
into which £50,000 a year was being paid. The bank's
concern was that Knight was "laundering" illegal
money, but, when police were contacted, an assurance
was given that everything was in order. The money
being paid in was said to be from a Scottish
engineering firm. However, the account was hastily
closed down.
If Knight was an informer, his role clearly did not
provide him with immunity for his killings since he
was charged and jailed for them.
In some cases informers have been allowed to commit
various offences but have been charged when they carry
out "unauthorised" acts such as murders. But the
appearance in this instance is that even his
convictions for 12 killings did not stop the Special
Branch paying him large sums of money after his
The further allegation made by Mr Dallat is that a
rifle used in the Greysteel incident was one of two
weapons found by anglers after the Castlerock
shootings but before the Greysteel attack took place.
The weapons were not recovered. Mr Dallat said he had
been telephoned by a member of the security forces who
claimed the guns were moved by a member of the Special
Branch who was protecting Knight.
Mr Dallat has referred the case to the office of the
Police Ombudsman, which is investigating the saga. He
said: "I hope the investigation team are successful in
gleaning why the UDA ran amok for so long before
finally being caught."
The Dirty War and informers
Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein administrator,
admitted recently that he had been a Special Branch
informer for up to 20 years, sending shockwaves
through the republican community.
Freddie Scappaticci, senior IRA "enforcer", was outed
as a security force informer in 2003, though he has
not admitted this. He is said to be living in Italy.
William Stobie, a loyalist charged with the murder of
solicitor Pat Finucane, sensationally revealed in
court that he had been a police informer. He was later
shot dead by his organisation.
Brian Nelson, a senior loyalist intelligence-gatherer,
was unmasked as an Army informer in 1990. He served a
prison sentence and has since died.
IT WAS one of the most disturbing images of the
Troubles - a loyalist killer maniacally laughing at
relatives of his victims in a display of naked,
sectarian hatred. Allegations have emerged that
Torrens Knight, convicted of 12 murders, was an RUC
informer while a member of a British-backed loyalist
death squad.

He was involved in the machine-gunning of a
Nationalist bar in Greysteel, Co Derry, in 1993, when
eight people died. He also took part in another attack
in which four nationalist workmen were shot dead.

According to unconfirmed reports, Knight was paid
£50,000 a year for passing on information. Knight, who
is now in his thirties, was convicted as one of the
members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) who
burst into a nationalist bar on Hallowe'en night in
1993 to stage an attack. After one of the gang shouted
"Trick or treat", gunmen raked the bar, leaving its
floor and walls splashed with blood, while Knight,
armed with a shotgun, stood at the door. The eight
people killed included an 81-year-old man while 19
others were injured.

Knight received eight life sentences for this;
together with four more for the murders of four
nationalist workmen killed seven months earlier in
Castlerock, Co Derry. He served seven years in prison
before being granted a general release under the
Stormont Agreement. Rumours that Knight had been an
RUC informer had been in the air for some time.

In 2000, after his release from prison, Knight is said
to have attracted the attention of staff at a bank
where he was withdrawing large amounts of money from
an account into which £50,000 a year was being paid.
The bank's concern was that Knight was "laundering"
money, but, when the RUC were contacted, an assurance
was given that everything was in order. The money
being paid in was said to be from a Scottish
engineering firm. However, the account was hastily
closed down.

Even his convictions for 12 killings did not stop the
RUC Special Branch paying him large sums of money
after his release.

The further allegation is that a rifle used in the
Greysteel massacre was one of two weapons found by
anglers after the Castlerock shootings but before the
Greysteel attack took place.

The weapons were not recovered. A local nationalist
public representative said he was telephoned by a
member of the British Crown forces who claimed the
guns were moved by a member of the RUC Special Branch
who was protecting Knight.


THE decision not to interview four key suspects in the
murder of a Dundalk forestry worker 30 years ago was
probably political, according to Justice Henry Barron.

A British-backed loyalist death squad, abducted Séamus
Ludlow, aged 47, including a member of the British
army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) in County Louth
and shot dead on May 2, 1976, but THE 26-County police
never interviewed the suspects identified by the RUC
18 months later.

At the Joint Leinster House Committee on Justice, on
February 16, Judge Henry Barron was asked if this
decision had been taken because of the volatile
situation at the time. "I think the reality is that it
was probably political," he replied.

Committee member Senator Jim Walsh suggested that,
while he did not agree with it, one possibility was
that the 26-County Government did not want the
loyalist suspects interviewed because it might inflame
republican sympathies.

In his report into Séamus Ludlow's death, Judge Barron
said it was most probable the decision not to carry
out the interviews with the Six-County-based suspects
was made by former Garda Commissioner Laurence Wren,
then head of the Garda C3 security section.

The two garda detectives who received the information
from the RUC in 1979 never received authorisation from
C3 to travel across the border to follow it up,
despite the fact that two of the suspects were in
prison and readily available for interview.

Judge Barron told the committee he stood over his
report's conclusion, despite strong denials from
Laurence Wren that he had any involvement in the
decision. "It must have been made by the most senior
member and that was Mr Wren," he said.

The four suspects named in Judge Barron's report -
Paul Hosking, James Fitzsimmons, Richard Long and
Samuel Carroll - were arrested in the Six-Counties in
1998, but the Six-County DPP decided not to prosecute
them because of insufficient evidence. Judge Barron
said he would like to have seen the RUC files on the
Ludlow murder while compiling his report, but this was
not possible because he got no co-operation from the
British authorities.

Independent TD Finian McGrath asked if there were any
other avenues for the committee to investigate.

"It's an awful long time ago, that's the problem,"
said Judge Barron. "Everything seems to suggest that
four men were in public bars in the state (on the
night of Ludlow's murder). At the time, if photographs
were shown to people, they might have identified

The family of Séamus Ludlow, who have travelled from
Dundalk to attend each committee hearing, are calling
for a full public inquiry into his murder.

Judge Barron's fourth and final report, into bombings
in Dundalk in the 1970s, is within a week of
completion, but its publication may be delayed to see
if the names of those allegedly responsible can be


MI5 is moving to Palace Barracks, Holywood, Co Down as
it prepares to replace the RUC/PSNI Special Branch in
the Six Counties.

MI5 is due to take over the lead role in intelligence
involving British national security by the end of
2007. Until now, the RUC/PSNI Special Branch has had
overall responsibility. In future, while British
Colonial police handlers will continue to work with
individual informers they will, in some cases, report
back to MI5.

During the Troubles, MI5 were based at Stormont Castle
- their shift of premises coincides with a shift of
role. It is believed they will in the main be used
against Irish Republicans, as they are perceived to
pose the biggest threat to the British state and their
occupation of the Six Counties. The RUC/PSNI will
continue to have responsibility for loyalist gangs as
they are regarded in the main as criminals.

The current head of MI5, Eliza Manningham Buller, is a
former head of the organisation's so-called Irish
counter-terrorism desk.


ABOUT 60 people protested outside the Shell oil
company's offices in Dublin, on February 17 in
opposition to the Corrib Gas pipeline.

Members of the Shell to Sea Campaign chained bicycles
across the entrance to the offices on Adelaide Road,
in what they said was a symbolic precursor of planned
blockades of Shell installations in Mayo.

The protests were mirrored by pickets at Shell offices
in the Netherlands and Britain and Shell filling
stations in the west of Ireland.

Co-ordinator of the protest Tadhg McGrath said the
campaign was frustrated "by Shell's lack of a plan B
or any alternative and believed the oil company would
press ahead with construction of the Corrib Gas
pipeline in March.

But he said the campaign was prepared to take "direct
action" to prevent the construction work going ahead.
"We have heard that Shell has block-booked hotels and
guesthouses in Mayo for an Italian construction crew.
But at the end of this month the Shell to Sea camp
will be up and running again in Mayo and we are
prepared to blockade their work."

Tadhg McGrath said funds had been raised
internationally over the winter and members had
travelled abroad, visiting protest camps and amassing
equipment necessary to mount a "Greenham Common" style

The protests were part of a weekend of events, which
continued in Ireland, Britain, the Netherlands and
Sweden on February 18.

A highlight of the weekend's events was a protest as
Bertie Ahern addressed an Ógra Fianna Fáil convention
in the West County Hotel, Ennis, on February 18.

The five men jailed for 94 days last year over their
opposition to the pipeline again called on the
26-County Environment Minister Noel Dempsey to clarify
recent comments which led to the men's decision to
suspend mediated discussions with Shell. He had
"unilaterally changed the format of mediation", the
five said. Time, space and confidentiality were
required to reach agreement, but the 26-County
minister had "removed that possibility" and had either
"consciously misled us or reversed his September


THE British House of Commons voted on February 15 315
votes to 277 to ban 'glorifying terrorism' sending it
back to the British House of Lords, which had struck
down the term "glorification" earlier this year,
saying it was dangerously vague. The two chambers must
reach agreement for the measure to become law.

Tony Blair said the vote sent a "signal of strength"
and would help authorities counter those who espouse

He said the bill would allow authorities to prosecute
demonstrators such as those he said carried placards
espousing violence during recent London protests
against a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons
of the Prophet Muhammad.

Blair suffered a major Commons defeat on security last
year and needed the win on glorification to
demonstrate he had reasserted control over rebels in
his Labour Party.
In November, the British House of Commons rejected his
plan to allow terrorist suspects to be held for up to
90 days without charge.

Critics said the ban on 'glorifying terrorism'
threatens civil liberties.

In January, the British House of Lords voted 270 to
144 to remove the word "glorification" from the
government's anti-terror bill and replace it with
language that would outlaw describing terrorism in a
way that encourages people to emulate it. Menzies
Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said
the measure could threaten civil liberties.

"The law on glorification may well have unwelcome
implications for freedom of speech, but it will do
nothing to improve public safety," he said.

The proposal was part of the government's anti-terror
bill, which was drafted after the bombings on London's
transit system in July that killed 52 people and four

The bill also would outlaw training in terrorist camps
and encouraging acts of violence. Only the
glorification provision and several other amendments
were up for votes Wednesday, not the overall bill.

Opponents say the ban would be dangerous and
unnecessary, pointing out that extremists such as the
radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri have been convicted
in Britain under existing laws against incitement to
murder and racial hatred.

The British House of Commons also debated whether to
renew contentious powers that allow some terrorist
suspects to be detained indefinitely under "control
orders" - strict conditions that resemble house
arrest. No vote was taken.


IT was reported on February 17 that around 150 jobs
are to be axed over the next year with the closure of
two manufacturing plants in the north-west.

Cassette maker Saehan Media will end operations in
Sligo with the loss of 91, while more than 60 jobs are
to go at the renowned Magee clothing company after the
firm said high costs had forced it to make cuts.

Saehan Media Ireland Ltd, which makes video and audio
tapes, will shut its doors in April after making
losses of €10m last year. This was on the back of
losses of €2.4m in 2004.

Magee, a high quality clothing firm, will stop
manufacturing in Donegal by June 2007, but design,
marketing and administration staff will be kept on,
along with retail staff at the local store.

A spokesman for Saehan Media blamed the rapid increase
in demand for DVDs for the move. The market for
videotape and cassettes was in steep decline, he said,
with demand dropping by 30% last year and a further
drop of 40% expected this year.
Employees at the Hazelwood factory were told today
that the plant would close on April 28.

Management thanked staff for their contribution and
commitment to the factory over the past 15 years and
said negotiations would begin immediately on
redundancy packages.
Korean-based parent company Saehan Media, which has
had a presence in Sligo since 1991, is one of the
world's top suppliers of magnetic tape. At its height
it employed 500 people in the town.

Magee chairman Lynn Temple said the decision to end
production by June 2007 was due to the high cost of
manufacturing clothing in Ireland.

"The skill and experience of our staff has been a big
part of Magee's success and it has always been our
ethos to create employment at home in Donegal," she
said. "However, the economics of the marketplace means
that this is no longer possible in clothing

Magee will continue to base its administration, design
and marketing in Donegal Town, where it was founded in
1866, and the move will not affect the Magee weaving
operation, which employs 60 people, or the Magee

Magee will continue to employ around 130 people in
Donegal Town after the redundancies, including 30
people in its local retail outlet.

The losses bring to more than 550 the number of jobs
lost around the country so far this year, with the
manufacturing sector hardest hit.


THE largest trade union in the 26 Counties, SIPTU,
gave a guarded welcome to the outcome of the European
Parliament vote on the controversial EU Services

The measure aims to open up the services market across
the EU and remove the red tape that discourages
service-providers in one country from setting up in

Trade unions had expressed huge concern that aspects
of the new law would exacerbate the erosion of
employment standards, with companies from low-cost EU
states undercutting their rivals in wealthier

However, MEPs voted on February 16 in favour of a
range of amendments designed to protect workers' pay
and conditions.

SIPTU president Jack O'Connor said that the amended
directive approved by the parliament appeared to be a
major improvement on the original draft.

However, he said it was too early to give a definitive
assessment and SIPTU would be withholding its support
until it saw the full text of the new law.

He also said that, despite the vote, the onus still
rested with the 26-County government to ensure that
the pay and conditions for Irish workers are


IT was reported on February 17 that no one will be
prosecuted over the death of a Dublin man in police

Terence Wheelock, 20, from Summerhill, was found
unconscious in his cell in Store Street garda station
last June after allegedly attempting to hang himself
with the cord from his tracksuit bottoms.

He never regained consciousness and died on September
16 in the Mater Hospital.

At the opening of the inquest into his death, Mr
Wheelock's family heard that the Director of Public
Prosecutions will not be taking the case any further.

Speaking outside the court following the hearing,
which was adjourned, Mr Wheelock's brother, Barry,
said: "We do not believe Terence was responsible for
his own death. We do not believe it was suicide.

"The DPP's decision is not a surprise to us but it is
a disgrace to the memory of my brother.

"All we want is to know what happened and we want an
independent inquiry into his death."

Terence Wheelock's family, including his parents,
Laurence and Esther, are planning poignant protests at
Dáil Éireann next month to mark the dead man's 21st

Barry, 31, continued: "Terence would have been 21 on
March 23 but because we can't present him with a key
we will give it to the Minister of Justice instead."

The family is now determined to have Terence's
belongings returned - including clothing and the
alleged ligature - to be examined by forensic
laboratories in England.

During the hearing, Seán Gillane, representing the
Wheelocks, accused Minister for Justice Michael
McDowell and An Garda Síochána Commissioner Noel
Conroy of hindering their attempts to collect his
personal effects.

He said: "We have no axe to grind. We have openly
indicated our wish to have these items independently
examined. There are experts in England ready, willing
and able to do these tests.

"The Wheelock family cannot afford for these experts
to come here and have to make arrangements between
forensic laboratories here and England for the safe
transport of these items. The family want to assure
the court the best they can that their reasons are
legitimate and bona fide."

A police property application hearing is due to be
held at Dublin District Court on March 14 if both
parties do not come to an agreement before then.

Adjourning the hearing, Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian
Farrell offered his sympathies and condolences to Mr
Wheelock's family.

Outside court, Barry Wheelock slammed the Gardaí for
holding on to his brother's belongings for so long.

He accused the Gardaí of illegally taking the clothes
as the death had been considered a suicide.

"I personally believe some forensic evidence is on
them," he said. If they have nothing to hide, they
should hand them over. The longer we haven't got the
clothes, the more likely they are to be forensically

"Funding these tests is not an issue yet. Even if we
have to fund this, we will - we won't be letting this

The case will be mentioned again in the Coroner's
Court on March 7.


A PROTEST took in the Dublin suburb of Artane on
February 18 against the opening of a pub adjacent to
the site of the Stardust nightclub fire. bout 100
people protested against the re-opening of the Sliver
Swan pub which was destroyed in the blaze that killed
48 young people on Valentine's Day 25 years ago. The
pub was originally due to open on January 15 but was
postponed by angry protests from the families of
Stardust victims.


IT was reported on February 19 that the number of
weapons, including shotguns, held on licence in the
Six Counties last May was 144,554 - up by 5,634
(almost 4%) on the 2001 figure. It's undisputed that
the majority of licence holders are unionists.


A PLAN to build a motorway beside the hill where
ancient Celtic kings were crowned is currently being
challenged in court as campaigners fight to save a
monument described by W B Yeats as the "most
consecrated spot in Ireland".

Campaigners against the proposed M3 route past
Ireland's greatest national monument, the Tara
complex, claimed in a landmark legal challenge that
the Dublin Administration deliberately watered down
legislation governing the protection of national
monuments and failed in its constitutional duty to
protect Irish heritage.

The constitutionality of existing legislation on the
protection of national monuments is the subject of a
High Court case that may force the Dublin government
to rewrite legislation and ultimately re-route the M3
motorway planned to run through the Tara valley.

The High Court action was taken to alter the pathway
of the proposed M3 motorway, which breaches the
archaeological complex. Irish citizen, Vincent
Salafia, is suing the Minister for the Environment,
Meath County Council, the Attorney General and the
National Roads Authority.

Recognised experts of Tara, Conor Newman and Edel
Bhreatnach testified that the current route being
excavated will entail the demolition of over 10
archaeological monuments in the valley between the
hills of Tara and Skryne, at least two of which are
national monuments in their own right, and that the
motorway is damaging the national monument. Judgment
is March 1, 2006.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is anticipated by both
parties. For more information see: and

Join hundreds of academics and thousands of people
worldwide who are petitioning the 26-County Government
to stop the current archaeological excavations and
reroute the M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara
archaeological complex, Ireland's premier national
monument. Please sign the online petition at:

In affidavits supplied to the court by leading Irish
archaeologists, it was claimed that the route of the
motorway runs directly through the series of national
monuments making up the Tara valley. However, the
government, Meath County Council, and the National
Roads Authority (NRA) argue that the national monument
is located at the Hill of Tara and that the
surrounding areas are not part of the monument.

The absence of legislation governing archaeological
landscapes has been criticised by groups such as the
Heritage Council, which argues that legislation in
other countries protects the landscape surrounding a
national monument and not merely the monument itself.

The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche,
currently has sole discretion to define the importance
of national monuments, although he is obliged to take
advice from the Director of the National Museum, Dr
Pat Wallace.

Earlier this year Dr Wallace stated his belief that
the Tara Valley "constitutes an archaeological and
cultural landscape which deserves the fullest and most
generous protection". He said that the region was the
most important of its type in Ireland, "if not in

Thirty-eight archaeological sites have been identified
along the M3's route.

Tara's importance as a religious centre dates from
around 4,000 BC. The oldest visible man-made feature
is the Mound of the Hostages, which dates from the
third millennium BC.

It is traditionally associated with Cormac Mac Art,
the legendary Irish High King. Tara became a pagan
spiritual and political centre in the third century
AD. It has remained a potent symbol of Ireland's

During the rebellion of 1798 the United Irishmen
camped on the hill, but were attacked and defeated by
British troops.

In 1843, Daniel O'Connell, the Irish MP, hosted a
'Repeal of the Union' political demonstration at Tara
which attracted one million supporters.

High Court Justice Thomas Smyth will give his decision
on the M3 motorway case on March 1.


IN A statement on February 19 Cosantoiri Siochana -
The Peace Network said that a group of concerned
citizens, irate constituents and peace activists were
planning to hold a candle-lit vigil on Thursday,
February 23, at 5.30pm at The Diamond, Ranelagh,
Dublin in a bid to force Justice Minister, Michael
McDowell to implement the law regarding the searching
of all aircraft landing at Shannon Airport.

The statement said: "If possible, the group will also
congregate outside McDowell's constituency office
nearly before marching in single file to Rathmines
Garda Station, where they will hand in a signed letter
to the Superintendent commemorating both their concern
and their peaceful action.

"Despite substantial grounds for suspecting that
aircraft landing at Shannon are involved in torture,
Minister McDowell insists that the gardaí have no
right to mandatorially search aircraft. As citizens of
Ireland, we wish to complain of suspected grave
breaches of Irish human rights law. Section 4 (1) of
the Criminal Justice (UN Convention against Torture)
Act 2000 states:

" 'A person shall not be expelled or returned from the
State to another state if the Minister is of the
opinion that there are substantial grounds for
believing that the person would be subjected to

"Flight records for CIA-chartered planes from
September 2001-September 2005 show that six of these
planes have landed at Shannon more than thirty-five
times. These include a Gulfstream jet, N379P, involved
in the abduction of two men from Sweden in 2001, from
where they were 'rendered' to Egypt and allegedly
tortured; a 737 registered as N4476S, which had been
spotted at Shannon, and which took part in the
kidnapping of the German, Khaled-el-Masri, who was
taken to Afghanistan and tortured; and the plane
involved in the abduction of Abu Omar from Italy to
Egypt in January 2003, which Minister Martin Cullen
admitted made a 'technical stop' at Shannon during
that mission."


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oppose Loyalist March

Oppose Loyalist March
(from the February, 2006 edition of SAOIRSE)

SAOIRSE calls on all true Republicans to oppose
the loyalist march due to take place through the

centre of Dublin on Saturday, February 25.

This call is made for three reasons:

1) One body sponsoring the march, FAIR (Families
Acting for Innocent Relatives) claims for loyalists a

near monopoly on suffering in Ireland since the

This is not in accordance with the facts.
In the struggle for the national liberation of Ireland

over the past several decades,

over 1,000 members of the British Occupation Forces

were killed. Further, more than 1,000 innocent and

uninvolved nationalists were deliberately done to

death by loyalist death squads working in collusion

with the British forces.

The Sunday Business Post of September 4, 2005 gave the

following statistics: “Of the 698 Protestants (sic)

killed during violence in the North, 340 died at the

hands of loyalists. Since the first ceasefires in

1994, the vast majority of Protestant (sic)

victims have been killed by loyalists in internecine


It would appear then that FAIR should be marching on

the UDA and UVF headquarters in Belfast rather

than through the centre of Dublin to Leinster House.

In their progress through O’Connell Street, they will

pass by Sackville Place (by the side of Clery’s

department store) where two CIE busmen were killed by

loyalist no-warning bombs in December 1972. Will FAIR

pause at that spot and pay respects?

To highlight the fact that there is no hierarchy in

suffering, Republican Sinn Féin’s President, Ruairí Ó

Brádaigh will, before the loyalist march moves off,

lay a wreath at the end of Talbot Street – opposite

Connolly station – at the memorial to the 33 innocent

victims, both Catholic and Protestant, killed by

loyalist bombs in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17, 1974.

This will be done with respect and dignity.

Listed on page three in this issue are the names of

another 13 victims killed by loyalists south of the

Border from Donegal to Cavan, Monaghan and Louth.

British forces colluded in these deaths also, and

refused 30 years later to cooperate in inquiries into

the tragedies.

In the 26 Counties, the Department of Justice “lost”

the files relating to these victims of imperialism and

Garda Headquarters “mislaid” their files also. It

seems the lives of citizens counted for very little.

2) The second reason for opposing the march is that
Republicans stand in solidarity with the beleaguered

nationalists of the Garvaghy Road, Ardoyne, Dunloy and

other such areas that have had triumphalist loyalist

marches imposed on them forcefully year after year.

They are made witnesses of their own
The 26-County Administration, by collaborating with

this loyalist march, has effectively turned its back

on all those, north and south, who have suffered at

the hands of British-backed death squads down the


The question which has not been asked in this debate
is whether nationalist parades, of whatever kind, or

even Civil Rights marches would be allowed through the

centre of Portadown or down Belfast’s Royal Avenue?

The British forces would certainly block them.
When the British government finally leaves Ireland and

loyalist marches will no longer be a question of

supremacy of Unionists over Nationalists, then all

interests will be welcome and free to parade wherever

they choose.

Reference has been made to the Orange section of the

Irish National Tricolour. This applies to the Irish

Protestant population, in general, not all of whom are
coat-trailing Orangemen.

When he brought the Irish Tricolour from Paris and

presented it as a symbol of inclusivity to the Irish

people on April 15, 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher said:

“The White in the centre signifies a lasting truce

between the Orange and the Green, and I trust that

beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant

and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and

heroic brotherhood.

“If this flag is destined to fan the flames of war,

let England behold once more, upon that white centre,

the Red Hand that struck her down from the hills of


Before the loyalist march on February 25, Republican

Sinn Féin will assemble at the Parnell monument at the

top of O’Connell Street beneath a banner which bears

the immortal words of Wolfe Tone, the Father of Irish


“Unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter” … “To Break

the Connection with England.”

The pamphlet “An Address to the People of Ireland”...

which “makes special appeal to the people of the

Unionist persuasion” will be distributed.

The text includes an appeal “to everybody to consider

again our ÉIRE NUA programme for a four-province

federal Ireland, with optimum devolution of powers

down to community level”.

ÉIRE NUA concludes: “These proposals are not

definitive; they can and inevitably will be modified.

Sinn Féin Poblachtach would in fact welcome

constructive criticism of these proposals.”

3) The third reason to oppose this loyalist march is
clear. For some time now the 26-County State

Establishment has sought to bring the Queen of England

on an official state visit to Dublin.

Remember this crowned head claims to be “Queen of

Northern Ireland” as well as of “Great Britain”. Such

a personage making such a claim has not been seen in

Dublin for 95 years – since 1911.

The proposed loyalist march is very definitely part of

a softening-up process for an Official Visit to Dublin

by an English Queen claiming part of Ireland. The like

has not been seen since Partition in 1921.

And now, on the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising,

the siren voices tell Republicans to ignore this

loyalist march. If we do, they will return with even

greater insistence and tell us to ignore the state

Visit of the Queen of England.

In other words, to stay away, make no protest, and

accept finally that the Six Occupied Counties belong

to England. Is that what you want?