A DUP MP is planning to name a senior Sinn Féin figure in parliament who he alleges has secretly been working for the British Crown forces.
The claim, by MP David Simpson, has been dismissed as “baseless” by Sinn Féin and is being viewed with scepticism by republicans.
The politician in question is said by Mr Simpson to be well known and he also claimed that the senior Sinn Féin figure had been involved in the IRA before turning informer.
The DUP man added that his intervention would not come before the autumn, when the London parliament resumes. Under English law, parliamentary privilege allows MPs to make accusations in parliament without fear of legal repercussions.
Earlier this year, Simpson demanded that if the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team, which is investigating unresolved conflict-related cases, exposed a senior politician, “the law should be allowed to run its course”.
He claimed that a potential prosecution had not been pursued in order to protect British double-agent and senior Sinn Féin administrator Denis Donaldson, who was ultimately exposed in December 2005 and later killed by unknown assailants.
Speaking at a Sinn Féin rally in Belfast last weekend, Gerry Adams agreed that British agents who worked within Sinn Féin or the IRA should be investigated.
He said: “The British recruited, blackmailed, tricked, intimidated and bribed individual republicans into working for them and I think it would be only right to have this dimension of British strategy investigated also.”
Meanwhile, British efforts to reruit informers continues. A north Belfast priest has publicly criticised the PSNI police after they again tried to recruit an Ardoyne community worker to spy on his own community.
Holy Cross priest Fr Gary Donegan was speaking after Steven Harper said PSNI Special Branch attempted to recruit him as an informer as he prepared to board a flight to Turkey with his family earlier this month.
The father-of-two said that Crown forces first tried to recruit him earlier this year after he was stopped while driving through Ligoniel in north Belfast.
“Two PSNI officers in uniform stopped me and said they wanted me to work for them as an informer,” he said.
“I told them all I was interested in was community work and didn’t want anything to do with them.
“It frightened me at the time but I forgot about it as time passed.”
However, Mr Harper said he was shocked when he was taken into a room at Belfast Airport earlier this month to be confronted by the same two policemen.
“I nearly died when I was confronted by these two same men, who this time told me they were Special Branch and wanted me to work for them.
“When I told them again that I wanted nothing to do with them they offered to come out to Turkey and said they would buy me an apartment.
“They said that Special Branch had changed and they wanted me to spy on certain people in Ardoyne.
“When I told them I wanted nothing to do with them they started asking about my children and talking about work I had just done to my house.
“It felt very sinister and intimidating.”
Mr Harper said he had now instructed his lawyer to make an official complaint to the Police Ombudsman.
Fr Donegan said that he was concerned at the attempt to recruit the community worker as an informer.
“I know Steven as a family man and the community work he is involved in and I know that he is very upset about what has happened,” he said.
“In this new political dispensation it is alarming and worrying that Special Branch are still trying to recruit people as informers.”