Irish Republican News · September 14, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Second bug found by Sinn Féin

A sophisticated bugging device was discovered at Sinn Féin’s offices in west Belfast today.

The device will be “returned” to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday at crunch talks on the future of the Northern Ireland peace protest, according to party president Gerry Adams.

The listening equipment was found in Sinn Féin’s Connolly House offices in Andersonstown by workmen carrying out renovation work.

The discovery came a week after an earlier find at the home of a member of Mr Adams staff and after he ordered a security sweep of people’s homes and offices.

Mr Adams accused the government of a gross violation of his party’s rights.

As he prepared to leave for England for three days of crucial talks starting on Thursday with the other Northern Ireland parties, and chaired by Mr Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mr Adams said he was taking the bug with him.

“It is not just a matter of showing it to the Prime Minister, it is a matter of returning it to the Prime Minister. It is a matter for him to decide if this is the way to proceed - if he hasn’t authorised it, who has?” said Mr Adams.

The talks are the latest effort to find a way of ending the stalemate in the peace process. Mr Adams said of the bugging device “this is not the way to make peace. The British make it very, very hard to make peace when this goes on.”

The bug was hidden under the floor of a first floor office with microphones pointing into the office and down into a conference room below.

Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said it was a highly sophisticated device with a large battery pack and the party had no idea how long it had been in place.

The device, five foot three inches long, was disguised as a floor joist and discovered last night, he said.

Mr Adams said that the discovery of a listening device at Connolly House was further evidence of bad faith by the British government.

“Late last night, following several hours of intensive discussions with senior officials from the Irish and British governments, I received a phone call from a party colleague to go to Connolly House. A sophisticated listening device had been discovered.

“The device was constructed so that it could listen to conversations upstairs and in the conference room downstairs.

“While Republicans always work on the presumption that these devices exist, the use of this very sophisticated bug is a very serious act of bad faith by the British government.

“It highlights the continuing hypocrisy of a British system which uses its enormous resources to ‘spy’ on its political opponents.

“It is also evidence of the ‘war mentality’ among the securocrats who run the NIO and whose only engagement with the peace process is to subvert and undermine it.

“The question of course is who authorised this and how many more of these exist.

“Our delegation is bringing this device to Leeds Castle to Mr Blair and to seek an explanation from him.”

Mr Adams said he had spoken today to Downing Street and to officials at department of the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern. “I expect the Taoiseach to make strong representations to the British Prime minister,” he added.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News