Irish Republican News · May 26, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
MI5 spy device auctioned off

A device used by British military intelligence to bug Sinn Féin headquarters in Belfast has been put on auction by the party.

The party is hoping to raise funds by auctioning off part of the alleged MI5 listening device discovered at Connolly House, Andersonstown, last year.

As well as being sent the device the auction winner will also received a handwritten letter of authentication by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

In the letter Mr Adams said the head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Butler, admitted responsibility for the bug and confirms the item on sale is part of the device he returned to British Prime Minister at a meeting in Downing Street.

Party General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin said the auction had not been set up purely for monetary gain.

“The decision to place this item on the internet for sale is a serious attempt to shine a light on the ongoing activities of British security agencies in Ireland,” he said before the item was removed.

“It’s a little bit of memorabilia of a conflict and a piece of history involving British intelligence in Ireland who will be consigned to history.”

The item had been put up for sale through an eBay online auction. However, the item was removed by eBay for reasons which a party spokesman said had not been communicated to them.

Mr McLaughlin blamed “a clumsy effort at censorship” for the move.

“Many people believe that the removal of the auction came about as a result of the efforts of the same shadowy individuals who were responsible for putting this bugging device in Sinn Féin’s offices in the first place.

The party said that offers for the device, which have now topped two thousand Euros, will continue to be taken by email.

* A surrender letter handwritten by Pádraig Pearse at the time of the 1916 Rising has sold for €700,000 at auction - 10 times its guide price.

The letter, dated April 30th, 1916, the day after the surrender, was bought by a telephone bidder from outside Ireland despite strong competition from the floor at James Adam’s auctioneers in Dublin last night.

A guide price of €50,000 to €80,000 had been set, however the letter exceeded this within the first minute of bidding.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News