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

[Irish Republican News]
RUC knew of UDA plot to kill Wilson
A prominent Belfast priest was targeted for assassination by the unionist paramilitary UDA with the full knowledge of the RUC police Special Branch, it has been revealed. ----- EXTENDED BODY:

An extract from UDA and British army double agent Brian Nelson's diaries reveal that Fr Des Wilson was to be the subject of a unionist murder bid in the late 1980s.

Despite the RUC's knowledge of the plan, Fr Wilson was not told.

Nelson was asked by a leading paramilitary from the upper Shankill in west Belfast to gather information on the priest.

Speaking yesterday, Fr Wilson said he had no idea loyalists were intent on killing him two decades ago.

He said Special Branch never warned him that his life was under threat and accused detectives of a dereliction of their duty.

Fr Wilson said: "This is news to me, but in truth I am not surprised.

"The police never warned me I was being singled out for murder, they derelicted their duty.

"If they had approached me I would have simply taken reasonable precautions, but it would not have prevented me from what I was doing.

"I knew what I was doing upset the people in power, including Special Branch."

Fr Wilson was involved in developing social and economic initiatives to combat deprivation in Belfast. His work often brought him into contact with members of the loyalist community.

"I could talk to them and while I knew some were enlightened and shared the same views on education and community development, at the same time I knew they could not prevent me or would not prevent me from being shot."

Nelson's diaries came to light in the early 1990s after his cover was blown. He was relocated to England by the British army and is reported to have died there in 2003.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News