Irish Republican News · January 9, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Pressure on PSNI over informer allegations

There have been calls on PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde to comment on the disappearance of Armagh man Gareth O'Connor after it was alleged that O'Connor was a police informer who had set up four other men for arrest.

O'Connor was implicated at Belfast Crown Court by a barrister representing one of four men arrested by PSNI police lying in wait in a field near a primed rocket launcher in May 2002.

The men were swiftly charged with possessing the rocket launcher and planning an attack on British forces. This week, they claimed in court that they had been lured to the field by O'Connor with the intention of carrying out a burglary.

Frank O'Donoghue QC, speaking for the four men, said they had been ``victims of some form of collusion between Mr O'Connor and the police''.

O'Connor was facing charges of membership of the breakaway `Real IRA'. He disappeared in May last year and despite searches on both sides of the border, no trace of O'Connor ever has been found.

Commenting on the allegations, Sinn Féin representative for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy said Orde had made a number of allegations claiming involvement by the mainstream IRA ``without providing any evidence''.

``Others have subsequently ran with this line despite a statement from the IRA categorically denying any involvement in the matter.

``In light of today's revelations Hugh Orde has a duty to lift the lid on this entire case. I am demanding that he disclose the full facts surrounding this case and does not hide behind a Public Interest Immunity Certificate.''

Last September, the IRA issued a statement denying it had killed Mr O'Connor.

But his family have expressed outrage at the new allegations, and continue to insist that O'Connor was killed by the IRA.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News