Fresh revelations from Shayler
MI5's Garda spies and bogus holiday firms
BY LAURA FRIEL & MARTIN SPAIN
Former MI5 operative David Shayler has claimed that at least one member of the Gardaí was on MI5's payroll and he has also confirmed a 1983 MI5 attempt to recruit Irish informers by means of a bogus holiday competition through a front travel firm.
In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Shayler, on the run in France after breaking the imposed silence of the British Official Secrets Act to make explosive revelations about his time as an agent, claimed there were three channels of communication between the Gardaí and MI5: An official channel through an MI5 officer whose specific role was to liaise with the Gardaí. A more casual channel, where meetings took place between a number of MI5 agents and gardaí, most often in pubs and hotels. A third channel through Gardaí recruited and paid by the British to pass on information about possible IRA suspects.
Shayler said he saw files on IRA suspects in MI5 headquarters with a recurring code number attached. He was told the information came from a Garda source. He points out that this might have referred to one Garda source or may have been coded as a reference to all Garda sources.
In the interview, Shayler also refers to an elaborate MI5 plot to recruit a man they suspected of being in the IRA. ``They set up this entire company to do a holiday competition which only one person was ever going to win, because he was the IRA man they wanted to get to Spain on a two-week holiday so they could pitch him,'' said Shayler.
The activities of MI5 travel agents Casuro were revealed in this newspaper in our issue of 13 October 1983. Following previous dramatic revelations by married couple Tony and Margaret Hayde of an attempt to bribe them with £10,000 to supply information about INLA/IRSP activities after they `won' a free holiday, another couple, also lured to Spain by British Intelligence, told their story to An Phoblacht.
Henry and Bridget Logue of Sillogue Road, Ballymun, Dublin, were unaware of the sinister nature of their `prize' until they read of the Hayde's Casuro trip in daily newspapers.
They were not approached directly on their complimentary two-week Casuro Costa del Sol holiday, but suspected that this was because the British had assumed that Henry would share the holiday not with his wife but with a republican who was at the time of the offer staying with the Logues.
The couple were photographed on the front of An Phoblacht holding two of the six bottles of sparkling wine which were part of their `prize', along with £150 spending money, compliments of one `Frank Moate' of Casuro in London.