IRA counters PSNI claim of O'Connor threat

The mainstream IRA today denied threatening the father of an Armagh man who went missing last May.

Mr Mark O'Connor, who blames the IRA for the disappearance of his 24-year-old son Gareth, claimed he had been told by the PSNI police last night of the threat against him.

Mr O'Connor said he had been warned unspecified ``republican paramilitaries'' were planning to take ``some form of action'' against him over ``derogatory statements made by him about the Republican Movement in recent days and months''.

Gareth O'Connor was accused last week of being a police informer. Four men, arrested by PSNI police lying in wait in a field near a primed rocket launcher in May 2002, claimed in court that they had been lured to the field by O'Connor.

But his distressed father angrily rejected the claim, and continued to inssist the IRA had abducted his son.

``We are 100 per cent certain the Provos took Gareth. They threatened him a few days before he disappeared and they cannot answer why they did that,'' Mr O'Connor said.

In a statement, the IRA said it was neither responsible for his son's disappearance nor behind any threat against Mr O'Connor.

The IRA said: ``Claims by the PSNI that republicans are threatening action against Mark O'Connor of Armagh city are totally false.

``We repeat that we were not involved in the disappearance of Gareth O'Connor.

``Anyone with any information about this case should make it available to the O'Connor family.''

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© 2004 Irish Republican News