Members of the PSNI Special Branch used a pair of shopping gift cards in an attempt to turn a Fermanagh activist into an informer, as spying activity appears to have increased ahead of next weekend’s republican commemorations.
Sharon Boyle said two detectives gave her gift cards for Next and Asda stores, valued at 150 pounds, each after she was approached at her home in Enniskillen last month.
The mother-of-four is an activist working with a small republican political organisation in the area. Ms Boyle, who is known as Bella and has been a frequent victim of PSNI harassment, had just returned from taking her children to school when she was met by two spooks outside her home.
She understood the PSNI men wanted to speak to her about a family member and let them in. After entering the family home, one of them said he could help put an end to the searches which she had been subjected to. They also questioned her about others in the group she was involved with, and to provide information about a Belfast-based republican.
“I said I don’t know what you are talking about and I would have no information to give you,” she said. Ms Boyle said she was surprised when one of the PSNI men then produced the gift cards.
“When they were leaving they gave me the vouchers,” she said. “He said that with me being a single mother I am bound to be struggling and it would not be easy.”
In a separate incident, a member of Republican Sinn Fein in Derry was approached in the Waterside area of the city by two women identifying themselves as PSNI members. He was asked for information on republicans in the Lurgan area.
Republican Sinn Fein said their member asked to be left alone, but the two continued by presenting money which he refused. They also attempted to give him a phone number which he also refused.
The two women then began to follow him, saying that ‘he was going to jail’ and that it would be ‘a shame for his family’. Their final words were, “we will give you a few weeks and then we will come back to you again”.
In a statement, RSF said: “This bullying and attempts at intimidation is nothing new for Republican activists. The British state continues to harass anyone who opposes them threatening them with jail if they do not become informers.
“Our advice to anyone who is approached by these people is to say no and walk away, and notify any member of our Cumann, or a solicitor, of the approach.”