An MI5 officer has stated publicly that the IRA “fought a just cause” and won a “successful campaign” during the 30-year conflict in the North.
The controversy centres on a briefing given by the MI5 officer, a former Royal Navy commander, at a maritime security conference on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.
According to the Sunday Herald, the MI5 officer said the IRA was “the biggest threat to British national security”. But the officer then said “in our opinion they [the IRA] have fought a just cause”.
“The conclusion of MI5, according to this officer,” said Hirst, “was based on the fact there had been legitimate grievances among, and discrimination against, the nationalist community and this had sustained the IRA through the length of the campaign.”
The MI5 officer then added: “Has it been a successful campaign? The answer is yes.”
According to the report, he referred to the fact Sinn Féin had two ministers in power. What better success can you wish for, he said, than to have your people in positions of power in government.
The comments were supported by an official MI5 PowerPoint presentation, complete with the official crest.
Hardline unionist MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, was outraged.
“It is still an offence to be a traitor and this man’s comments are treacherous. He is betraying Britain. He should be removed immediately.”