From a report by the “Irish” Sunday People newspaper in July 2004:
“At least three Garda officers in the scandal-hit force in Donegal were secret agents for British military intelligence, The Irish People can reveal.
Garda Special Branch detectives have launched a secret probe into finding the to date un-named moles who supplied intelligence on IRA suspects directly to the shadowy British Army outfit, the Force Research Unit.
The officers were paid for their work for the British side – but always claimed they carried out the work to help defeat the Provos at a time when it was claimed that some Garda officers weren’t doing all they could to stop the IRA. We understand that a secret team of Branch detectives have now been tasked with finding those moles.
The probe comes after the Morris Tribunal slammed two senior Garda officers for faking arms finds in order to boost their careers in the 1990s. Detective Garda Noel McMahon is to be asked to resign by Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy. He and Superintendent Kevin Lennon had been suspended during the inquiry by Mr Justice Morris into allegations of corruption and now face being booted off the force.
It is understood the first objective will be to officially rule out any foreign dimension in the Lennon/McMahon affair. The bogus arms finds caused confusion in the ranks of the IRA at the time because quarter masters of local units knew the explosives didn’t belong to them.
The Provos conducted a number of inquiries and we understand they concluded the ‘finds’ were the work of an official Garda dirty tricks operation designed specifically to hit IRA morale.
The special Garda unit set up to probe British moles in the force has a number of suspects. They have been going through the personal finances of several officers with a fine tooth comb.
Justice Minister Michael McDowell has been kept informed of the moles probe.
It’s known that Garda officers working for the British security services would have received large cash rewards.
The Irish People understands that in the late 1980s and early 1990s the FRU rated Garda officers at the top end of the payments scale.
An officer providing regular information on republicans could expect at least £200 per week as a retainer. He would then get substantial cash bonuses of anything up to £5,000 for top grade information. On average, Garda officers working for the FRU could bring in an extra £25k to £40k on top of their salary.
Responsibility for hiding that cash so as not to arouse suspicions rested with the informers – but the FRU would often help set up foreign bank accounts that couldn’t be traced by the Irish authorities.
At least four senior Gardaí are expected to be dismissed or resign as a result of corruption.”
In light of the above allegations – and numerous others – you might well ask how many Gardaí have been charged with espionage offences over the last ten years? To which the answer is zero.
And just in case you think a press article from 2004 represents ancient history remember the 2012 allegations made by the Irish and British media’s favourite “super-spy” Ian Hurst (pseudonym Martin Ingrams). In sworn testimony to the Smithwick Tribunal the chameleon Hurst stated that members of An Garda Síochána, Óglaigh na hÉireann (Defence Forces Ireland), the Revenue Commissioners and several high profile politicians acted as spies for the British Intelligence services. In fact he claimed that one grouping in particular, the notorious Force Research Unit (associated with the 1989 assassination of the Irish human rights’ lawyer Pat Finucane), had established a network of agents and bases across our island nation during the 1980s and ’90s. Unsurprisingly when the news media were reporting on the minutiae of Ian Hurst’s testimony to Smithwick back in 2012 they largely omitted those particular claims. Along with some other, slightly more awkward facts.
However don’t worry. These are the folk now entrusted with rooting out the “sinister fringe” of the anti-austerity movement. What could possibly go wrong?