British Government In The North Of Ireland “Riddled” With IRA Agents

The news that Drew Harris, the Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), has been selected as the new Commissioner of An Garda Síochána has generated considerable comment as well as some controversy. A peace-brokered replacement for the infamous Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), the United Kingdom’s former paramilitary force in the Six Counties, the PSNI continues to have a mixed record in the area of cross-community law enforcement, and is still disproportionately representative of the pro-union population in the disputed region. Though, admittedly, its composition and reputation is a vast improvement on that of its disbanded predecessor, with the RUC’s dual reputation of being “97% Protestant, 100% Unionist” or “policemen by day, gunmen by night”.

Several figures have leapt to Harris’ defence in the face of this criticism, notably Andrew McQuillan, the retired Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI, who made this claim to The Irish Times:

Reacting to concerns at evidence given at the Smithwick Tribunal by new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about alleged infiltration by the IRA in the Garda station in Dundalk, Mr McQuillan said he could understand the Garda’s hurt.

“The PSNI at one stage had found agents of the IRA in its staff, the government in Northern Ireland was riddled with them, he said.

“To say that the garda was immune from it is fundamentally wrong.”

McQuillan’s admission stands in stark contrast with statements made by the British authorities throughout the thirty year conflict or so-called Troubles in the UK legacy colony in the north-east of the island. During that era, and for some time thereafter, London insisted that the Irish Republican Army had failed to penetrate its regional administration in the contested territory (despite the guerrilla organisation busting open Britain’s intelligence operations in mainland Europe during the same period). However, we now have a senior ex-officer with both the PSNI and the RUC – and the notorious anti-insurgent Special Branch, no less – admitting that the British government machine was “riddled” with IRA agents.

Interesting to say the least.



  1. During the 80s the Irish and UK governments came to believe that one of the four ACCs were colluding with Loyalist paramilitaries. Which is why all of the CCs came from outside the RUC, the UK govt did not want to risk promoting the wrong one to the top job. Given how McQuillan behaved subsequently my money is on him as being the likely conspirator.

  2. Drew Harris signed off the arrest of former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in 2014.The detention was in connection with the abduction and murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in December 1972, when Mr Harris was head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Crime Operations. MI5 will be pleased with the appointment, interesting report for yesterdays Guardian about MI5/RUC collusion .

    1. I took it as a reference to the old RUC, which certainly had issues with civilian admin staff, as well as canteen workers and cleaners, supplying intelligence information the IRA. Or actually sworn into the IRA.

      There were also claims of RUC officers passing information, for money, guarantees of safety, for themselves and family members, for grudges, reasons of professional jealousy or ambition, and so on.

      However, I think the PSNI did experience some slighter issues in the early 2000s.

  3. Wonder if he will keep tradition alive with dark coats and khaki pants. Maybe FG just wants us to “ease” back into the empire. Nothing better than to start with “british” policing. Jesus, I thought we had enough of that in 800 years time or so.

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