“Supergrass”, “Tout”, or “Paid Perjurer” are all titles of that most despised creature in Irish society ‘the informer’, on whose conscience is carried the burden of dead and imprisoned Irish Republican activists and many innocents implicated in the process.
A striking image of the so-called supergrass era of the early 1980’s, is Pat Finucane striding confidently out of a heavily fortified British ‘Court House’ having struck a blow against the counterinsurgency British supergrass system. It would come to light years later that the British Crown Forces had failed to coerce a paid perjurer, Robert Lean, from west Belfast, to implicate Pat Finucane in an IRA intelligence gathering role with other solicitors. Pat Finucane and other defence solicitors had beat the British system in its own back yard. In the early 1980’s the “supergrass era” witnessed the introduction of ‘evidence’ from paid perjurers which facilitated the wholesale rounding up of Irish Republicans, hundreds were imprisoned for years by remand before the tactic was finally defeated. The British changed their policy afterwards, dispensing with any semblance of law or judicial process and began assassinating their adversaries. Pat Finucane would lose his life to a Loyalist murder gang under the new dispensation. Egged on by Douglas Hurd in the British house of commons, British intelligence guided and facilitated Loyalists death squads to murder Pat Finucane.
Parallel to the draconian counter-insurgency evolution in the courtrooms of the North, the Southern state was using ‘special’ legislation and extrajudicial executions in its formative years, to protect its existence since its British sponsored genesis. ‘Section 30 offences against the state act’ enacted in 1939 afforded the state ‘gestapo’ like powers. The non-jury ‘special criminal court’, conceived for the same purpose was and is a vehicle that sets aside any semblance of human rights or justice and is continued to be used extensively. The 26 county statelet did not revert to using the supergrass method, perhaps its failure in the North tempered their actions. However, a case currently before the special criminal court may change that.
In March 2013 Dave Cullen entered the E3 landing of Portlaoise Gaol (where political prisoners are held) charged in connection with the fatal shooting in Gormanstown of Peter Butterly.
In early June 2014, Dave Cullen instructed his solicitor to contact the gardaí and ask for the murder charge to be dropped in return for statements. This was the beginning of a process of paid perjury. Two days later Cullen was taken away under the protection of armed guards. His co-accused were later informed by their legal teams when the statements ‘he made’ were disclosed to them.
It is believed Cullen spent a significant time with his special branch handlers, crafting and fabricating his testimony. Cullen’s relationship with special branch resembled a transaction, with demands made for large sums of money and monthly payments being arranged. The deal breaker would, of course, be the dropping of the murder charge and a lenient sentence for the lesser charge of possession of a gun. The Special Branch conducted searches around the Balbriggan area as Cullen attempted to implicate his own father and his landlord (who Cullen owed €1800 for rent arrears). Special branch, through him, had others smeared and arrested, one of whom was a republican prisoner already being held in Portlaoise gaol.
All of this proved fruitless and surely even the gardaí should’ve begun to question how Cullen’s credibility as a witness would hold up under public scrutiny as his lies and contradictions were coming apart at the seams.
During the first trial, based on his so called ‘evidence’ two years ago, it was proven time and time again that he was a liar. At one stage he even admitted that he had lied under oath. But still, his ‘evidence’ was allowed to be heard. The collapse of the first trial only happened after the defence discovered the prosecution had attempted to hide that Cullen had admitted to gardaí that he had a serious grudge against one of the accused men. Even the so-called special criminal court couldn’t sell this biased version of events to the public and the trial collapsed.
Over this past month the same special criminal court, using the same lies and corrupted testimony of paid perjurer Dave Cullen, has attempted to try Irish Republicans in a rerun of a case that has already collapsed. But most worryingly in the quest to incarcerate Irish Republicans at any cost, the draconian special criminal court has deemed Dave Cullen’s discredited ‘testimony’ as admissible. This sets a new and worrying precedent.
To date, Saoradh and the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association have been the only voices protesting against and challenging this show trial farce. This new departure should it pass unchallenged will be used in the future against protest groups, environmentalists, anti-war demonstrators and trade union activists. As the state has shown in the past what it first perfects on Irish Republicans it uses where and when and against whoever it chooses. It is incumbent on all activists that come into conflict with the powers that be, that they raise their voices now lest Republicans are telling them “we told you so” when they become the target.
Interviewed recently, Dublin Saoradh Spokesperson Naoise Condren said,
“Over the last few weeks of this “trial”, we have protested outside the courts on Parkgate street against the use of a Supergrass in the trial of Republican activists. It’s hard enough to get a fair trial in a non-jury court but when the Special Criminal Court on Friday 24th February ruled to accept this paid liars evidence their chances of a fair trial has reduced even further.”There are many human rights and civil liberties groups but all of them have remained incredibly silent during this trial but we urge them to attend the verdict next Thursday 9th March at 10:30 am.”
Dave Cullen has ostracised himself from his family, his comrades and his community, he most likely now faces a life in exile, one which we know from the recent death of Raymond Gilmore is a lonely destitute existence, Dave Cullen has created a sentence for himself worse than anything the state could hand down to him, the only question left is will Dave Cullen’s parcel of lies ruin more lives than he already has?