Northern Ireland: Special Branch 'spying' on Sinn Fein candidate


(RM News 29.4.03)

Sinn Fein has expressed serious concern about Special Branch attempts to recruit a Derry man to inform on republican Assembly candidate Raymond McCartney. The man claims he had been arrested by the PSNI for non-payment of a fine and while in custody he was approached by a PSNI man who told him a community worker wished to speak with him.

"This community worker started asking me questions about my background, my hobbies and the like and, as he was supposed to be a community worker, I saw nothing wrong in answering him." said the man "Eventually he said he was unable to help and I was put back into my cell. Shortly afterwards two men who said they were community policemen, came to talk to me. They started asking me about my life and the various things I did and it was only later I realized they were using the information I had given to this so-called community worker. They then started asking me about how they were in the business of crime prevention and said that I could help them to prevent crime happening, as I was well placed in the local community."

The man claims that at this point the men in question asked him if he would keep an eye on Sinn Fein Assembly candidate Raymond McCartney. The man asked them if they were asking him to be a "tout' and in response they again talked of crime prevention.

"They then asked me who would I rather be talking to, them or Martin McGuinness?"

Describing the man's claims as "sinister and extremely worrying," Sinn Fein councillor Barney O'Hagan said it appeared the Special Branch were still operating under the Walker guidelines - which dictate that Special Branch must be notified of anyone coming into contact with the PSNI so they can be assessed for suitability as informers.

"This young man found himself on the wrong side of the traffic laws and ended up being asked to work as an informer," said O'Hagan, who added, "I believe this is a sinister incident, especially when set against the background of collusion as revealed by the Stevens report. Given what we know about collusion it is clear that Special Branch operated loyalist death squads and we would be very concerned about their interest in Raymond McCartney. Why are Special Branch focusing on one of our candidates? Are they setting him up for assasination?"

"The people of Derry do not need or want this type of 'community policing' and that is why Sinn Fein is fighting for a proper new beginning to policing. We need the complete disbandment of the Special Branch and those former Special Branch officers who transferred into the uniform branch have to be rooted out."

For further information contact :
Troops Out Movement
Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland
PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ Tel / Fax 0121 643 7542



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