British military intelligence (MI5) have recently targeted Irish Republicans in County Tyrone, in attempts to recruit British agents and informers. Recently there has been an upsurge in attempts to infiltrate the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association and the Irish Republican party Saoradh in the county.
Republicans in Tyrone have long suffered at the hands of the British Crown forces; IRA Volunteers and Irish civilians lost their lives when British military intelligence directed British state forces and Loyalist death squads in a campaign of slaughter across the county.
In this past two weeks, two activists from Saoradh and the IRPWA were targeted by state operatives who identified themselves as “MI5”. One of the activists has been targeted repeatedly. On this occasion, he was approached as he went to a shop in Belfast whilst on lunch break. The MI5 personnel where the same individuals who had harassed him on a previous occasion when they tried to force on him under threats and duress while also advancing an envelope stuffed with cash.
On this occasion, as he had done previously, the activist refused the advances. The activist described the ordeal; outlining that the MI5 members had local accents, how they issued threats in regards to the activist’s family and how he was told that MI5 would make life hard with both his work and his family life. He was also given a phone number and told it was a “Liverpool Number” and was told to ask for “Martin or Olivia”. When the activist refused to cooperate he was told, “we can put you in a place where you will have to talk”. The activist refused their advances and threats and reported them immediately to the IRPWA, Saoradh and his solicitor.
The second activist who was approached had taken a day off work to attend an appointment. As he traveled to the appointment he was stopped by plainclothes personnel, who again identified themselves as “MI5” in a similar fashion to the first activist. A mixture of threats and coercion were used, involving references to the activists family and work, in an effort to recruit the activist as an agent. The activist refused the approach and reported it to the IRPWA and Saoradh.
For years the IRPWA in Tyrone has been to the fore providing for Republican Prisoners and their families. Saoradh, which was launched last year, has been growing across Tyrone and has become involved in grassroots campaigns and community issues. It is no surprise therefore to find the British forces of occupation attempting to infiltrate and subvert the Republican objectives of both organisations.
Packy Carty Saoradh Spokesperson in Tyrone said;
“Both Saoradh and the IRPWA call on anyone who has been vindictively targeted by the Crown Forces in this way, to come forward and share their experiences. Do not suffer in silence; as this invites further advances and harassment by these opaque and dangerous forces. We can provide advice and access to legal help in an effort to stop these approaches.”
“In the past, those who have agreed to work as British informers and agents have ended up dead or living out lives of poverty in exile. We see from the revelations around Freddie Scappaticci, that the British are willing to sacrifice one agent to promote another! They have absolutely no interest in the security or wellbeing of anyone they recruit, in their attempts to attack Republicanism. It’s important to come forward to prevent further advances.”