A prominent republican hardliners has accused the PSNI police of following him on holiday to Spain in an attempt to recruit him as an informer.
Brendan Shannon, who served 11 years in Long Kesh as an IRA prisoner, said two PSNI Special Branch officers, one of whom was wearing a straw hat, approached him last week at an apartment in the Spanish resort of Salou.
He said the same Special Branch officers had tried to recruit him several times in the North in the past two months. Shannon, from West Belfast, is an outspoken critic of the Sinn Féin leadership and the peace process.
Speaking from Salou, he said: “On Monday night, there was a knock on the door of my apartment. When I opened it, two PSNI men who have recently tried to recruit me as an agent were there. They were both wearing shorts and one had a straw hat.
“I knew immediately why they were there. I said ‘get to f**k’. They said, ‘Brendan, we only want a word’ and they pushed past me. There were a group of Irish lads I’d got friendly with drinking downstairs so I told the cops, ‘My mates are downstairs and if you don’t f**k off, we’ll kick the bollocks out of you.
“The cops said they’d the Spanish police to support them. I told them I didn’t care who they had, there’d be murder if they didn’t leave. I walked out of the apartment and they then left. They’d obviously been spying on me and my family.”
Shannon claimed he was first approached by the same two men about six weeks ago as he was travelling home from Dundalk. “They stopped me in the car on the motorway near Banbridge.
“One of them introduced himself as Geoff. They said they were Special Branch and they wanted to talk to me. I told them I’d nothing to say to them, that everyone who worked for them got killed. I reported their approach to my solicitor.
“Around a fortnight later, I got a phone call from ‘Geoff’ who said he wanted to talk to me. I told him I’d nothing to say. Shortly afterwards, I spotted them following my car. I went straight to my solicitor.”
Shannon said he was again stopped on the motorway by the same two men shortly before he went on holiday. He said it was “very sinister” that he’d been followed to Salou. He had travelled to Spain on an Irish passport and would be raising the issue of “harassment by the British intelligence services” with the Dublin government.