you for this opportunity to respond to a
Blanket article dated 30 May 2006. I
would like to make a number of points, which I believe
will clarify aspects of the case against Martin
McGuinness. The case does not rest upon the J118
document or indeed the sources who provided that
material. It rests in part on 35 years activity,
which no sensible person could argue with. The only
other senior person who fits a similar IRA career
profile is Freddy Scappaticci, who, like Martin
McGuinness, was never charged with any terrorist
related offences which led to a conviction in the
North of Ireland. This man was the executioner for
the IRA for a very, very long time and yet was allowed
to operate free from prosecution in exactly the
same way Martin has for over 30 years. Some have
said they had a mutual protection racket.
The case against Martin McGuinness is in many ways
similar to the case against the IRA internal security
unit, and in particular the case against Mr Freddie
Scappaticci. At the time of the exposure of Mr Scappaticci,
an organised and sustained defence was mounted by
all the leading lights within the Sinn Fein political
party. Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly, Martin McGuinness
were the principal defenders of Mr Scappaticci.
They held numerous press conferences where they
denounced those involved in the exposure of A
Reliable Republican Activist as securocrats
and agents of the state. The well known pocket journalists
wrote articles attacking both the notion that the
IRA was penetrated at a high level and that Republicans
would be silly and misguided to believe the word
of a self confessed intelligence operator.
'Martin Ingram' was the focal point for much of
that hatred and frustration, indeed contributors
to this paper made much the same points as did the
Sinn Fein leadership and accused me of lying, working
towards an agenda, etc. The sad and almost inevitable
conclusion that I personally drew from that experience
was that Republicans were unwilling or unable to
genuinely engage with an open mind to fully examine
the activities of those charged with running the
affairs of the Republican movement and the peace
That was to change some six months into the Scappaticci
affair when I received a communication from individuals
connected to the Republican movement, who through
an intermediary, explained that an on-going IRA
internal inquiry was being carried out and that
elements of the Old Guard were believed
to be already aware of Scappaticci`s role.
At the same time, Mr Scappaticci was taking legal
action against me. In that legal claim he maintained
that he was not the Agent Stake Knife, yet he further
argued that I owed a duty of confidentiality and
that I should be arrested for breaches of the British
Official Secrets Act (OSA). To summarise that argument,
Scappaticci was arguing that the British state should
go to the courts and seek an injunction in respect
to the book Stake Knife and that I be prosecuted
for breaches of the OSA. At the same time Sinn Fein,
principally Adams and McGuinness, were desperate
to keep the truth from the grass roots. The attitude
was, 'treat them like mushrooms. Keep them in the
dark and feed them on shit'.
I maintained my position and waited. The inevitable
pressure built upon both Freddie and the movement
and the rabbit broke cover and ran. Freddie had
in his very long career come into contact with many
Republicans through his role within the Security
Department. Some took his betrayal personally.
He had himself come under suspicion on a number
of occasions; on all occasions he was given a clean
bill of health and retained the confidence of his
employers within the senior IRA command. Those employers
were principally GHQ staff and Northern Command.
I do not need to identify to Republicans who essentially
was Mr Scappaticci's boss or indeed who left the
entire security department in place for over 20
years without rotating staff. Of course, there were
many within the IRA who identified the security
department as the No 1 key vulnerable area of their
organisation. They made the point that the British
Intelligence Service would make a sustained attempt
to infiltrate this vital area of their movement.
Those concerns were dismissed, once more, Republicans
know principally by whom.
At this point we should remember the case of Franko
Hegarty (3018). Hegarty was in my own words a nice
fella but not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Eamon McCann on American radio agreed with me that
Franko was a nice man but not very bright and that
he had shared a pint and the odd bit of gossip with
him over the years. Franko had confirmed to Eamon
his role within the IRA. Eamon made the point that
it was common knowledge in Derry that Franko had
been an ex-stickie and that he had previously been
caught by the Republican movement passing information
to the Army. Eamon clearly thought it was strange
that a known former British Agent would be allowed
to become involved in the IRA. Eamon made the point
that Franko was not a discreet man. I would agree
with that comment.
For my part I was part of a FRU team that was involved
in running Franko Hegarty as a Source of Intelligence.
He was at the time a low level eyes and ears source
within Derry city. He had little chance to progress
beyond that role, given his past admitted guilt
of passing information to the Army and the obvious
suspicion certain leading Republicans showed towards
him. A well known gambler and greyhound man, he
was generally liked for his affable charm; to view
this man as a dedicated IRA man was like saying
Graham Norton is a SAS trooper.
I remember clearly the day the boss called the team
into his office and out of the blue suggested to
the handlers that Franko should be encouraged to
get alongside Martin McGuinness. Well, if you could
have seen the lads faces! It was a mixture of bewilderment
and anger. The general consensus was the boss (John
Tobias, who has since died on the Chinook crash)
was either pissed or on drugs.
It was a great source of humour for weeks within
the small tight knitted FRU office. The humour was
briefly interrupted when Franko was asked to get
alongside Martin McGuinness as instructed by the
boss. Franko looked perplexed with this request
but in his own unique way he nodded in agreement
but not before he said something to the order of,
"Are you lot fecking mad, McGuinness will not
have anything to do with me, I know him of old but
we are not mates or anything like that, you know
The handlers just gave a nod and a wink. They were
just playing the game.
Franko did as instructed over the weeks and months
like he always did. He reported back to his handlers
that he had bumped into McGuinness in the local
streets as instructed and had struck up a conversation
about local issues. McGuinness appeared warm and
appreciated that Franko had taken the time to approach
him. Franko genuinely seemed pleased McGuinness
had shown an interest in him. This courtship lasted
a few months. The handlers were genuinely surprised
that McGuinness had shared any time with their agent,
let alone suggested times and places when the two
could meet further.
The handlers were pleased and prepared to pat the
boss on the back for an astute piece of man management;
he had the foresight to suggest a means of increasing
the agent's coverage which the handlers had not
seen. One to the Boss.
Over the coming months Franko was developed into
a major source of Intelligence within the IRA in
Derry City. He was given responsibility for hides
and the safe custody of IRA equipment. I do not
want to labour this point but let me just say our
man went from Agent Zero to Agent Hero within weeks
and months of coming into contact with McGuinness.
It is true to say that Martin McGuinness was challenged
by Republicans over the sudden promotion of Franko
to both a fully pledged Ra man and, incredibly,
with the custody of a large amount of arms and munitions.
The concern expressed, could be summarised: Why
are you employing a known British Agent of Stickie
origin that is, frankly, as thick as a plank?
McGuinness in his usual bullish ignorant manner
dismissed those who raised concerns and resisted
all attempts at reigning in Franko Hegarty's role
as an IRA Quarter Master. The development of the
case was to suddenly escalate to the point the handlers
thought they had won the pools. Franko explained
that Martin McGuinness had informed him that he
was to take custody of a large shipment of Libyan
arms. Hegarty was instructed to make preparations
for a number of short-term hides. Hegarty complied
with this request and of course the rest is history.
At the time the hides under direct control of Hegarty
were the largest ever find of arms on the Island
of Ireland. The finds made front-page news North
and South with pictures of the Gardai stood proudly
over the caches. Politicians on both sides suggested
the recent signing of the Anglo Irish agreement
showed that through co-operation terrorism could
The end result was the two Governments were happy,
the handlers and the FRU were ecstatic, and, generally
speaking, the mood in Republicanism was down-beat,
especially in Derry where the two super-grass cases
had devastated the IRA to a point that the rest
of the 31 counties would not work with them. Except,
of course, Martin McGuinness.
Martin McGuinness on this occasion did come under
pressure to account for his decisions and it would
be fair to say that questions were being asked within
the IRA. Martin for the very first time was coming
Franko Hegarty was safe in England under the control
of L branch of SIW. Franko was genuinely home sick
for both Derry and his family. I have no intention
to go into the sequence of events here because space
is limited and the story is well known. Suffice
to say that Martin McGuinness made contact with
Franko and reassured him and his family that if
he returned he would be safe. Those calls were taped.
The testimony of Rose Hegarty in this matter is
chilling. Eamon McCann confirmed to me on the radio
debate last weekend that he would prefer the testimony
of Rose Hegarty to Martin McGuinness. I have to
The FRU lost Frank in southern England and he avoided
all checks at the ports. The FRU surprisingly made
no attempt to block his escape or indeed visit him
in his hideout within his mothers home in
Derry, although they knew his exact location. The
FRU & Branch had been informed of the exact
IRA intentions in respect of Hegarty by a number
of agents but specifically in relation to Where,
When and How he was to be murdered by Scappaticci.
We all know what happened next and we all know who
profited from his death, certainly not the FRU and
most certainly not Franko or his family. Indeed
both Scappaticci and McGuinness benefited from the
execution of the FRU agent Frank Hegarty. Credibility
I have tried to be brief yet give an insight into
just one aspect of the McGuinness story. In conclusion,
shall we just quickly analyse his lucky charm IRA
charged with any terrorist related offence which
led to a prosecution in Northern Ireland in his
entire IRA career leading from the seventies to
the vast amount of time, as Eamon McCann said,
in the Bog Side of Derry within a two street radius.
Never had to move from one safe house to another
in the evening, unlike Mr Adams and other similar
leading Republicans. He remains at home in his
Derry City Northern Command Bunker free to run
the IRA war in the North of Ireland.
been attacked by Loyalists.
two super-grass trials when the majority (over
50) of Derry City PIRA are rounded up and taken
off the streets of Derry for involvement in terrorism.
The two super-grass witnesses are prepared to
give evidence against not only the fifty IRA men
but also Martin McGuinness but they are not allowed
Taurus. No prosecution in the public interest.
involved in the secret peace process, in a realisation
that hard line areas such as South Armagh and
Tyrone will need to be either reassured about
the politics of peace, or, in the alternative,
will have to be persuaded to comply with the Leadership's
Moloney makes an interesting point about this era,
both in relation to McGuinness but also the development
of IRA tactics and the impact upon both the secret
and open peace initiatives.
before the death of Seamus McElwaine, killed by
the SAS in county Fermanagh in April 1986, northern
command got permission to vet most IRA operations
in northern Ireland in a bid to forestall further
electoral damage, there had been some bad
operations, politically bad operations, and this
was done to correct that, recalled one activist.
McGuinness, the northern commander got authority
from the army council to vet operations. Before
that area commanders would run through their plans
in very general terms, for example, I have
a policeman or a British patrol, with the
chief of staff or director of operations. Now
people had to go into the detail of the operations.
(A Secret History of the IRA, page
period really was the defining period of this conflict.
Loughall and the killing fields of Tyrone would
significantly reduce the numbers of IRA volunteers
who genuinely wanted to throw Britain out of Ireland
is an extract from a
Republican writing for this publication back in
2004. He makes a number of very good points.
Loughall massacre certainly throws up a range
of challenges. But unionism is not alone in facing
them. One avenue that will never be fully explored,
no matter how many meetings take place between
Mairead Kelly and Hugh Orde, is the possibility
that IRA volunteers were deliberately targeted
at Loughall after the British Government was made
aware by a key element within the republican leadership
that it was willing to parley and settle for considerably
less than those who died that night were intent
on securing; something that they might have revolted
against had they not have been slain; something
which in order to succeed necessitated their removal.
Whether the British killed those volunteers to
facilitate what later became known as the peace
process may by the real story of the Loughall
remain confident in the case against Martin McGuinness,
as I did with Freddy Scappaticci. The Sinn Fein
leadership lied not only to the press pack over
Freddy Scappaticci but also to its own members about
the knowledge that it had about the infiltration
of the IRA and the broad Republican Movement since
this campaign began. Today is no different; they
continue to lie. The case against McGuinness does
not rest upon the J118 document, which to my mind
says more about the mind set of his handlers than
it does against Martin McGuinness. It rests, as
far as I am concerned, upon my experience, knowledge
and belief that senior IRA operators do not enjoy
30 years of constant luck. Life is not like that,
especially when you live in the big lion's den.
have deliberately avoided the issue of the Cook
report and the subsequent RUC investigation into
McGuinness because few doubt that the leaked secret
document specifically instructing the police that
they cannot charge Martin McGuinness with any offences
is authentic. In essence, the State argued any prosecution
would not be in the State's interest. There is no
doubt in that. There are some who would argue with
some merit that the decision to not allow the police
to move against Martin McGuinness at a crucial time
of the peace process was a move made of necessitation.
That can not be said of the super-grass periods
of 82/84 when the conflict was at its height. I
can see no explanation for not using the material
the security forces had to hand to remove a pivotal
figure in the IRA during this extremely active IRA
period, nor for facilitating the murder of Franko
Gail Walker of the Belfast Telegraph said
recently in her regular contribution to the paper
regarding the McGuinness exposure.
sheer volume of information coming out about McGuinness's
career as a Chief of Staff of the IRA - his flawed
management style, if you like, as he appointed
acknowledged touts to senior positions - can only
fuel the paranoia in the ranks of the IRA.
The organisation believed its own propaganda about
how noble it was. Yet republicans, it turns out,
were just as keen on the brown envelope stuffed
with fivers as their loyalist counterparts.
But it was republicans who harped on and on about
the collusion between elements of the security
forces and loyalist paramilitaries. They knew
very well that the British aim was to infiltrate
and eradicate those gangs
McCann on American radio made a very telling comment
when asked by me last weekend on American radio,
"Could you ever believe Martin McGuinness,
the man he had seen grow and develop within his
own neighbourhood into the so called IRA hard man
of the seventies, eighties and nineties would ever
accept or indeed negotiate a deal which included
partition and a role within a paid British Administration?"
The answer was one word, and it said everything.
The answer was, NO.