Special Branch ‘dirty war’ continues
Special Branch ‘dirty war’ continues

Two Belfast men have come forward to reveal that they were approached by PSNI police officers and asked to work for them as informers.

One of the men, Paddy Larkin from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, said the police started to put pressure on him after he had been charged with possessing a weapon.

The weapon was found in his car while he was in Scotland.

“The PSNI brought me to the harbour in Belfast to bring me to Scotland and before the boat went we were in a restaurant,” he said.

“One of them said to me, ‘You help us and we will help you’, and showed me a wallet full of money.

“I said no, and then when we were in Scotland they tried it again, when I was about to go into the court”.

Police told him: “We can sort this out for you.”

He said that for some time afterwards he received phone calls from police officers asking him if he had changed his mind.

West Belfast man Gerry McCann said PSNI had put pressure on him to become an informant following his arrest last June for assault.

“They told me that my charges could ‘disappear’ if I kept eyes on known republicans in west Belfast,” he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member for west Belfast Michael Ferguson said the incidents showed that the PSNI were again putting pressure on Catholics and nationalists to act as informants against republicans.

He accused the PSNI Special Branch of ‘still conducting its dirty war against the nationalist community’ and said such incidents were taking place across the Six Counties.

“This sort of activity is bound to raise questions for those who have been so vocal in their support for the current policing arrangements.

“Arrangements which clearly have at their core the Special Branch still active, still running agents, still trying to recruit agents and still trying to spy on the broad nationalist community. This sort of activity is not compatible with a new beginning to policing.

“This is not he sort of activity that we will hear members of the Policing Board discuss. The reality is that they are powerless to do anything about it and they know that to be the case.

“I am calling on Hugh Orde to get his Special Branch off the backs of these two men who have come forward and off the backs of the nationalist and republican community as a whole. He should end his media charm offensive and face up to the fact that what currently passes for policing here is unacceptable and incompatible with the demands of both Patten and the Good Friday Agreement.”

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